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Big News from Iraq Gets Not So Big Attention

One might think that an 80-95% decrease in war related deaths in Iraq would be a pretty darn big news. One thinking that would be wrong. Today's media evidently doesn't think it is a huge deal. At least it is being reported. It is just not being shouted with the fanfare reserved for increases in violence in Iraq. As George Will put it recently in a "must read" column:

Mainstream media types tend to think that, while rising casualties from Iraq are legitimate news, falling casualties are not. But even so the word got out: The surge strategy was producing results. Anbar province, given up for lost in 2006, turned peaceful and cooperative in 2007. U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties were down. Brookings scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, no fans of the administration's conduct of the war, announced on July 30 (in the pages of The New York Times, no less) that this was "a war we might just win."

Bob Owens pointed me to what Michael Yon has to say about it:

..No thinking person would look at last year's weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either "victim caught in the crossfire" or "referee between warring parties." Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public.

Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn--whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts...I came to Iraq in December 2004 specifically because friends in the military had been telling me about the disconnect between the situation on the ground and the media coverage about it. This is partly why I have remained focused enough on this problem to write about it dozens of times, beginning with an early dispatch about how many news reports "from" Iraq are generated . Later I described the expensive and exasperating embed process that makes long-term on-the-ground reporting next to impossible for most small or medium media outlets, and just plain impossible for most freelancers and independents...

Clearly, a majority of Americans believe the current set of outdated fallacies passed around mainstream media like watered down drinks at happy hour. Why wouldn't they? The cloned copy they get comes from the same sources that list the specials at the local grocery store, and the hours and locations of polling places for town elections. These same news sources print obituaries and birth announcements, give play-by-play for local high school sports, and chronicle all the painful details of the latest celebrity to fall from grace.

Yon is putting his money where his mouth is and is offering his dispatches free of charge. If you would like to see him continue to do the reporting he is doing from Iraq, please consider sending some money his way.

More from The Anchoress, Captain Ed, and Blackfive.


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Comments (19)

The fatwah against violence... (Below threshold)
kim:

The fatwah against violence near the end of August ended this war. Anglican Canon Andrew White orgainized all the leading spiritual leaders to issue this fatwah in unison. Rogue Sadr followers violated this fatwah in a fashion outrageous enough for him to join publicly and loudly. The surge and improving political co-operation haven't hurt, nor has the savagery of AQ and an overweening fear of too much Persian power.

Remember? I called it back then in August. That and the globe cooling, which is almost as sure as this mideast conflict cooling.

Actually, in May, to some precious birds in a gilded cage at Belgravia Dispatch.
============================================

I found this to be a very i... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

I found this to be a very interesting discussion. You have two lines of thoughts:
1) The decline in Iraqi casualties are not reported by MSM.
2) Pakistan is getting more dangerous.

On #1, according to Newsweek, it is not only the MSM that is not shouting the good news, but the administration has been quite on the subject. You would think they would by tell us the good news every chance they get, but they are not. Why? According to Newsweek the drop in attacks is correlated with the pull back of Iranian support of the insurgents.

You can't have that when you are pushing for a new war with Iran.

On #2, Iraq was never the problem as indicated in the story. We brought it there. The problem always has been in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is where the Democrats have argued we should have focused our efforts.

Actually for your point #1 ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Actually for your point #1 Barney, you're the reason. They don't want to temp fate with another "missioned accomplished". If casualities rose from 20% of previous levels to 25% then next month, you'd be first in line screaming about how the success was only temporary and violence has returned.

And the Whitehouse has always been a deaf mute when it comes to public relations and I suspect its gotten worse with Snow's departure.

I expect the media to spin ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I expect the media to spin negativity for about 14-15 more months.

Then, if a Democrat is elected President, *poof* Iraq will be a wonderland.

The MSM can no longer rely ... (Below threshold)
hermie:

The MSM can no longer rely on their Al Queda-affiliated stringers to bring them the 'bad news'. The Haditha story no longer has legs, so now the 'bad news' stories are regarding Blackwater and Halliburton. It's not like there have been questions raised, but because the MSM no longer has the daily body count to trumpet, they have to go back and find something they can bash Bush over the head with.

