Monday, October 22, 2007

The Real Iraq

Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq relays his disbelief and shock about the disconnect between reality in Iraq and what the press puts out here in America. I'm guessing that what he feels is akin to my reaction to watching the news after getting all my info online, but multiplied exponentially. The difference is so startling that I have quickly changed channels because the news (all of it, domestic and foreign) is so slanted and depressing.

The American media loathe George W. Bush. Yon makes no mention of this fact in his post, but the loathing surely motivates the misrepresentation of facts over here. No "thinking" person believes that Bush can succeed at anything. That's the premise and it's certainly the glib belief in Washington. It reminds me of a doctor looking at my son's ultrasound reports showing a resolved bilateral nephrocalcinosis after only one week and saying, "It's not possible" with the evidence that it is indeed possible in his hands. Such is the state of cognitive dissonance in the media. They must ignore the evidence otherwise it challenges other cherished beliefs.

But that mind-blindness gripping the media has consequences, because the Iraq war is first and foremost a war of information. There is no question that America has superior military power, but the war won't be won by might alone. Minds and hearts must change both among the American and Iraqi populace. Without that, the war is lost, no matter the military ability. Yon notes:

Clearly, a majority of Americans believe the current set of outdated fallacies passed around mainstream media like watered down drinks at happy hour. Why wouldn’t they? The cloned copy they get comes from the same sources that list the specials at the local grocery store, and the hours and locations of polling places for town elections. These same news sources print obituaries and birth announcements, give play-by-play for local high school sports, and chronicle all the painful details of the latest celebrity to fall from grace.

To illustrate the absurdity to which this conceit of the collective has grown, I’m tempted to borrow from the boy in the fairy tale, only this time pointing to and shouting at the doomsday-sayers parading by: “Hey, they aren’t wearing any clothes. . . . ” Except in this case, I realize I am not a lone voice.
Yon proposes something drastic (for a reporter) to remedy this absurd situation:
Those readers can first check to see if their local paper is a member of the NNA . Because only NNA members will be able to

” . . . print excerpts of Michael Yon’s dispatches, including up to two of his photographs from each dispatch. Online excerpts may use up to 8 paragraphs, use 1-3 photos, and then link back to the full dispatch on his site saying ‘To continue reading, click here.’”

If their local paper is a member of NNA, readers can contact the editor, urging their participation. [If Bob Owens’ experience is a reliable indicator, this might take several, uh, prompts.] By encouraging their local daily or weekly newspapers to reprint these dispatches in their print editions, more people without internet access can begin to see a more accurate reflection of the progress I have observed and chronicled in dispatches like “Achievements of the Heart,” “7 Rules: 1 Oath,” “The Hands of God,” and “Three Marks on the Horizon.”
I would suggest, this, too: You need to read guys like Michael Yon. It is impossible to be adequately informed by reading the newspaper or watching the news. Who gives a flip about Brittney Spears' latest crotch shot? Who cares that Lindsey just got out of rehab and stole a boyfriend? Good grief! The War in Iraq has life-changing ramifications for our children. We all will be affected by the success or failure in Iraq.

Iraq is NOT Vietnam. The West has serious, compelling long-term interests in the stability of the Middle East region. It would be nice if the MSM recognized that fact and set aside their hatred of Bush for a few minutes to report like grown-ups. But that would mean that they'd have to dedicate a few minutes to it and take some time from Brittney and Lindsey. I know, that would be terrible.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I am also amazed just how differently the news is portrait in Europe from that which it is here on our news channels...or papers.

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Michael Yon?

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