Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Fair And Balanced - They Still Don't Get It!

I've been catching up on my reading today, and came across an interesting article in the NY Times written by Katharine Seeyle.

Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

"Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?" the anonymous polemic asks, in part. "Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?"

"Of course we didn't know!" the message concludes. "Our media doesn't tell us!

Since Ms Goudreau's paper, like MOST papers, receives its news from the AP, she decided to contact Mike Silverman, the AP's Managing Editor, prompting a discussion at a meeting in NY by the editors whose papers are AP members.

The editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

"The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we're making progress in Iraq," Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question.

"It was uncomfortable questioning The A.P., knowing that Iraq is such a dangerous place," she said. "But there's a perception that we're not telling the whole story."

Mr. Silverman agreed that this was the general perception. "Other editors said they get calls from readers who are hearing stories from returning troops of the good things they have accomplished while there, and readers find that at odds with the generally gloomy portrayal in the papers of what's going on in Iraq," he said.

Now, while all this is good so far, here is what Mr. Silverman said that ANNOYED ME."I was glad to have that discussion with the editors because they have to deal with the perception that the media is emphasizing the negative," he said.

THE PERCEPTION that the MSM is emphazing the negative??!!
ITS NOT A PERCEPTION..ITS REALITY. His choice of words implies that we, the public, are all suffering from some kind of mass misperception.

He then says "We're there to report the good and the bad and we try to give due weight to everything going on," he said. "It is unfortunate that the explosions and shootings and fatalities and injuries on some days seem to dominate the news.

Its UNFORTUNATE that they SEEM to dominate the news??? SEEM??? What freaking alternate reality is Mike living it. The MSM selectively CHOOSES to emphasize the explosions, fatalities, and insurgent victories!

And the reason they DO so is because anything positive coming out of Iraq, such as the email to Al Zarquawi which clearly stated how the "insurgency" was weakening and losing, is relegated to page six, is because IT DOESNT FIT INTO THEIR LEFT WING AGENDA THAT IS HELLBENT ON FRAMING THIS WAR AS A FAILURE AND ANOTHER VIETNAM SO AS TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO VILIFY PRESIDENT BUSH. Originally it was done to alter the outcome of the 2004 elections, but now that this failed, the MSM is continuing this unfair, biased reporting, in order to shape the 2006 elections, and the 2008 Presidential elections!

While HOURS on end of newstime and resources are spent focusing on "the Natalie Holloway and George Smith disappearances", and while most of the facts surrounding his death are ignored in order to put forth salicious innuendos, and truths are twisted to once again reflect their bogus theories; time and resources, better spent covering the events in Iraq in a fair and balanced way, is lost.

How about reading Michael Yon's dispatches, and working those into your stories, Mike???

One of the things the editors felt was that as much context as you can bring, the better," Ms. Dardarian said. "They wanted them to get beyond the breaking news to 'What does this mean?' "

She also said that as Mr. Silverman and Kathleen Carroll, The A.P.'s executive editor, responded to the concerns, the editors realized that some questions were impossible to answer. For example, she said, the editors understood 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.

Well Mike and Kathleen and Rosemary, how about reading any of the many Milblogs, as well as Michael Yon's dispatches, and including those in your stories. How about asking those reporters at the Palestine Hotel to travel to the bases where the milbloggers are located, and speaking with them and the men in their units, how about travelling to Mosul to speak with Michael Yon?

Hell....Michael travelled across Iraq in July...why didnt your reporters in Iraq set up some time to meet with him to help them get the big picture??. And if travelling to the bases to meet milbloggers is too dangerous..how about emailing them and calling them...and then how about crediting them with contributing to your stories!

And, how about reading Iraqi blogs, like Iraq The Model, or FreeIraqi...both of which offer up the Iraqi perspective on the successes, the setbacks, and the future!

The fact that many Americans are avid readers of milblogs as well as those two Iraqi blogs, should have been the impetus for you to use the those authors as "reliable sources". But lets face it, while their perceptions, their stories, and their insights, would serve to put the war in context, which is what you need badly, they would not lend credence to the cluster fuck mentality that you, in the left wing MSM, subscribe too, and that fact alone is why you simply refuse to do something as obvious and easy as what I've suggested!

