web counter Media Lies: Perspective on Iraq

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

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Perspective on Iraq

A Christian Science Monitor editorial makes an interesting point about media coverage and how it alters your perspective.
Sixteen civilians, including women and children, were slaughtered on New Year's Eve. A radio journalist was killed by motorcycle-riding assailants as he drove to work last week. A Catholic priest was murdered last month. The head of state has survived dozens of assassination attempts. Scores of locally elected officials and police officers were killed last year. Death squads are common. Kidnappings and attacks on civil infrastructure by well-armed bands of terrorists are part of daily life. Notwithstanding the violence, Bush administration officials say that they are optimistic about the future. Quick! What country is this?

If you guessed Iraq, you lose. It's Colombia - the other war on terror - the beleaguered democracy less than four hours by air from the US that has escaped the attention of the media in recent years.

This lack of coverage is significant. Though the axiom, "if it bleeds it leads" prevails in most US reporting from Iraq, the potentates of the press have largely ignored what's been happening in Colombia. Perhaps that's because the real story is so hopeful - leading to a conclusion that patient, persistent US assistance really works. And because that's a lesson applicable to Iraq, it has little appeal to prognosticators of gloom and doom.
Until the media starts covering stories with a balanced perspective, they will continue to lose audience. The American people have figured out the bias, and they're not buying it any more.