Saturday, December 03, 2005

Whose Side Are They On?

Key Battleground in Iraq War is the U.S. Media; Troops Attack Media Misreporting December 1, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Accuracy in Media (AIM) pointed out today that the Bush Administration's new "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" says that the enemy seeks to weaken U.S. resolve through "use of the media to spread propaganda and intimidate adversaries."

"The terrorists are using our own media against the cause of freedom and democracy in Iraq. Their clear objective is to demoralize the American side and convince the public that Iraq is a losing cause," said AIM editor Cliff Kincaid. "Is it any wonder that it's now being reported that military officials responded to this terrorist media campaign by paying for positive stories out of Iraq?"

Citing the findings of a recent Pew Research Center survey, Kincaid said that, "Our own media are part of the problem and standing in the way of a military victory." The survey found that 71 percent of the news media oppose U.S. military action in Iraq, compared to only 43 percent of the public at large. Forty-eight percent of the public supported military action in Iraq but only 28 percent of the media did so.

Kincaid explained, "Most of the major U.S. media have decided that the war was a mistake, and their negative coverage reflects that view. Everything we see, read and hear has to be viewed in that context. They want the U.S. to withdraw and fail."

But what do the troops think? Kincaid noted that NBC News reporter Jim Maceda recently spent some time with our troops in Iraq and they "blame reporters for what they see as a one-sided picture, saying that we tend to emphasize the violence and the death and under-report all the positive steps Iraq is taking."

"Our troops weren't paid to say that," noted Kincaid. "That's the general view of U.S. forces in Iraq. They despise the U.S. media."

Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.

To schedule an interview with AIM Editor Cliff Kincaid, contact Anne Tyrrell with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or


At December 05, 2005 10:22 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

What I like about the new media writing style is that they take as few words to say all there is to say -- while the Associated Press/academic style is designed to give as little information as possible but to keep one reading, following in the format of the television news, in which, in the time it takes to tell us to watch the news at a later time, they could have told us what the news is.

It’s just one perennial bait and switch, until most intelligent and perceptive readers figure out there is no “there,” there -- and there is only hype and sizzle without any substance. And then they provide these commentaries lamenting the decline of reading and readership of that tradition of reading and learning without meaning -- that has so little payoff for so much work. These people give work, intelligence and learning a bad name.

So it was in the past that most people were discouraged from learning anything new or keeping up with information because most of it was just self-promotion and demagoguery. Fortunately, the Internet has allowed exposure to truly good and insightful writing and thinking -- without all the spin, control and manipulation, and once one sees that, they can’t go back to the old media.

While it is charming and delightful to take a horse and buggy ride through the park and around town, it’s not the coming wave of vanguard thinking. They’re just words without meaning and substance -- but everybody else does it, so they have to too. When the people in New York and Washington change and give the OK, they will change too -- ten years later.

Their excuse is that the Hawaiian archipelago is the most isolated place on earth -- and so it takes at least that much time for the news to get here.

At December 05, 2005 10:28 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Maybe we can get some of the tourists to smuggle in some old newspapers in their flight over.

At December 05, 2005 10:30 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

According to the local newspapers, Neil Abercrombie is the leading contender for the 2008 presidential nomination. Is that the way the rest of the counbtry sees it?

At December 05, 2005 10:35 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

If the local newspapers pump up Neil Abercrombie any more, he'll look like the Goodyear blimp has come over for the Aloha Bowl.

At December 05, 2005 10:51 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

That's right, Hilary.

Abercrombie, Neil. Democrat. Representative from Hawaii. Led the resolution to reinstitute the military draft. Dan Inouye's friend. Draft protestor.

The guy always riding the stationary bike. Yeah, that's him.

At December 05, 2005 11:04 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

You mean he's not the legendary second coming of the messiah the Honolulu Advertiser editor makes him out to be?

Shades of Evan Dobelle!

At December 05, 2005 11:08 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Will the editors of the Honolulu dailies ever stop trying to con the people of Hawaii?

