Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Media Bias

You hear that term from conservatives a lot. Especially regarding Iraq and the war on terror. The claim is made that the MSM sensationalizes US failures and the enemies successes. That they ignore the good stories and paint Iraq in the worst light possible. The journalists though can simply say that they don't make the news, they just report it. And that's certainly true, to a point. But there is a level of human judgment that goes in to what gets reported and how it gets talked about.

For instance you will probably hear so much about soldiers dying in Iraq this coming week that you'd think our guys don't even have guns. Why? There's an election next Tuesday, and the MSM doesn't want the Republicans or supporters of the war to win.

The drive-by-media has been trying to use the unpopularity of the Iraq war, and war in general, as an election issue against Bush and the Republicans ever since 9/11. Anyone who disagrees with that statement is being disingenuous in the extreme. "But soldiers are being killed, and there are still terrorists in Iraq" you say. Yes there are, we are fighting a war and there is an enemy. But that's not my point, people die in wars, that's what wars are about: killing people and breaking stuff. The media bias is in how everything is reported.

To illustrate this point I will reference a Victor Davis Hanson column he wrote called Eye Of The Beholder

War-torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a peaceful California perhaps now 35 million. The former is a violent and impoverished landscape, the latter said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each.

As a fifth-generation Californian, I deeply love this state, but still imagine what the reaction would be if the world awoke each morning to be told that once again there were six more murders, 27 rapes, 38 arsons, 180 robberies, and 360 instances of assault in California — yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day. I wonder if the headlines would scream about “Nearly 200 poor Californians butchered again this month!”

How about a monthly media dose of “600 women raped in February alone!” Or try, “Over 600 violent robberies and assaults in March, with no end in sight!” Those do not even make up all of the state’s yearly 200,000 violent acts that law enforcement knows about.

Iraq’s judicial system seems a mess. On the eve of the war, Saddam let out 100,000 inmates from his vast prison archipelago. He himself still sits in the dock months after his trial began. But imagine an Iraq with a penal system like California’s with 170,000 criminals — an inmate population larger than those of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Singapore combined.

Just to house such a shadow population costs our state nearly $7 billion a year — or about the same price of keeping 40,000 Army personnel per year in Iraq. What would be the image of our Golden State if we were reminded each morning, “Another $20 million spent today on housing our criminals”?

Some of California’s most recent prison scandals would be easy to sensationalize: “Guards watch as inmates are raped!” Or “Correction officer accused of having sex with underaged detainee!” And apropos of Saddam’s sluggish trial, remember that our home state multiple murderer, Tookie Williams, was finally executed in December 2005 — 26 years after he was originally sentenced.

Some similarities that VDH didn't mention, and neither have the MSM for that matter, are that both places have freedom of religion, the right to vote, womens suffrage, and access to schools.

But getting you to freak out about the state of the State of California wouldn't make you hate Republicans.

Ever since Vietnam the media has been sensationalizing the negativity of war with the point of blaming the US for it or subverting the cause being fought for. As Ollie North recently said:


On Feb. 27, 1968, after a month of brutal fighting and daily images of U.S. casualties on American television, Walter Cronkite, then the host of the CBS Evening News, proclaimed that the Tet Offensive had proven to him that the Vietnam War was no longer winnable. Four weeks later, Lyndon Johnson told the nation that "I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president." It didn't matter that Tet had been a decisive victory for the U.S. and South Vietnamese.

Today's press potentates try to deliver the same message: that Iraq, like Vietnam, is unwinnable. One television network has broadcast images of U.S. troops being killed by terrorists -- making Iraq the first war where Americans get their news from the enemy.

The war in Vietnam wasn't lost during "Tet '68" no matter what Walter Cronkite said. Rather, it was lost in the pages of America's newspapers, on our televisions, our college campuses -- and eventually in the corridors of power in Washington. We need to pray this war isn't lost the same way.

This just illustrates that we absolutely have to keep a sense of perspective. And we cannot accept the media's distorted version of reality as truth. If we come to accept the distortions thrown at us in daily attempts to garner votes for the Democratic party then we do a disservice to our Country, our military, and ourselves.

Linked to Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Outside The Beltway, and Stop The ACLU