Mr. Silverman said the wire service was covering Iraq "as accurately as we can" while "also trying to keep our people out of harm's way."

Mr Silverman is seriously disconnected from reality!

"The main obstacle we face," he said, "is the severe limitation on our movement and our ability to get out and report. It's very confining for our staff to go into Baghdad and have to spend most of " their time on the fifth floor of the Palestine Hotel," which is home to most of the press corps. The hotel was struck by a tank shell in 2003, killing two journalists.

Once again, Mike, I refer you to my above suggestions, let me reprint them one more time:

How about reading any of the many Milblogs, as well as Michael Yon's dispatches, and Iraqi blogs, including those in your stories! How about asking those reporters at the Palestine Hotel to travel to the bases where the milbloggers are located, and speaking with them and the men in their units, how about travelling to Mosul to speak with Michael Yon, or if all thats too dangerous, then have your people email or call them, as well as reading their blogs, and use their insights, and credit them in your articles!

Iraq remains the most dangerous place in the world to work as a journalist, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 13 media workers have been killed in Iraq so far this year, bringing the total to 50 since the war began in 2003.

It ain't exactly a walk in the park for our deployed men and women, or for Michael Yon. Yet they manage to provide some of the best damn balanced perspectives on the war, on our succcesses, our failures, our challenges, and how we are winning the battles, and the hearts and minds of Iraqis. They share with us the triumphs and successes of the Iraqi's as well as their challenges and losses!

"Postwar Iraq is fraught with risks for reporters: Banditry, gunfire and bombings are common," the committee's Web site says. "Insurgents have added a new threat by systematically targeting foreigners, including journalists, and Iraqis who work for them."

So why bother having them their at all? It seems to me that IF they can talk about the failures, the deaths, the car bombs, and the rest of the negative shit, they sure as hell can find a way to talk about the other stories. Otherwise...get them the hell out of Iraq...we don't need your reporters to be in Iraq to "give us the news"....its a brave new world now, Mike, and we all know where we can go to get our news......Milbloggers, Iraqi Bloggers, and Michael Yon!

Bring back your reporters..there are plenty of stories stateside for them to mangle....errrrr.... cover.

Mr. Silverman said The A.P. had already decided before the meeting that it would have Robert H. Reid, an A.P. correspondent at large who has reported frequently from Iraq, write an overview every 10 days.

Wow....Im impressed. NOT!!! What overview will a member of the MSM be able to offer if he is faced with the same challenges the reporters at the Hotel Palestine are facing? From whom will he get his fair and balanced stories? How will he get them? And if he can do so, then why can't the rest of your reporters do the same? Unless you're planning on taking up any of my suggestions, I doubt we will see anthing different in the MSM.


Mr. Silverman also said the wire service would make more effort to flag articles that look beyond the breaking news. As it turned out, he said, most of the information in the anonymous e-mail message had been reported by The A.P., but the details had been buried in articles or the articles had been overlooked.

Oh puhlllleeezzzeee.......... the articles are NOT overlooked, they are damn near impossible to find, and frankly we are sick of trying to dig through the trash you put forth in order to find the one small line devoted to something good! We know where to go when we want to get our news on the War on Terror,and it's NOT the MSM!

Hint...I've already mentioned those places TWICE but in case you still need some guidance, start with my blogroll.

Before the meeting, The A.P. collected three articles by reporters for other news organizations who were embedded with American troops and sent them out over the wire to provide "more voice." Mr. Silverman said he wanted to do more of that but the opportunities were limited because there are only three dozen embedded journalists now, compared with 700 when the war began more than two years ago.

All Mike Silverman can do is come up with the same tired excuses!

One more time Mike, LOOK AT MY BLOGROLL, and reread what I suggested TWICE, that the answer to your "limited opportunities" excuse.

Ms. Goudreau, for one, found the discussion useful. By the end, she said, editors were acknowledging that even in their own hometowns, "we're more likely to focus on people who are killed than on the positive news out of a school.

And yet another cop out! "If it bleeds it leads" is SOOOOOOO over. This is why the MSM is losing its audience, be it print, or tv. Because we NO longer care for your old school habits.
We want to hear fair and balanced reporting. And if you can't give it to us, then close down your papers,and go find something else to do with your lives. I am no longer interested in the shit you're selling, and my spidey senses tell me, I'm not alone!

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