September 18, 2003

Big Media Failing Big Time

Working on the issue, but I did see an interesting link I figured is worth passing on. Doesn't really matter where your stance on the war. The point that's emerging (and has been for some time now) is that the media are systematically...well...lying about the state of affairs in Iraq. Granted, I'm not there. But these are eyewitness accounts, and not by soldiers (although there are plenty of those that put the lie to the relentless "quagmire" reporting.")) Of course the media isn't doing anything in Iraq that it hasn't been doing for years...mis-representing, under reporting, being selective with the facts. The difference today is that investors can see for themselves what's going on...fraud, huge salaries, fines by the government while business as usual goes on. If you're an investor, at least you have the choice between believing the hype and losing your money...or taking a totally different path. In Iraq, though, the media's campaign to create an image that's at odds with reality WILL have consequences...and not good ones if you ask me. Fair enough to oppose the war and the strategy. Quite another thing to send reports back from Baghdad designed to influence public opinion at the expense of the truth. It's not really "quite another thing." It's what Al Franken would call a big fat lie. Take a look at this headline from today's International Herald Tribune.... ...And then compare it to these two excerpts, both via Instapundit. First, Eric Olsen at posts this note from a friend.... One of the State folks was telling me about that big story early in the war when the Iraqis claimed that the US had blown up a busload of Syrians trying to leave Iraq and get back into Syria. Turns out it was a busload of Syrian fighters trying to get INTO Iraq to fight. She said that she used to walk home at night at 10pm and see them all chanting away, lining up to get on the buses to go to Iraq (the Iraqi embassy is right next to the US one in Damascus). Assad was overjoyed to get rid of these fundamentalists, and Saddam was happy to get them, and throw them all on the front lines. Apparently they are the only ones who did any real fighting and they got totally wiped out. That explains why the Syrians never made much noise about a busload of their "civilians" being killed-- but all the Western media ran the story and never ran the retraction. Another thing that she said is that ALL the Iraqis are done with the idea of Arab Unity. They hate all the other states except for Syria. They believe Saddam gave so much money to these other states, and none of them offered any support. They are particularly hateful now to the Palestinians; ordinary Iraqis were sometimes moved out of their own homes to house them, and they got jobs and pensions-- and she said that the new Arabic graffiti on the walls of Baghdad University is "Palestinians go home. The free ride is over." In any case, this tour was a lovefest compared to the last one, so god only knows what the reporters are all going on about. Another thing I heard is that 90% of all the attacks have happened in the Sunni Triangle, which if you look on a map represents all of about 1/8 of Iraq maybe (Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad-- I don't have a good map to do the math with), so you have a country 7/8 calm. This guy's Iraqi mom (from Mosul) also said that the power is now on regularly in Baghdad but no one is reporting that. If CNN hasn't gotten it, it appears that Assad in Syria has. The cabinet change was a big thing even though many hoped/expected that Assad would choose a non-Baathist over Otri. Still, they think a few of the new guys will be non-Baathists which would have been unthinkable before. They sure need it-- the country is a beautiful basket case full of intelligent, kind people who could do something good if given a chance. On a more superficial, but probably important level as well, the kids military uniforms we saw last year are all gone, and a lot of the militarization you used to see in posters and monuments, etc. seems to have been toned down. The Lebanese paper, The Star, attributes this directly albeit grudgingly to the US being right next door. The music went over even better, and it now looks like we will be going back next month, and