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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003


Not good news, nor bad news, just news
Orrin Judd links to an article that sums up my beef with the media coverage in Iraq:
It's a little-known footnote in postwar Iraq that an unassuming Army Civil Affairs captain named Kent Lindner has a bevy of blushing female fans.

Every time Lindner checks in on the group of young, deaf Iraqi seamstresses at their factory here, the women swarm him with admiration. "I love you!" one of them writes in the dust on Lindner's SUV.

Such small-time adoration is not the stuff of headlines against the backdrop of a country painfully and often violently evolving from war. So on this day, when Lindner and his fellow soldiers are cheered as they fire the deaf workers' boss, a woman who has been locking the seamstresses in closets, holding their pay and beating them, the lack of TV cameras on hand is no surprise.

But later that night, mortars hit nearby. Cameras are rolling, and 15 minutes later folks back home instead see another news clip of Baghdad's latest violence. It's a soda-straw view that frustrates soldiers, like those in Lindner's Civil Affairs unit, who are slowly trying to stitch together the peace while the final stages of the war play out on television.
A "soda-straw view" is exactly right. My frustration with the media is not that they are "only showing the bad news." My problem is that they are only showing part of the news. I wrote an editorial for my paper on this a few weeks back, and it, annoyingly, still holds true:
About six months ago, the United States military swept into Iraq, rumbled across the desert deposed the government of Saddam Hussein. Since then… well, all most of us know is that troops are still being killed occasionally, and there have been quite a few bombings. If we’ve been paying a bit closer attention to the nightly news, we may know that there’s a debate going on about how long U.S. troops should stay in Iraq. If, however, we have only been paying attention to the nightly news, there’s one thing that we probably aren’t terribly sure of. What, exactly, are our troops doing there, anyway?

I don’t mean this in some sort of broad, philosophical manner. I mean, what, physically, are they doing on a day-to-day basis? We hear very little about this. We hear about how we need more troops, or less troops, how they should or shouldn’t be there, but little on what it is the troops are doing at the moment. To listen, they’re just standing around waiting for the next sniper, ambush or suicide bomber to come by.
And that's why people like John Kerry can get away with calling Iraq a "shooting gallery," as if that was the defining characteristic of the nation. That is a boldfaced lie, and it undercuts the work the troops are doing. It is a lie begun by the media by their selective reporting (people getting shot at is exciting, rescuing deaf women from a sadistic boss is apparently not), and parroted by the Democratic candidates and their supporters. I don't know that any of the people involved in this lie recognize it as a lie, but that's exactly what it is, and that's what they are furthering every time they characterize Iraq as a failure.

Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!

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