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The MSM and Iraq

Tuesday, March 21, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Anderson Cooper runs a fair show, and even though I was booked against two MSMers from Baghdad, including Time’s Michael Ware, I didn’t hesitate to accept because Cooper recognizes panel imbalance and corrects it with time allocation. (Michael Yon points out that it was three Time Warner employees and me on the panel. True enough.)

My major point was that a large portion of the American public doesn’t trust MSM coverage of Iraq because MSM coverage of Iraq almost always punts on context.

I began the segment by reminding the audience of CNN’s Eason Jordan’s confession of CNN self-censorship on the awful brutality of Saddam’s regime –published in the New York Times in April of 2003– and of MSM predictions of quagmire that began with the dust storm that interrupted the march to Baghdad, and which discounted all three of the elections that led to the current government.

You can’t trust a MSM that has been wrong from the start.

I pointed out the many new media voices, like Michael Totten, Michael Yon, Laura Ingraham, Bill Roggio, Victor Davis Hanson and Robert Kaplan, have reported from Iraq and most have blasted MSM coverage as inadequate.

I concluded by asserting that some of the contempt for American media which is widely felt in the USA is rooted in the belief, widely shared, that MSM is invested in the failure of the Iraq invasion and in the idea that President Bush’s policy is a catastrophe.

MSM seems to be rooting for Iraq to turn out badly, and this does not sit well with the average American.

At one point, Time’s Ware got rather emotional and attempted to argue that Iraqis are worse off than they were four years ago, though he didn’t quite allow himself to say as much. I’ll play the audio on the program tomorrow.

Ware’s argument is the equivalent of arguing Poland was worse off in 1992 than in 1988 because the transition to real democracy was so difficult. Stalinist dictatorships are pretty awful things, and Iraq under Saddam was a Stalinist dictatorship. Ware doesn’t seem to get this crucial point, or to be concerned with the mass graves that keep turning up.

The vanity of western media is that if they didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. That Iraq under Saddam wasn’t so bad because MSM Baghdad bureaus didn’t exist, and those that did (CNN’s) censored the news.

The takeaway: MSM wants Bush to fail, and as a result MSM’s coverage of Iraq tilts to the IEDs and the terrorist successes and never, ever provides the context that the president did in the press conference today. The MSM thus allows itself to be used by the terrorists, and thus to hamper victory. MSM doesn’t believe in “victory,” in fact, or in Saddam’s unique evil. It believes, mostly, in the necessity of humbling Bush.

But a majority of America voted for Bush. Which is why the collapse of MSM is ongoing. The opinion polling has once again seduced the opinion elite into believing that it knows better than the voters what America thinks.

If the GOP has the courage to keep the focus on the war and the threat, it will again triumph in November, 2006. The MSM is powerless to stop the voters from registering their real opinion.

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