One interesting debate in the weblog world is the effect that negative media coverage has on the ongoing efforts to rebuild Iraq. It’s hard to say where it all started (people unhappy with press coverage of Iraq have been blaming it for hindering our efforts for awhile now), but it came to a head this week when Josh Marshall called out Georgia Congressman Jim Marshall for an op-ed he wrote on the issue. The Instapundit responded with “the truth hurts“. Scott Rosenberg has also weighed in.
I have a few comments of my own. I can’t really tell how negative the overall tenor of the coverage is, because I’m not a serious consumer of media. I read some articles from the major papers, but I never watch the TV news at all. What I will say though is that I think that Glenn Reynolds’ characterization of how the media is covering ongoing events in Iraq is completely wrong. They’re not focusing on the negative, per se, what they’re focusing on is what they think will most interest their audience. I’ve read a number of interesting stories about our successes in Iraq, but what gets the most coverage is Americans getting killed? Why should that surprise anyone? When Americans die, they take precedence over anything else involved in any news story. When a plane crashes with two Americans and 150 non-Americans on board, it’s the two Americans that are mentioned first.
For all the talk we’re seeing about how the media isn’t talking enough about the good stuff that’s happening in Iraq, they ignore a lot of the bad stuff as well. We barely hear at all about the numbers of Americans who are injured in attacks, and hardly a peep is heard about the incredible amounts of Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence that’s taking place over there. I honestly don’t have a clue how things are going in Iraq, in a big picture sense anyway. I know that there seem to be plenty of Iraqis who are eager to get rid of the occupiers, and I know that a poll said that most Iraqis are happy that America deposed Saddam. What I also know is that if Americans are souring on Iraq, it’s because Americans who are trying to keep the peace there are dying on a daily basis, and regardless of the good that may ultimately come out of it, that’s a hard thing to take, especially when we our leaders told us we wouldn’t have such problems in the first place.