The Mark of the MSM
It's been 952 days since March 19, 2003 when we invaded Iraq. Possibly 2000 American service people have died there, not counting the odd contractor burned alive or beheaded. That's about 2 dead per day.
The number of days from the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to the 1975 evacuation of Saigon was 3919. Those dates do not encompass exact start and end dates of the Vietnam War - difficult to do anyway since war was never declared - but I think most of us can agree that the vast majority of casualties occurred during those years. Total Vietnam war deaths were 58,158 but to be conservative let's say 56,000 died within that time range. That's about 14 dead per day.
Every death is a tragedy. But the media's insistence on focusing daily on each death, and the tremendous focus on 2,000 is ridiculous. As U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan said, "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
The media would prefer to cover anything but the fact that the Iraqis just sucessfully held an election and adopted a constitution. This 2,000 mark is the mark of the media's desperation to relive their glory days when they helped cause a military to surrender after winnng every single engagement in the war. Unfortunately for them, the main thing that Iraq has in common with Vietnam is the media's resolute insistence that we lose.
Posted by Laura Curtis at October 25, 2005 02:49 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1145
|# October 25th, 2005 3:43 PM Laura|
|Over the top, but couldn't resist.
The Mark of the MSM:
But I'm not sure who this makes the Anti-Christ. Soros, maybe? ;-)
|# October 27th, 2005 6:14 AM ThatAlsoWouldBeMe|
|Wow... you guys really have swallowed all the Kool-Aid, haven't you? Do you also think that disagreeing with the President is treason?
What is a "milestone"? It is, or used to be, a rock on the side of the road marked with how far you've come. Doesn't mean you've gotten anywhere, doesn't change your course, doesn't have any effect at all; just measures how far you've come. 2000 happens to be a nice round number because of the evolutionary accident that we have ten fingers (c.f. Tom Lehrer!) Tell me -- did you celebrate the Millenium? Have a party that was called something other than a "New Year's Eve Party"? Or did you deride such things as meaningless? That, too, was a milestone, after all.
It is the media's job to point out where we are. And if people see similarities between the mismanagement of this war and the mismanagement of Vietnam, may I respectfully point out that the media is not the Commander-in-Chief.
|# October 27th, 2005 8:44 AM BrianH|
|Are you always such a git or do you reserve that for your postings here?
Here's an antiwar guy that actually understands what Laura was talking about:
"I didn't go to the vigil over the death of soldier No. 2,000 because there was no nationwide vigil for No. 1,999. And there will be none for No. 2,001."
|# October 27th, 2005 8:47 AM BrianH|
|Or perhaps he doesn't understand, but at least he's not falling into the 2000 dead soldiers drumbeat. EVERY story I've heard regarding Iraq now includes the line:
"x days after the 2,000th US soldier died in Iraq...."
|# October 27th, 2005 10:25 AM Laura|
|It is not the media's job to disagree with the President. Their job is to deliver facts. They can disagree with the President on their own time. And no, it's not treason, I did not use that word, you did in an effort to discredit my entire point that the MSM has an obvious goal for us to fail in Iraq.
The media is failing miserably at pointing out where we actually are in Iraq because they spend the vast majority of their time focusing on anything that makes it look like we're failing. You find nuggets of good news on page A-20 in the 9th graf after overwhelmingly negative headlines. This saps the will of the people to continue the job until we win, which I believe is the MSM's goal and the evidence supports that. I don't expect pro-war propaganda. I'd just like to see an absence of anti-war propaganda bootlegged in as news, and some balanced reporting. The troops on the ground overwhelmingly support the mission and expect to win, if they are just left alone to do it, how about some reporting on that?
Milestones are great. When we also see milestones like the 200th school re-opening, or the 10,000th Iraqi army or police force applicant, or the 8,000th body taken from a mass grave was identified via DNA so the family could properly bury and mourn their dead, or the 300th weapons cache was discovered, or hear things like "After yet another sucessful election, democracy is taking root in Iraq," then I might start to believe that the media is not purposely and actively working against the war and President Bush.
|# October 27th, 2005 3:30 PM Barovan|
|# October 27th, 2005 5:00 PM Laura|
|Okay, Barovan, I humbly admit, I'm perplexed. Is it some kind of leet speak, a zip code in New York, a Windows vulnerability advisory, or a reference to Executive Order 13328 of February 6, 2004 - Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction?
|# October 27th, 2005 6:34 PM ThatAlsoWouldBeMe|
I usually don't need to be a "git", because most places I go aren't quite as wilfully blind on the subject. So you're right, it's only here. (Better? :) )
As for your more substantive comment, I actually thought I was going to agree with you until you retracted your statement. The article you cite reads,
the vigils scheduled in cities all over America say less about how much we hate to see young people die in war than how much we appreciate nice round numbers.
... which is exactly what I was trying to say. Two thousand is a convenient number. People can get a handle on it. This is not some mass conspiracy, it's simply human nature.
