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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Epidemic of Negative Media Reports

The media is in full CYA mode after President Bush pointed out how the negative flood of reports from Iraq emboldens the terrorists. Cries of "we're not negative" fill the air in media-land. Oh yeah? Here's a little blast from the past - my own personal "bitch-slap" to the AP...

While Editors Ponder...
The New York Times ran an article on August 15, 2005 that was an eye opening discourse into the soul of the print media. The article, “Editors Ponder how to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq”, was spurred by an anonymous email that has been making the rounds since January 2005. The email was basically a list of many of the accomplishments that had taken place in post Saddam Iraq. A number of editors of major newspapers, all Associated Press members, had concerns that they where “not telling the whole story” about Iraq.

Mike Silverman, managing editor of the Associated Press, lamented the fact that “explosions and shootings and fatalities and injuries on some days seem to dominate the news.” Silverman cited the dangers in Iraq as one of the reasons reporters were not getting more of the good things. Kathleen Carroll, the AP’s Executive Editor, actually said that “it was much easier to add up the number of dead than to determine how many hospitals received power on a particular day or how many schools were built.” Silverman than threw out the typical media excuse – the positives listed in the email were actually in various AP stories but they were buried in the articles.

Well here’s a news flash for the editors cited in the article. The email that started the ball rolling was actually excerpts from an article published on the Internet on January 30, 2005. The article, “Accentuating the Negative”, was published on How did I get all of this information about the original article? Easy – I wrote it.

Yes, the major print media was thrown into fits of “healthy discussion” by a woman who lives in Guyton, GA. A southern belle, wife, mother and grandmother that works full time as a Registered Nurse. A writer that has no degree in journalism but writes op-ed pieces for free (but would not mind getting paid). A woman who loves to write and has book number 2 in production with a publisher. I am just someone that seeks out the facts and doesn’t rely on what someone tells me. Someone that can form an opinion all by their little self. I put my critical thinking skills developed through years of nursing to work.

Believe it or not, a dreaded “FReeper” and member of the Pajamahadeen knows more about the situation in Iraq than all of the high paid, high powered editors that rule what we read every day. I have no connections, no anonymous sources. Ramsey Clark did not have to set up interviews for me. I do not have an account at Kinko’s or access to forged memo templates. No one got “outed” in my attempt to uncover the truth. Lives were not placed in jeopardy. Not one single animal was harmed in my quest for information. No one was forced to wear panties on their head or participate in naked pyramids. Heck, I didn’t even have to give money to “the other side” in Fallujah to get the low-down.

In an ironic twist, a follow-up article, "Ignoring the Positive", was published on the very same day. I did not have to be stationed in Baghdad or embedded with troops in Fallujah to get my information. No one was firing RPG’s at me. The only injury I sustained was a paper cut while printing out my rough draft of the article. The information for both articles came the War on Terror section of the Department of Defense website - information that anyone with Internet access can get any time of the day. Guess that blows Mr. Silverman’s excuse out of the water.

Am I surprised that the print media executives were clueless about the reconstruction facts in Iraq? Not hardly. Was the information more difficult to obtain than tallying up the dead and injured in Iraq? Uh, no. Any one with any amount of common sense knows the truth. Things are not all peaches and cream in Iraq but they certainly are not all black as the media would have us believe. So the next time one of the media pundits laments the difficulty obtaining positive information from Iraq, consider the source. The only difficulty the media has is setting aside their hatred of President Bush long enough to do their job. And they wonder why the newspaper circulation numbers are down across the board? Guess it’s easier to tally up the numbers than find out the truth.

Here's more links to some of my articles about the epidemic of negative reporting from Iraq. As you can tell, this is a subject that I am very passionate about.

Accentuating the Negative - January 30, 2005 (the famous "Did you know..." article)
Ignoring the Positive - August 15, 2005 (Sean Hannity read this one on the radio show)
When the Media Chooses to Not Report the News -Sept. 14, 2005
Where's the Postive Reports? - Nov. 14, 2005
What Positive Reports? - Feb 27, 2006
Newsbusters - Robin Boyd's Blog

What can we do about it? First and foremost, keep exposing the media for the liars that they are. We all have a voice and with the wonderful world of blogging, we can spread the word. Write the media organizations and tell them what you think. Or hit them in the pocketbook - don't buy their product or subscribe to their services. For the first time the media is being held accountable for their bias - we must keep the heat on them!

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