Not that a study was necessary, but even a casual observer sees the disparity in the reporting, now that the success in Iraq and Afghanistan can no longer be denied by the leftwingnut media.
The Media Research Center did a three month long study on the major networks’ war coverage. As long as there was violence and American body counts, the MSM did cartwheels. You never saw the massive amount of enemy al Qaeda and Taliban we killed, though. That isn’t news. When it became apparent that American military forces had erradicated the terrorists and gained the overwhelming support of the local populace throughout the Theater of Operations, the reporting went from grudging “yes, but” caveats to virtually nothing.
Back in September, when General David Petraeus reported that the surge in U.S. troops had improved the security situation in Iraq, the big three broadcast networks were openly skeptical.
“Insurgent attacks are down from 170 in January to 120 in August,” ABC’s Terry McCarthy noted on the September 9 World News Sunday, the day before Petraeus testified before Congress. “But that is still four attacks a day, on average. Iraq remains a very violent place….Life in central Iraq is still deadly dangerous.”
“Victory is not at hand, not even in sight,” CBS’s David Martin similarly contended on the next night’s Evening News. On the NBC Nightly News, reporter Jim Maceda found it “palpably quiet” in an area of Iraq once controlled by Sunni insurgents, but “this is really an exception….That civil war as, again, as you get out of the capital of Baghdad, it is truly brewing. So this is really just a partial success for this surge so far.”
That was three months ago. Now, all three networks have become more optimistic in their on-ground reporting from the war zone, admitting that the surge in troops and new counterinsurgency tactics have reduced the violence. But as the news from the war front improves, a Media Research Center study finds ABC, CBS and NBC are less likely to tell viewers about it.
MRC researchers examined all 354 Iraq war stories that aired on the big three evening newscasts from September 1 through November 30, including weekends. That figure includes 234 field reports, plus 120 short headline items read by the news anchor.
Back in September, as reporters voiced skepticism of General Petraeus’ progress report, the networks aired a total of 178 Iraq stories, or just under two per network per night……About one-fourth of those stories (42) were filed from Iraq itself, with most of the rest originating in Washington.
In October, TV’s war news fell by about 40 percent, to 108 stories, with the number of reports filed from Iraq itself falling to just 20, or less than one-fifth of all Iraq stories. By November, the networks aired a mere 68 stories, with only eleven (16%) actually from the war zone itself.
Of the three evening newscasts, ABC’s World News was the first to take serious note of the improving situation (back on October 1), and has offered the most stories (9 field reports, 7 from Iraq) detailing the progress. “Not only is there a huge increase in Iraqi citizens groups who are coming forward to help the Americans, but overall levels of violence have gone way down,” Terry McCarthy enthused on November 22. In a Thanksgiving week interview with President Bush, anchor Charles Gibson was congratulatory: “You took a lot of doubting and rather skeptical questions about the surge. I’ll give you a chance to crow. Do you want to say I told you so?”
On NBC, reporter Tom Aspell filed five stories about progress, generally balancing good news with bad. “Refugees coming back to Baghdad are going to see a lot of changes. There are more people in the streets, shops are open and traffic everywhere,” Aspell noted November 27. “But it is still a dangerous city.”
For its part, the CBS Evening News has offered only three stories documenting the recent progress, just one from their reporter in Iraq, Lara Logan, on November 21. Five weeks earlier, Logan announced on NBC’s Tonight Show that the war was going “extremely badly, from my point of view.” Reality, she claimed, was “much worse than the picture, the image we even have of Iraq.”
From her point of view….probably from an air-conditioned hotel room. The network reporters are notorious for tapping out their stories after listening to al Jazeera. Most of them won’t get off their asses and actually go out with the troops to see first hand just how stupidly wrong they are.
Tim Russert in a 9 December interview on the NBC Nightly News:
It is interesting, with the surge in Iraq and the level of American deaths declining, it is off the front pages. It looks like it could be a bread and butter election where people are very concerned about their homes, the financing, the economy, those kinds of gut issues……
So now that the media has decided the GWOT isn’t that important anymore, they’ve switched to worrying about domestic issues?
But, the occasional feeding frenzy does happen. ABC News reported this on 1 December:
Dozens of militants stormed a Shiite village north of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 13 people and torching homes, police said. Elsewhere in the same region, Iraqi and U.S. troops freed four villages from al-Qaida control, Iraqi officials said.
