Accuracy in Media

Columnist Thomas Sowell recently wrote that it was refreshing to see a New York Times front page not full of editorials disguised as “news” stories, undermining the war and the President.  But it wasn’t a front page full of Iraq war news.  It was a souvenir Page One, reprinted from the New York Times of June 6, 1944, reporting on the invasion of Normandy that day.

Sowell commented, “Things went wrong with that invasion, as things have gone wrong with wars as far back as there are any records of wars.  Yet no one called it a quagmire when American forces were pinned down by German fire on Omaha Beach and taking heavy casualties.  No one called the generals or the president incompetent or stupid.”

Sowell touched on a fact about the major media that many people see as well.  A  Fox News poll issued on May 21 found that most people find that the media are “more likely to focus on the negative things happening in Iraq and leave out the positive things…”  Seventy percent find the media focus on the negative, while only 11 percent say the media focus on the positive.  Complementing this finding, a CBS News poll released on May 24 found that 61 percent think the media have spent too much time on the stories of Iraqi prisoner abuse.

A Gallup poll found that, despite the media assault on the military, the percentage of Americans expressing strong confidence in the military is still higher than what was registered in the decade or so prior to September 11, 2001.  That means that the people have seen the negative news for what it is?a reflection of the media’s anti-Iraq war agenda.  On the other hand, television news and newspapers were rated near the bottom of lowest rated institutions, just above big business and HMOs.  Gallup reported, “Confidence in television news, at 30%, is down five points compared with last year, and is the lowest recorded in Gallup’s trends for this item dating back to 1993.”

Conducting his own research into this problem, Rod Dreher of The Dallas Morning News wrote a column revealing that, “We decided to search photo wire service archives for the past month, looking for images of U.S. soldiers engaged in helping Iraqis instead of shooting at them.”  They discovered only one.  It showed Marine Sgt. William Perry of Texarkana, Texas, passing out school supplies at an elementary school in Iraq.

A medic serving in Iraq recently sent an email to his family and friends, providing them a list of accomplishments in Iraq: school attendance is up 80% from levels before the war; over 1,500 schools have been renovated; over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq; 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war; elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place; over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets; over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country; over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers; an interim constitution has been signed; and textbooks that don’t mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.  This is just some of the good news you may have missed.

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