Thursday, December 15

The Media Are The Enemy

An Ongoing Series

Today was a historic day in Iraq, and, typically the MSM tried to downplay or ignore it. CNN, as you can see from the image above, chose to completely sideline it in favor of wailing about Torture. The little link circled in red is the only reference I could find at CNN at the time. Currently it is an even smaller link, while they trumpet old news that Zarqawi got away over a year ago.

I wonder if he voted today?

The Washington Post chose to lead with a political hit-piece thinly veiled as news "analysis".

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Asked about the distinction between complete victory and standing down as Iraqis stand up, the official acknowledged, "It's been a confusing concept." Reality may seem more muddled than rhetoric. Even as Iraqi security forces take the lead in battling insurgents, he said, the United States will still need to provide tactical air support and other help.

Bush is not the only one trying not to be pinned down. Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has urged his party against laying down particular proposals on Iraq. Instead, he sent a letter to Bush yesterday signed by 41 Senate Democrats calling on the president to make 2006 "a period of significant transition" leading to troop withdrawals without giving specifics.

The liberal antiwar group harbors no such reticence. The group said its members handed "Out in '06" petitions bearing 400,000 signatures to the district offices of 244 members of Congress yesterday calling for an exit plan to leave Iraq entirely by the end of next year.

As part of its new communications strategy, the White House has tried to impose new terminology to cast those resisting U.S. forces in a more sinister light. After Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he no longer liked the word "insurgents," the word was struck from Bush speeches. And the president has begun using "Saddamists" to refer to supporters of ousted president Saddam Hussein, a word he that used only once in public until two weeks ago but now appears in every speech.

I guess the Post doesn't consider people who kidnap other people and cut off their heads to be particularly sinister. Boys will be boys, after all.

The New York Times was in predictable form. No Silver Lining is complete without a Dark Cloud:

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15 - Iraqi voters began streaming to the polls Thursday morning in nationwide elections as Iraqi leaders predicted that the vote would split almost evenly between secular and Islamist parties and usher in lengthy political maneuvering.

Men waited in line to cast their vote in the northern city of Mosul.
The elections, which are expected to draw as many as 10 million Iraqis to the polls, will be the last formal milestone in the American-backed political process that was devised to foster a democratic government.

The elections are being seen by Iraqi and American leaders as the definitive test of the Bush administration's assumption that a free vote is the best means for reconciling Iraq's vastly polarized ethnic and sectarian groups and defeating the Sunni Arab insurgency that is threatening to break the country apart.

The voting itself is expected to reveal a fissure of another sort, between a Shiite coalition of religious parties on one side and a mostly secular array of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties on the other.

Between them are profound differences over the direction of the country and the nature of the Iraqi state, not just over how heavily it should influenced by Islam but also over the powers of the central government and the autonomy granted to local regions. Implicit in those questions, for many Iraqis, is whether the country can survive at all.

The results of the elections are likely to determine whether and to what extent the Bush administration can begin significant withdrawals of American troops next year. American officials, including the ambassador here, Zalmay Khalilzad, are expected to take an assertive role helping the Iraqis put together what is likely to be a coalition government.

The dreaded coalition government. My G-d, we expect the Iraqis to act like civilized people, and compromise. Which, it sounds like even from this article they are intending to do:

In Yarmouk, a predominately Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, Zuhiar al-Zahawi, a retired airline mechanic, was one of many Sunnis who sat out the elections in January but voted Thursday. He said he was hopeful that Iraq's three main communities could reach an understanding. "We will talk to each other, and we will connect with each other, and we will weave the country together like a piece of cloth."

Most of the rest of the article is an in-depth look at the difficulties that lie ahead, and everything that could possibly go wrong. Sure, there are always difficulties no matter what the endeavor, and the Iraqis are trying to build a relatively free country out of the rubble of one of the most appalling dictatorships in the Twentieth Century. A century that was distinguished by the depravity of its dictatorships, I might add.

That said, for a NYT piece, this is really pretty good. While it over-emphasizes the negative, it ends on a positive note:

In Baghdad's sprawling Shiite slum, Sadr City, a Shiite sheik spoke on Wednesday to a small crowd about the appeals by Sunni leaders for a halt in the violence.

"Some of the Sunni candidates have been asking the insurgents to stop attacks for three days around election day," the sheik, Abbas al-Musawi, said into a microphone. "O.K., if you can ask them that, why do you only ask for three days?"

Why, indeed?

If the so-called anti-war folks were really anti-war (as opposed to being for the other side) they'd be asking the same question. It's kind of funny. "Give Peace A Chance" seems to only apply to America surrendering.

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