then on to Beirut. Obviously, we have to be careful. But we also have to be careful about what we are being told about this war and its aftermath. It's frightening to me how unrepresentative it is of public opinion in the most hardline of all Arab states! And then there's this from Judge Don Walters, also via Instapundit. You can find the whole thing here or by going to The Judge, by the way, did NOT support the war initially. He was asked by the Justice Department to travel to Iraq with a team of other jurists to evaluate the legal system and make recommendations. He's highly critical about the Coalition Provisional Authority and the communication between the civilian and military efforts of the U.S. operation. But he's even more critical of the media's coverage of the entire post-war situation. Here's an excerpt of a speech he recently gave on the subject. Please note these are his speaking notes and aren't a verbatim transcript from the speech itself WE ARE NOT GETTING THE WHOLE TRUTH FROM THE NEWS MEDIA. And not always the truth: tell about the riot, tiger stadium! THE NEWS YOU WATCH, LISTEN TO AND READ IS HIGHLY SELECTIVE. GOOD NEWS DOESN'T SELL, THIS IS THE KIND OF YOU DON'T HEAR ABOUT. 90% OF THE DAMAGE YOU SEE ON TV WAS CAUSED BY IRAQI'S, NOT BY US. ALL OF THE DAMAGE YOU SEE TO SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, POWER GENERATION FACILITIES, REFINERIES, PIPELINES, AND WATER SUPPLIES, AS WELL AS SHOPS, MUSEUMS, AND SEMI-PUBLIC BUILDINGS (LIKE HOTELS) WAS CAUSED EITHER BY THE IRAQI ARMY IN ITS DEATH THROES OR IRAQI CIVILIANS LOOTING AND RIOTING. THE DAY AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER, THERE WAS NEARLY 0 POWER BEING GENERATED IN IRAQ. 45 DAYS LATER, 1/3 OF THE TOTAL NATIONAL POTENTIAL OF 8000 MW IS UP AND RUNNING. DOWNED POWER LINES ARE BEING REPAIRED AND ARE ABOUT 70% COMPLETE. THERE IS WATER PURIFICATION WHERE LITTLE OR NONE EXISTED BEFORE. WATER IS BEING PURIFIED BY US, NOT ALWAYS SUCCESSFULLY, BUT AS BEST WE CAN, AND AT LEAST IT'S RUNNING AGAIN AND THIS TIME TO EVERYONE. OIL IS 95% OF THE IRAQI GNP. FOR IRAQ TO SURVIVE, IT MUST SELL OIL. THERE WAS DAMAGE TO THE OIL FIELDS, THE PIPELINES, THE REFINERIES. ALL DONE BY THE IRAQI ARMY OR LOOTERS. THE 14 STORY OFFICE BUILDING OF THE SOUTHERN IRAQ OIL COMPANY IN BASRA WAS TORCHED BY BATHIST, DESTROYING ALL OF THE BOOKS, RECORDS AND COMPUTERS OF THE COMPANY. TODAY, THE REFINERY AT BAYJI IS AT 75% OF CAPACITY PRODUCING GASOLINE. THE CRUDE PIPELINE BETWEEN KIRKUK AND BAYJI HAS BEEN REPAIRED, THOUGH THE BATHIST KEEP TRYING TO DISRUPT IT. LIQUID PETROLEUM GAS, WHICH ALL IRAQIS USE TO COOK AND HEAT, IS AT 103% OF NORMAL PRODUCTION. UNTIL EXPORTS START, EVERY DROP OF GASOLINE PRODUCED GOES TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE, CRUDE OIL IS BEING STORED, WHEN IT CANNOT BE REFINED, IN PREPARATION FOR EXPORT. IF WE ARE DOING ALL THIS FOR THE PEOPLE, WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING US? THE GENERAL POPULATION ISN'T. BELIEVE ME, BY MY SAMPLE, 90% ARE GLAD WE CAME AND THE MAJORITY DON'T WANT US TO LEAVE FOR SOME TIME TO COME, BUT, THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF BAD GUYS, THE BATHISTS WHO LIVED WELL UNDER SADDAM. THE THUGS OF THE OLD REGIME STILL HOPE TO RETURN TO POWER, AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF THEM, MOSTLY LOCATED IN SUNI AREAS. THEN TOO, SADDAM, IN THE RAMADAN AMNESTY, LET EVERY MURDERER, BUTCHER, RAPIST AND VIOLENT CRIMINAL LOOSE ON HIS OWN PEOPLE. THERE ARE INTERESTS, INCLUDING ORGANIZED CRIME, WITH A DESIRE FOR ANARCHY AND PROFIT. WE MUST RESTORE ORDER, AND WE WILL. MEANWHILE, OUR TROOPS AND IRAQI CIVILIANS WORKING FOR THE COALITION WILL BE ATTACKED EVERYDAY BY SMALL ARMS. SO FAR THE THUGS HAVE KILLED MORE IRAQIS THAN AMERICANS BUT WE ARE LOSING OUR SOLDIERS AT A RATE ALMOST EQUAL TO THE MORTALITY OF THE WAR. I BELIEVE THAT THE FIGURE TODAY IS ON THE ORDER OF 33. AND THIS IS TRAGIC, FOR US, FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE DEAD AND WOUNDED, AND FOR THE IRAQI PEOPLE. THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS, IF THE THUGS WOULD JUST LET US ALONE WE COULD HAVE THAT COUNTRY UP AND RUNNING IN 6 MONTHS. BUT IT TAKES SECONDS TO BLOW UP A PIPE OR POWER LINE AND DAYS TO REPAIR.


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