Read this column by Ralph Peters on the situation in Iraq and about how asshole Big Media reporters are misrepresenting what's going on there.
But the foreign media have become a destructive factor, extrapolating daily crises from minor incidents. Part of this is ignorance. Some of it is willful. None of it is helpful.I think it's brave of any American to go to Iraq these days, be he soldier or journalist. But what's unacceptable is distorting the picture there and foisting it on the American People. Just as with the Tet Offensive in January 1968 ---which was, in reality, a military disaster for the North Vietnamese--- it is possible that this generation of would-be Uncle Walters and David Brinkleys can negatively impact how the American People see our progress in Iraq.
The dangerous nature of journalism in Iraq has created a new phenomenon, the all-powerful local stringer. Unwilling to stray too far from secure facilities and their bodyguards, reporters rely heavily on Iraqi assistance in gathering news. And Iraqi stringers, some of whom have their own political agendas, long ago figured out that Americans prefer bad news to good news. The Iraqi leg-men earn blood money for unbalanced, often-hysterical claims, while the Journalism 101 rule of seeking confirmation from a second source has been discarded in the pathetic race for headlines.
To enhance their own indispensability, Iraqi stringers exaggerate the danger to Western journalists (which is real enough, but need not paralyze a determined reporter). Dependence on the unverified reports of local hires has become the dirty secret of semi-celebrity journalism in Iraq as Western journalists succumb to a version of Stockholm Syndrome in which they convince themselves that their Iraqi sources and stringers are exceptions to every failing and foible in the Middle East. The mindset resembles the old colonialist conviction that, while other "boys" might lie and steal, our house-boy's a faithful servant.
Indeed, with our own troop losses steadily declining over the past several months, who else would be responsible for our inaccurate view of what's happening there?
"If it bleeds, it leads," certainly. But, now, it's more like, "If it bleeds, let's see how we can make it Chimperor McHitlerburton's fault."