It is not the media's job to disagree with the President. Their job is to deliver facts.
Agreed, with the exception of the editorial pages (which are not the subject here, I agree.) But there are lots of rebuttals to your argument.
1) What if the majority of the facts are bad? Are they supposed to go hunt up or invent stories so they can create an artificial balance?
2) The old newspaper adage, "If it bleeds, it leads." The adage being older than Bush himself, Occam's Razor would suggest that there need be no conspiracy. Sure there are some good things going on -- almost certainly more than I've heard of, and maybe even more than I would believe -- but even in the US is somebody going to report that "Today nothing happened" or "Today 600 women went to market without getting shot"? Newspapers don't get sold that way.
3) Are you aware that much of the *bad* news isn't being reported either? Such as how many innocent Iraqis are still dying? How many Iraqi "police" are actually able to do their jobs, considering lack of training or equipment? How many of *them* have died??? How are vigilantes being permitted to take over outside of the cities? How many ballot boxes were returned with more votes than people in their districts?
Since most reporting is being done by people huddled in the Green Zone, you're not going to be able to get a complete picture of the place. If you want facts, there's one.
4) Your "media is against Bush" argument makes the assumption that they're all working together. Are you really as paranoid as that? I can tell you with some certainty that despite Faux News and Air America both having "agendas", I doubt they're working together. I don't hear Fox reporting on the number of schools opening, either... actually I think this is an argument for the "if it bleeds" section above, but heck, I'll leave it here.
|# October 27th, 2005 8:06 PM Laura|
|1. What if the majority of facts are *not* bad?
2. Please read this and give me your thoughts on it. This also goes back to #1.
3. Please advise what bad news is not being reported on, and how you became aware of it yourself. I have read numerous reports on the Iraqi police, generally portrayed by our media as helpless or incompetent, but described quite differently by our soldiers. Police deaths have been trending down steadily since July - see the graphic on the left. As for vigilantes being able to take over cities, this has certainly happened. Can you name an instance where they have been permitted to *keep* said city? See the link in #2 re: Fallujah for one example. How many times did cities change hands in WWII, and yet, we still won. Go figure. As for trouble in the ballot box, when America is free from that (FL, WA, IL, OH) I will feel more free to criticize these newbies. Until then, I say they're doing a decent job. At least as good as King County, WA. In fact, better. That ink idea isn't bad.
If reporters choose not to be embedded, then they can either stay in the green zone or venture out own their own and risk being subject to the tender mercies of Michael Moore's freedom fighters. Whatever... Michael Yon does a good job of getting the news out. 100 more like him and people might catch on to the fact that we're not losing.
I'm not terribly happy with Fox's coverage myself - just like CNN and the rest, they spend entirely too much airtime on missing white women, freeway chases and other stories that are emphatically NOT national or international news. It's infuriating.
4. The media IS against Bush, and according to Pew, only 7% identify themselves as conservative. I don't assume "they" are all working together, and no I'm not paranoid. (sigh - why is that kind of thing always the left's fall back position instead of asking for clarification in a less offensive way? I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and conclude you did not *intend* to be insulting.) But I think a "conspiracy of shared values" of the sort that led to Rathergate and a lack of examination of Joe Wilson's lies is obvious.
|# October 28th, 2005 8:15 AM BrianH|
|If you really care to get some straight facts....
Read everything. He's an independent reporter who is on the ground in Iraq. He imbeds with US troops and occasionally goes around on his own. He tells the good, the bad and the ugly. On both sides. Then tell me the MSM is reporting accurately and COMPLETELY.
P.S. Laura, I think he does intend to be insulting. Most libs can't argue on their own merits, only on insults.
|# October 28th, 2005 9:07 AM Laura|
|I would also add that according to Zarqawi, "we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma."
I think the media ought to take him at his word. Forget about American patriotism or jingoism, forget about bowing to the multi-cultis, forget about saying that Islam is the religion of peace. THIS PARTICULAR group who practices THIS PARTICULAR brand of Islam - and for all I know has as much in common with the rest of Islam as I do with Fred Phelps, which is to say, not a damn thing - has categorically, publicly stated that:
1. They are at war and we are their enemy because of who we are, not because of what we do.
2. They do not intend to stop until we are all subject to a worldwide caliphate.
Why should we not take them at their word and behave accordingly?
The fact is that Zarqawi is correct, this is largely a PR war. (Did you know that the government of North Vietnam has publically acknowledged that they were losing, and the only reason they won is because public support led by the media caused the American withdrawal?) And it's equally true that the behavior of the media brings support to the terrorists; it makes Americans more willing to pull out without a clear victory, and the constant drumbeat of "we're losing, and we're wrong" serves as a jihadist recruiting service. They believe they are joining a just war that they have a reasonable expectation of winning. Just because it's an unintended consequence doesn't make it less true.