At December 05, 2005 11:13 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Why don't they write their editorials in pidgin, so we can understand?

At December 05, 2005 11:33 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Those people need to get out in the world and talk to some real people and find out what's really going on in Hawaii these days.

If they just sit around the employee lunchroom talking to one another, it's no wonder they think everybody is stupid and hates themselves -- like they do.

At December 05, 2005 11:48 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It’s the same story in every community in America: One guy or a group gets a little bit of education and is entrusted with power, and then thinks it is their destiny to rule the world -- as they see fit, “rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies.” It doesn’t matter if it is the mass media, school teachers, university professors, trial lawyers, union officials, eco-terrorists, religious fanatics, idealists. In the end, they all have to support one another no matter how egregious the abuses -- for if one bully falls, they all fall -- and so they must stick together and support one another. “Saddam, is innocent, really a nice, misunderstood guy once you get to know him,” they will insist.

At December 05, 2005 8:50 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Rumsfeld scores press 'negativity'
By Rowan Scarborough
December 6, 2005

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urged the American press yesterday to reassess what he called repeated negative coverage of Iraq as his commanders in Iraq push an extensive information war to counter terrorists' propaganda.

"We've arrived at a strange time in this country, where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press and reported and spread around the world," Mr. Rumsfeld said. The reporting is "often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact."

Mr. Rumsfeld's remarks were part of the new Bush campaign of forceful answer to partisan criticism of the war and domestic policies. President Bush spoke of the expanding economy in glowing terms in North Carolina, citing strong job growth and swift recovery from two brutal hurricanes, and in Berlin, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bluntly told Europeans that resistance to Islamic terrorism will require overcoming "new challenges" and new ways of warfare.

Mr. Rumsfeld spoke to a group of academics at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. The Pentagon chief cited a "false and terribly damaging" Newsweek story that American guards flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

He cited a New York Times editorial that equated U.S. troops with the police state of Saddam Hussein, and to press reports quoting two Iraqis' unsubstantiated assertions that American soldiers attacked them with lions.

"Government has to reassess continuously, and we do," the defense secretary said. "So, too, it's useful, I believe, for the media to reassess."

Mr. Rumsfeld said the press is too fixated on the Iraq casualty count, which includes more than 2,000 American troops killed.

"It's appropriate to note not only how many Americans have been killed -- and may God bless them and their families -- but what they died for, or, more accurately, what they lived for," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

When he meets with troops in Iraq, "They ask, 'Why aren't the American people being given an accurate picture of what's happening in Iraq?' "

Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged the risks of reporting a war firsthand, saying, "They have a tough job that's not easy, and a number of them have put their lives at risk, and some have been killed."

In Iraq, to counter bad press and terrorist propaganda, the U.S. command is waging an information war almost as intense as the real fighting. It relies on teams of private public-relations firms to counter militant Islamist propaganda.

The Washington-based Lincoln Group has developed a comic book series and cartoons, produced a documentary on the battle for Fallujah, coddled local reporters and delved into the minds of young Iraqis to determine why they plant deadly improvised explosive devices, according to a briefing the company is providing members of Congress.

Congress and the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, which awarded Lincoln a $5 million contract, is now reviewing one of Lincoln's practices -- paying local newspapers to publish stories on what the U.S. military thinks are the facts about the war and political process.

"Lincoln was tasked with empowering the local Iraqi population to report terrorists seen planting improvised explosive devices intended to create civilian and coalition deaths," states a briefing paper Lincoln delivered to Congress. "Unlike a typical Saturday morning cartoon, Lincoln produced an 80-second animation spot that sought to highlight the personal suffering caused by criminals and terrorists. The cartoon depicts the cowardice of a terrorist placing an improvised explosive device in a crowded street."

Lincoln has produced posters and pamphlets on the democratic process as the country prepares for Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. It produced a comic book series aimed at young men and depicting operations by American commandos.

