Administration Reports Undermine Right Wing’s Media Bashing on Iraq

The latest White House talking point on Iraq is that the media is systematically ignoring the “good news” about the war. Secretary Rumsfeld has led the charge, and right-wing bloggers are serving as an echo chamber. Last night, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe explained what’s going on:

At a time when…conservatives in general are feeling very disillusioned about the war and about their president, you’ve got to find something to rally around. Beating up the media is one of those.

So far, the public isn’t buying the spin: 60 percent of Americans believe that the media are reporting events in Iraq either accurately or better than they really are. And they’re right.

Eyewitness accounts both by the Bush administration and by journalists on the ground back up the media’s perspective of the chaos and refute the right-wing’s claims of journalistic neglect:

State Department Human Rights Practices report on Iraq, 3/8/06:

[A] climate of extreme violence in which people were killed for political and other reasons. … Bombings, executions, killings, kidnappings, shootings, and intimidation were a daily occurrence throughout all regions and sectors of society. An illustrative list of these attacks, even a highly selective one, could scarcely reflect the broad dimension of the violence.

U.S. Agency for International Development report on Iraq, 1/2/06:

Former regime elements, foreign fighters and Islamic extremists continue to conduct terrorist attacks with devastating effect upon Iraqi civilians.

NBC reporter, Richard Engel, “the only television news correspondent to cover the entire war in Iraq for an American television network from Baghdad,” 3/22/06:

I think the security problem is the overall story and most Iraqi’s I speak to say — actually most reporters get it wrong — it’s the situation on the ground is actually worse than the images we project on television.