The militant attack on Dwelah, about 45 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province, began about 6:30 a.m. with a bombardment of mortar rounds, then 50 to 60 suspected al-Qaida fighters streamed in and opened fire, forcing families to flee, a police officer said.
There’s only one problem; the ‘massacre’ never occured. As a matter of fact Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I) disputed the story:
The U.S. military could not confirm Saturday’s attack, saying American aircraft searched the area for several hours and found no evidence of the killings. Iraqi ground forces approached Dwelah but came under small arms fire, said Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in northern Iraq.
That little tidbit was buried in an Associated Press release among other examples of ‘recent violence’.
MAJ Peggy Kageleiry Task Force Iron PAO commented on the Dwelah Massacre that never happened:
……There were no reported indirect fire from mortars reported by sensors by either the 4/2 SBCT Fusion Diyala analyst or by the local Provincial Joint Coordination Centers in the region. No other intelligence found concerning an attack that was initiated or involved mortar fire.
……Predator drones spent several hours over the village and searched the surrounding areas. The aerial reconnaissance found no people fleeing or any evidence of a town being ransacked.
……There were no substantiated reports by ISF of enemy dead being found anywhere near this town.
……The brigade has been replaced in a transition with another brigade with equal capabilties in Diyala province. Security is our business and we will ensure the security of Diyala province. Decisions to move forces will be made based upon the conditions on the ground.
When they’re not printing one-sided pro-terrorist stories, they make ones up, to boot. In October, Time Magazine reported on a grisly discovery of 20 decapitated bodies in Diyala province. Ostensibly, they were dumped near a police station.
The BBC was among the first to mention that Iraqi police discounted the incident.
Maj. Winfield Danielson an official spokesperson for MNF-Iraq, stated emphatically that there was no record of the atrocity, nor was there any evidence of headless bodies.
Iraqi Security forces confirmed the story as groundless:
Another bogus story by the MSM, this time involving the ‘deaths of 25 construction workers’ in Afghanistan.
Again, it never happened…at least the way the media told it:
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Accetta said the attack in a remote part of the northeastern province of Nuristan was aimed at a key Taliban leader who, according to credible information, had been there for some time.
“The air strike was on a Taliban training camp, it was not a road construction workers’ camp,” he told AFP.
“It is entirely possible that the construction workers are also Taliban fighters. It is very possible that they are posing as construction workers or that they are construction workers in the day and Taliban fighters at night.”
There was a road building camp at least a kilometre (mile) away but there was no construction equipment at the site that was hit, he said.
“It was clearly not a construction workers’ camp,” Accetta said, reiterating that if road workers were killed “it is because they were at the training camp and were most likely terrorists.”
And this one was a doozy:
Terrorist supporting Baathist Iraqi journalist Dia al-Kawwaz, editor of Internet website Shabeqat Akhbar al-Iraq (Network of Iraqi News), made a gut wrenching claim that Shia militia gunmen stormed into his house and killed 11 of his loved ones. After gushing sympathy from anti-war loonies, a Jordanian-sponsored State funeral, and several attention-getting press conferences where al-Kawwaz poured on the tears, it turns out that the 11 ‘slaughtered family members’ made a miraculous resurrection.
The angry family of an Iraqi journalist went on local television on Wednesday to blast him for claiming they had been massacred three days ago by Shiite militiamen in Baghdad.
“We are still alive. Thank God!” the sister of the journalist said, before bursting into tears.
Al-Hurrah television paraded the relatives of Kawwaz, clearly alive — and clearly angry.
“No one attacked us … militias or special forces. Nobody stormed our home. He even organised a condolence meeting to mourn our deaths. But we are alive. We are ashamed that he is our brother,” said the sister, wearing a green dress and headscarf.
State television also spoke to Kawwaz’s mother who said she was in Kut, south of Baghdad.
“I disown him. I consider that I do not have a son. He is a liar,” the agitated woman said on the channel which did not show her picture.
“We all are fine and peaceful, inshallah (God willing). I don’t know why he did that.”
After the broadcast, Kawwaz confirmed to AFP by telephone from Amman that those shown on Al-Hurrah were indeed his family members.
The Iraqi Interior Minister issued an arrest warrant for the slimeball in November.
There’s so many apocryphal stories circulating in the bloodthirsty anti-American media and so very few retractions.
Eh, but why let embarrassment over a juicy, albeit false, anti-war story get in the way of the facts?