Today I read an article in that dreadful rightwing magazine, Insight on the News, that made the case that the American news media seemed to be fixated on finding whatever they could to portray the Iraqi War as a quagmire and failure, while in fact it was one of the premier military feats of modern times.
Out of the ‘Quagmire’
The attitude of many reporting on the war in Iraq seemed to be, “Daddy, are we there yet?” Day after day the mood in the TV studios was one of impatience and incoherence about what U.S. military leaders now are calling one of the most awesome military campaigns in history. At the same time, in the three weeks it took U.S. forces to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime and seize Baghdad, Americans were treated to some of the most professional and thorough war reporting ever – contaminated from the editorial suites and studio directorate by a steady, noxious dripping of ill-informed speculation, whining and defeatism.
I was also directed by Neal Boortz to a column by Victor Davis Hanson,
Our Western Mob.
It occurs to me that much has changed since the days of WWII, I’m not talking about the cameras and communications or even the negativity of the coverage. (although a journalist that tried to report the American casualties at Tarawa or Normandy would probably have been jailed.)
I’m talking about the willingness, indeed the obsessive eagerness to report the other side without engaing in the questioning and skepticism that is characteristic of American news conferences.
In the 1930’s and 40’s the Axis Powers invested heavily in the control of the news media at home and wherever they had under their thumb. Goebbels and his counterparts tightly monitored who said what, and where it was shown. They also invested in foreign propaganda in so-called “neutral” countries and presented such memorable personalities as Tokyo Rose, Lord Ha-Ha and Axis Sally. They had huge agencies for this that had people in the news and movies studios and in the pressrooms of all the newspapers. This has now become entirely unnecessary.
Now we have large media companies not only willing, but anxious to report from the “other side”. They are willing to slant their coverage, censor stories and even pay bribes to despotic governments just so they can retain “access”.
This was admitted to by CNN’s Jordan Eason in the New York Times (no link, everyone has it.) and alluded to by several reporters from other agencies.
So you have to ask. Why maintain access if the only thing you are gong to be allowed to report is the propaganda of the local dictator? The only gain that is apparent is for the regime. They no longer have to maintain expensive talent to affect the foreign news. They can get CNN to report it and make them pay too. Looks like a win-win for tyrants and a black eye for the news media. Why would we ever trust their reporting again?