Lorie, The liberal ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lorie,
The liberal MSM, and Newsweek in particular, has become a joke as pointed out here as well. The Iraq news must be too good to ignore. So the MediaLiars left has to spin it. But it is so brazen, but these people on the left will keep doing it. Spinning/Lying has become second nature on the left now.


http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/009568.html

Barn,Newsweek?<... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Barn,

Newsweek?... Really?
Maybe you can site the New York Times, Al Jazeera, or one of Michael Moore's films as well...

Barney:On... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

Barney:

On #2, Iraq was never the problem as indicated in the story. We brought it there. The problem always has been in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is where the Democrats have argued we should have focused our efforts.

Sure Afghanistan and Pakistan are problems. Look at who made them that way. It is your heroes in the House and Senate. They were allegedly getting kickbacks from Saddam Hussein from the Oil for Food deal and they did not want to kill the golden goose. You can be sure if that was happening in the above mentioned countries, you and your nutroots butt buddies would be screaming bloody murder about an illegal war there too. As it was, the Taliban and Al Qeada would not give them the time of day, so they had to be brought into line. That has proven to be impossible, so now you are screaming about how we are not sending enough support to these countries.

Barney.The fact is t... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Barney.
The fact is that violence is going away in Iraq. It's true!!!

You can spin it any way you want yet the truth remains. The violence is dwindling in Iraq.

We are winning in Iraq despite your party's best efforts Barney.

Barney citing to Newsweek .... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Barney citing to Newsweek ... oh, wow, I'm laughing so hard I can't control myself.

"Newsweek?... Really?... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"Newsweek?... Really?
Maybe you can site the New York Times, Al Jazeera, or one of Michael Moore's films as well..."

"Barney citing to Newsweek ... oh, wow, I'm laughing so hard I can't control myself."

So is Lorie Byrd.

If doesn't have something t... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

If doesn't have something to do with Blackwater, Haditha, Abu Ghraib, high-body counts, former military generals speaking out and other assorted negative reports about Iraq, then the MSM doesn't report it. Sort of like Wizbang Bile, er, Blue.

The above post reminds me o... (Below threshold)
Cow repub:

The above post reminds me of what you wrote guys wrote 2 years ago.


Insurgent Attacks Less Effective
Posted by Rob Port
Published: Jan 23, 06 11:04 AM
Hmm...

USA Today - The number of attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces and civilians increased 29% last year, and insurgents are increasingly targeting Iraqis, the U.S. military says.

Insurgents launched 34,131 attacks last year, up from 26,496 the year before, according to U.S. military figures released Sunday.

HAHAHA Lorie is citiing new... (Below threshold)
Cow repub:

HAHAHA Lorie is citiing newweek. Why not link to Rush Limbaugh Bill O'Reilly Or Drudge, or any other far right sources.

Peter, Don't under... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Peter,
Don't underestimate the brazeness or lack of shame from the liberal media. Here is another headline from Instapundit
DEATHS FALL IN IRAQ, TAXI DRIVERS HARDEST HIT:
...
Glad to see the press isn't afraid to report the bad news from Iraq!

http://instapundit.com/archives2/010829.php

Cow is another perfect exam... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Cow is another perfect example of the liberal sew*ge.

Insurgents launched 34,1... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Insurgents launched 34,131 attacks last year, up from 26,496 the year before, according to U.S. military figures released Sunday.

More attacks, but inflicting far, far fewer casualties. Hmm, well, that's not so good if you're the bad guys. Even worse when you're getting cut to pieces. That would be known as a poor result.

More disturbing, though, is some nimrod stupid enough in try and cite that figure as some telltale evidence of the surge's failure. Flat dumb.

Amending #17:Oh, L... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Amending #17:

Oh, LAST year. And so f-ing what does that have to do with THIS year.

You should take a look at t... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

You should take a look at the Wounded Warriors Project. It raises awareness for severely wounded combat U.S. combat veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's a link:

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/aarwebshow

Jeff




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