The company's approved practice of paying Iraqis to run prepared stories has attracted the most press attention and a Pentagon inquiry.

"That story has been pounded in the media," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "It's very attractive for the media because it's about the media, and they like that. But we don't know what the facts are yet."

Said Rumsfeld spokesman Larry Di Rita: "There seems to be a lot less interest in the systematic anti-coalition disinformation campaign that has been going on for three years than in the modest attempt by U.S. forces to transmit actual information to counter it."

At December 06, 2005 5:35 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Why isn't this man leader of the Democrats?

Joe Lieberman: American Patriot

By Chip McLean
Dec 5, 2005

Standing on principle can sometimes be a lonely proposition. This past week, Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman found himself in that very position.

Amid the cacophony of criticism coming from his own party (and some from across the aisle) toward the Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq war, Lieberman voiced his unequivocal support for the US effort to bring democracy to that corner of the world.

Lieberman made his remarks in an opinion piece published on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. The column, entitled "Our Troops Must Stay", followed his recent visit (his fourth, in fact, in the last 17 months) to Iraq.

The article contained some good information on progress being made by the Iraqi military, as they continue on their path to self-reliance. Even more stirring were his words on the Iraqis themselves, who are apparently far more optimistic about the future of Iraq (82% believe their lives will be better a year from now) than is the American public. The Iraqis have gone to the polls in massive numbers twice now to vote for their interim national government and their new constitution, and even more are expected to turn out a third time when they vote for their new full-term government on Dec. 15. The Iraqis have shown a courageous determination, despite the very real dangers they face daily, in exercising a right that so many Americans take for granted – the right to vote.

Senator Lieberman was at his most poignant when he characterized the war as being one between 27 million and ten thousand - that being the number of Iraqis wanting to live in freedom versus the number of various terrorists whose “wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern”. As Lieberman said, we are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of the war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. He makes the point, one that too many of us have forgotten along the way, that it isn’t just the Iraqis who stand to lose by the U.S. withdrawing before they are fully capable of defending themselves, it is the rest of the world, including our own nation that stands to lose.

Withdrawing too early and handing Iraq over to the terrorists would cause not only instability in the region, but would also cause the terrorists, as Lieberman said, to become “emboldened to strike us directly again”. That is a scenario we must absolutely prevent.

There has been much debate about the pre-war intelligence, just as there has been about whether or not going into Iraq was the right decision. Both are legitimate questions in the arena of debate, but one thing that should not be debated is leaving before it is prudent to do so. Regardless of whether or not it was initially the correct decision to go into Iraq should have no bearing on the greater and more relevant issue of securing the region, now that we are there.

Joe Lieberman understands this, and has left politics at the water’s edge – something that too many of his colleagues in Washington have failed to do. There was a time when both parties put aside their differences for the greater good of the country when we were at war. Taking the stand he has taken has certainly not won him any popularity contests with many within his own party, particularly among the far left fringe. Indeed the folks at the liberal activist 527 group have already intimated that they may back a Democrat challenger to Lieberman in his re-election bid next year in Connecticut.

There are many issues on which I would disagree with Joe Lieberman, but those differences do not diminish the man in my estimation. He reminds me of another great Democrat senator, Hubert H. Humphrey. Humphrey was a liberal of course (although by today’s standards not overly so), and very often was at odds on the Senate floor with Barry Goldwater (the quintessential conservative). Their battles on the issues were legendary, but despite those differences, they were friends.

I recall when Humphrey passed away some years back, that Goldwater made some very kind remarks about his old rival – especially about how much Humphrey loved his country. And then he said, “Hubert was a patriot”. Coming from Barry Goldwater, no compliment could have been greater.

I think that if Goldwater were alive today, he would say the same about Joe Lieberman.

Chip McLean is the editor/publisher for

At December 06, 2005 6:10 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It looks like the year-end headline for 2005 will be:

The Decline and Fall of Mainstream Media


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