On MSNBC this morning, Norah O’Donnell asked Laura Bush about a new poll that found “only 2 in 10 Americans approve of the job that the president is doing on Iraq.”
Mrs. Bush placed the blame squarely on the media. She said, “I do know that there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren’t covered. And I think that the drum beat in the country from the media, from the only way people know what is happening…is discouraging.”
Mrs. Bush added that she hopes there is “more balanced coverage by the media” in the future. Watch it:
The truth is that the Bush administration is systematically underreporting the amount of violence in Iraq. From the Iraq Study Group report, pg. 94-95:
In addition, there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq. The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases…For example, on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.
NORAH O’DONNELL: I asked her about the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that we have out today that essentially says only 2 in 10 Americans approve of the job that the president is doing on Iraq. And Mrs. Bush defended her husband vigorously. Take a listen.
LAURA BUSH: It is not encouraging coverage for sure. There’s no doubt about it. But I do know that there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren’t covered. And I think that the drum beat in the country from the media, from the only way people know what is happening unless they happened to have a loved one deployed there, is discouraging.
O’DONNELL: She says that she hopes that there is “more balanced coverage by the media,” in her words. She also said “I understand why the polls are what they are” she says, “because of the coverage we see every day in Iraq.”