Monday, August 23, 2010

Which is news?

The top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno made the talk show rounds yesterday. James Gordon Meek (New York Daily News) told CNN's State of the Union that the US "could be there [in Iraq] beyond 2011." For many other outlets the 'news' was something else. AP thinks the news is that Odierno stated the US could resume combat operations (unlikely, says Odierno, but possible). Don Lee (Los Angeles Times) thinks that the big and new news too. By contrast, Xinhua leads with the same point Meek sees as news:

Top U.S. commander in Iraq Ray Odierno said on Sunday that the United States could have a military presence in Iraq well after 2011 when all U.S. troops are set to leave.
Less than two weeks before the scheduled end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Odierno told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday talk show "State of the Union" that he could imagine a scenario where "we could be there beyond 2011."

So which is the big news?

That call can be made. The news is that the US could be in Iraq beyond 2011. That's news thanks to the news industry. Despite a cranky CBS gas bag's claim that the internet is repeating rumors (I would guess that would be AM Talk show radio hosts, actually, but Bob's not going to go there and risk being called out on radio) while CBS doesn't repeat rumors (CBS legal department came to a different conclusion, Bob, or have you forgotten the AWOL Bush story on 60 Minutes II?) the reality is that CBS is among the multitude of outlets that have spent the last 18 months plus insisting that the Status Of Forces Agreement means that the Iraq War ends in 2011. That's not what it means, that's never been what it means. But the media outlets have overwhelming 'reported' otherwise. That makes Odierno's statements on that aspect news.

There's what some might see as a thin line between the two because the press really hasn't reported on the other: US combat troops going back in. But the SOFA was reported on and it was misreported. They LIED on the SOFA.

The didn't lie on the other aspect: US troops returning to combat. They just rarely reported it; however, they did report it.

You can refer to the November 2, 2007
"Iraq snapshot" the Third Estate Sunday Review's "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'" and the latter is based on the transcript of the interview conducted by Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny with then-candidate Barack Obama (the transcript was much more illuminating than what Gordon and Zeleny wrote up for the article that the paper ran).

In the case of the SOFA, the media -- with very few exceptions -- has repeatedly and wrongly 'informed' that it means the end of the Iraq War. They practiced -- as we noted in real time -- prediction, prophecy, etc. but they were not practicing reporting. Reporting is telling readers what has happened. Barack's plan to send combat troops back into Iraq after pulling them out if things went badly was reported on. It wasn't emphasized -- didn't fit the falese image the press was attempting to paint for the Cult of St. Barack -- but it was reported.

The SOFA? They're still misreporting it. Take a look at the USA Today editorial board today serving up this crap: "Seven years after the invasion and 16 months before the last U.S. soldier is scheduled to depart, few would be bold enough to proclaim victory in Iraq or foolish enough to declare defeat. Instead, U.S. operations seem destined to end in a slow, unsatisfying fadeout as Iraq muddles its way into an uncertain future. This will leave the U.S. to play a high-stakes endgame with steadily decreasing sway." Scheduled to depart? There's no such schedule at current, there never has been. Contract law isn't a tricky thing. We went over this repeatedly in the last nearly two years. And yet it's still a 'surprise' and 'news' to many because the media continues to get it wrong. And that, Bob Schieffer, is far more damaging than an opinion someone holds about whether or not someone else belongs to this religion, that religion or no religion. And, in fact, what Simmi Aujla (Politico) does is so questionable, Politico should review Aujla's resume (Aujla emphasizes the combat aspect but insists that Odierno "said the country will be ready for the U.S. withdrawal to be completed in Sept. 2011" without noting that Odierno stated US forces could remain in Iraq after 2011.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Out Of Touch President" went up last night. Law and Disorder grades President Barack Obama on today's broadcast -- streams online at the program's website begins airing at 10:00 a.m. today on WBAI and on other radio stations throughout the week.

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