Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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23 March 2006

What About the Good News from Iraq?

ABC News reports that they've been inundated with mail complaining that their Iraq coverage is biased towards the bad news in Iraq and we're not hearing enough about the good news from Iraq. President Bush's similar complaint in his latest forays into the public debate is the obvious impetus behind these viewers' protests.

But is it really the job of the media to cover "good news"? I don't think so. I think the job of reporters is to report "news" - stuff we don't expect, things that are new and different. So if there are people in Iraq who are not killing each other, that's not news - that's how things are supposed to be. If some U.S. sponsored project is helping to rebuild some school or sewage plant or electrical plant, that's not news, because that's something we promised to do and are expected to do.

Similarly, we don't hear about every killing in Iraq or every U.S. military action and certainly not every U.S. casualty because these are ongoing activities that simply don't constitute "news." The press should not have an agenda (heaven knows they often do), and so it is not the job of the press to publicize American good deeds. If the press emblazons news of torture across their headlines, that's an indirect way of saying that Americans don't typicaly torture their detainees - if we did, it wouldn't be news.

The same situation holds here stateside. When a white pregnant woman disappears in the middle of upper-middle-class suburbia, that's news, because it happens so rarely. When a woman in the black inner-city or some white working class enclave turns up missing, that's not news (or not very big news), because such reports are fairly common - and the end result is usually rather unexciting - she ran off or her drunk/drug addict husband/boyfriend did her in. The media doesn't run stories every day about normal life in the ghetto - how kids go to school, fathers go to work, mothers do laundry - that would be rather patronizing. The "news" from the ghetto is usually bad - the news from everywhere is typically bad. When reporters report on mundane affairs, that's usually a sure sign that there's an agenda at work, which is what we don't reporters doing. I think most people understand this - so I doubt this meme will have much traction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do people accually believe the crap that comes out of this shit heads mouth? Blame the messenger. The whole f'in war is the fault of the evil biased media.

March 23, 2006 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is JTH calling Ziel a shite head?

March 23, 2006 7:42 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

That would not be unknown...but in this case I think he's talking about the fella on Pennsylvania Ave.

March 23, 2006 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want good news you can always stick to government press portals. According to them, Iraq is a capitalist democratic paradise.

Hit and wow! Iraq looks like such a great place, no dead bodies, no poverty, just smiling kids and happy soldiers tossing candy.

March 26, 2006 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the previous post describes brings ups images of Maoist China or even N. Korea today.

March 27, 2006 7:28 AM  

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