In the November 28th "Iraq snapshot," Project for Excellence in Journalism's [PDF format warning] "Journalists in Iraq: A survey of reporters on the front lines" was noted:
We've returned to it many times, including last week's "And the war drags on . . . "
Did I miss it and the illegal war ended and all foreign troops left Iraq? No, the only thing that left was the press' alleged interest in the topic. In the November 28th snapshot, the Project for Excellence in Journalism survey of American (mainstream) journalists covering Iraq is noted -- [PDF format warning] "Journalists in Iraq: A survey of reporters on the front lines" and we noted this:
In other findings, 62 percent say that their "editors back home" have lost interest in reports of day-to-day violence (no kidding) and the only significant increases have been in reports on contractors (79%) and "U.S. military strategy" (67%). The respondents rated the "Impact on Iraqi civilians" as the most under reported (40%) while the respondents rated "U.S. Military strategy" as the most over reported (29%).
Now, CounterSpin (and FAIR) should have jumped all over that but they were AWOL from Iraq as well. They are far from the only ones who should have covered it (everyone should have covered the survey -- Democracy Rising did) but they are the ones who repeatedly trot out guests telling you how the media works and how, no, the publisher or chief editor doesn't need to tell the reporters how to report a story, these things are internalized. You've heard that point over and over. With the survey you heard 62% of reporters surveyed declare their "editors back home" had lost interest. You think that's not being internalized for the ones reporting on Iraq. The violence hasn't stopped.
Now the talking point is that it has (it hasn't) and some, such as The Nation, accepted the nonsense of the 'lull' for their dumb ass editorial. Look at the IPS coverage and you don't find a 'lull'. But there has been a 'lull' in the reporting. Why? Well the survey tells you that the majority of those reporting on Iraq feel their editors are tired of reports on the day-to-day violence.
That was a huge revelation and it went without remarking upon by our small media. Possibly in five or so years, when the next book-length media study is published, CounterSpin will bring on the author and, when the point is again made that coverage is effected from the top and that reporters internalized the signals, this poll (then five-years-old) will be cited? Maybe not. But what we do know is that it didn't get cited within two weeks of release. And with all the waves of Operation Happy Talk, it sure should have. By all independent media but especially by a radio program that allegedly looks at mainstream media coverage and critiques it.
"Operation Happy Talk rolls into the shore" (November 28th) noted the effects the nonsense was having on the public. It's only going to get worse unless independent media starts challenging the spin and we're not seeing a great deal more interest in Iraq from little media than we are from big media. Peter Hart (of CounterSpin, FAIR and Extra!) made some strong points on today's KPFK's Uprising Radio but those points need to be expanded upon and made in FAIR's own outlets.
Here's PEW's summary of the findings:
For years, public views of the war in Iraq were increasingly negative and seemingly unlikely to change direction. But as the troop surge resulted in lower levels of violence in Iraq, public perceptions of the war improved markedly. In November, 48% of Americans said things were going very or fairly well in Iraq, up 18 points from February. However, improved public impressions of the Iraq did nothing to lift war support: 54% favored bringing the troops home as soon as possible, a proportion largely unchanged from earlier in the year.
Click here for the in-depth summary (it's not PDF format).
In today's New York Times, Michael Gordon pushes the myth of improvement in violence levels but notes "the Iraqi government has made little headway in improving the delivery of electricty, health care and other essential services, a new Pentagon report said Tuesday." Nancy A. Youssef's "Despite drop in violence, Pentagon finds little long-term progress in Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers):
The congressionally mandated quarterly report suggests that the drop in violence won't hold unless Iraq's central government passes key legislation, improves the way it manages its security forces and finds a way to reconcile the country's competing sects. It said none of those steps has been taken.
"Although security gains, local accommodation and progress against the flow of foreign fighters and lethal aid into Iraq have had a substantial effect, more needs to be done to foster national, 'top-down' reconciliation to sustain the gains," the report said. The Pentagon report is the latest assessment circulating in Washington as officials ponder whether the strategy of increasing U.S. troop strength this year by 30,000 can be called a victory or whether the drop in violence is a lull that will break once the United States returns to last year's troop levels.
Meanwhile Carl Hulse offers the news that "Senate Adds $70 Billion for Wars in Spending Bill" (New York Times):
The Senate voted Tuesday night to approve a sweeping year-end budget package after adding $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the objections of Democrats who have been stymied all year in their efforts to change the course of the conflict in Iraq.
By an overwhelming 70-to-25 vote, senators moved to provide the money sought by President Bush after the defeat of two Democratic-led efforts to tie the money to troop withdrawals.
CNN reported that there were two alternatives offered by the Democrats. Russ Feingold's amendment would have "called for the military to begin pulling troops out of Iraq within 90 days and complete the withdrawal in nine months." The vote? 24 for and 71 against. The other amendment was proposed by Carl Levin and was toothless, non-binding and we're not wasting time on it. (It failed as well.) Manu Raju's "Senate approves $70 billion for Iraq war" (The Hill) hails it as "a critical victory" handed to the White House by the Senate and notes the lack of will in Democratic leadership:
The 70-25 vote caps a year of unsuccessful Democratic attempts to sufficiently chip away at solid GOP support for the war. Ultimately, Democratic leaders declined to levy pressure on their caucus to block the latest round of unfettered Iraq money.
nancy a. youssef
the world today just nuts