Tuesday, June 20

Two Missing Soldiers

A senior Iraqi official has announced that the bodies of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., have been found in the Sunni Arab region known as the "Triangle of Death." They had been missing since Friday, following an insurgent ambush. This past Sunday, upon being grilled by Chris Wallace of FOX News, Tony Snow said this of the missing soldiers:

The thing is the way the war is being covered — and we've seen it right now. We have two U.S. servicemen — and God bless them. We hope they're okay. We're focusing on them and we forget that since Zarqawi was killed, hundreds of bad guys have been rounded up. There's been a lot of intelligence. The Iraqis have gone ahead and mobilized 50,000 of their own to go into five Baghdad neighborhoods. There's a lot going on there. Now, the problem is that from a video standpoint, somebody can blow up a car in a marketplace in Baghdad and get headlines the world over. WALLACE: Or a hostage tape of two American soldiers. SNOW: Exactly right. And that suddenly becomes the perception of everything that's going on in the country. It's a little more difficult sometimes to show incremental progress.

It's better to inundate the public with story after story of missing white women, as opposed to sullying their beautiful minds with news of missing/dead soldiers.
Here are YESTERDAY'S instances of incremental progress courtesy of Reuters' Alert Net: *BAGHDAD - A car bomb targeting a police checkpoint in southern Baghdad killed three people and wounded three. *RAMADI - Helicopters flew over the Iraqi town of Ramadi and warplanes could be heard overhead as U.S. troops hunted down insurgents in the rebel stronghold, a Reuters witness said. NAJAF - One person was killed and five wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near the Shi'ite city of Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed four civilians and wounded 10 when he detonated his vehicle near an Iraqi army checkpoint in central Baghdad, police said. KERBALA - Gunmen killed a senior police officer and wounded two of his bodyguards in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Baghdad. More of that incremental progress later...


Shaine Mata said...

Intellectually, do you really believe that nothing good ever happens in Iraq?

I think that you are making his point. There is so much focus on the bad that the progress that occurs is drowned out.

While you are looking for more headlines about the bad stuff, find me one good headline to see how tough it is to get that kind of story. It doesn't have to be good for the US, which you probably won't find. Just a good human interest story.

Good news is bad news for the news business.

denise said...

The good news is bad news for the news business myth is getting old old old. One can’t fall into the trap of confusing bias with bad news. Reporting bad news is not bias. Are critics a complaining about bad press or bad news? Contrary to popular belief, the “bad news” isn’t political at all…it’s reality.

I attended the National Conference on Media Reform last summer, and the issue of media bias in war reporting came up in more than one panel. One point that was made over and over was how the media completely failed in scrutinizing the rationale(s) for going to war in Iraq AND made no attempts to find out if there was any semblance of a post-war plan. In a sense, they are responsible for the lack of accountability that led us into war with a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9-11.

I don’t doubt that there is good news, but the us vs. them mentality in the media makes reporters out to be Bush-apologists when they report the good, and Bush-haters when they report on daily atrocities.

So what do you do? Do you report on dolls and basketballs being handed out to Iraqi children one sunny afternoon, or do you report on the car bomb that killed a couple of coaltion soldiers and a handful of Iraqi civilians just a few hundred yars away?

I'll leave you with this, from Matthew Yglesias back in 2004:

No matter how far south things go in Iraq, the blame will be laid not at the feet of the president who initiated and conducted the war, but rather on those who had the temerity to note that it wasn't working. Rather than the critics having been proven right, or so the story goes, the critics are to blame for the failure of the very policy they were criticizing. It's an ugly tactic, and as you go down the journalistic food chain, it grows uglier still.

...and a little wisdom from the President, on one of those days when he was a little too honest:

“See in my line of work,” he told students in Rochester New York on May 24, 2005,“you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

Shaine Mata said...

So no good news found?

You can report the car bomb AND the dolls being handed out. There is no logical reason why both can't be reported.

I didn't mention media bias. Simply, the news has to sell stories. Bad news sells better than good news.

All I'm suggesting is that we use some critical thinking and acknowledge that the media has little use for good news of any sort anywhere.

Watch the news tonight. You'll hear about accidents, people being caught stealing, somebody got attacked, somebody was busted with drugs, somebody was caught molesting a minor, etc... When it comes to Iraq, you'll only hear the bad stuff. It's the same thing. It's the nature of the beast. The fact that nothing but bad news comes out of Iraq is to be expected. The volume of bad news does not imply that it's going to crap over there.

It's like the argument that all people who developed cancer have also breathed air. Therefore, we should ban air.

Bad news from Iraq doesn't mean that Iraq is falling apart. It only means that among many things, bad stuff is happening there. Bad stuff happens here and everywhere.

Why isn't the president allowed to propagandize?

Why are his critics allowed to propagandize? That's all the anti-war movement is, propaganda. There is no public outrage by the majority of Americans. The most that can be mustered is a "disapproval". The only outraged people are those who oppose anything el presidente would do. When you see republicans going out in droves, without the assistance of dems, protesting the war, then we've gone too far. Otherwise, it's leftist propaganda. It works both ways.

denise said...

Ah shit…I totally forgot about the whole “good news” thing while I was typing out my response. If there’s so much good going on there, why don’t YOU point ME in the right direction. I’ll admit to you that it’s pretty hard to find, but I welcome and embrace any and all newsbits you send my way. Hell, I'll even post the ones that aren't from Newsmax, FOX, or any organization affiliated with Bobby Eberle.

I tried looking for some last night, but as my at-home browser is my Treo 650, I didn’t have the opportunity to get all crazy with my searches. A lot of the Good-News-From-The-Homefront type pages were abandoned in 2005.

The volume of bad news does not imply that it's going to crap over there. It's like the argument that all people who developed cancer have also breathed air.
Therefore, we should ban air.

No offense, but that logic has major flaws.

You are mistaken in saying that the only people that are outraged are those that oppose anything the current POTUS does. The erosion of support from moderate/liberal Republicans (they exist!) has dropped over 20 points in the last 2 years. You mentioned that disapproval ratings like these were all we could muster, but 20+ points!? 2008 is going to great for political trainspotters like myself. I predict there wont be too many GOP candidates trying to run on the successes of the current administration.

I mean how long can they keep riding the We-Just-Killed-The-Number-Two-Guy-In-Al-Queda pony? Someone's bound to get saddle-rash, no?

PS – The fact that 7 veterans are running for Congress as Democrats in our state alone is encouraging in my book.