Patterico's Pontifications


Stuffing the Good News

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:31 am

Via Armed Liberal, who really should be writing for Oh, That Liberal Media, comes the following observation regarding yesterday’s Los Angeles Times.

On the front page was a story titled From Allied to Alienated. The story is about a disillusioned Shiite cleric who says that U.S. forces — initially welcomed as liberators — have worn out their welcome by (as the Times puts it) “failing to fulfill their promises for democracy, political empowerment and reconstruction.”

The Times also ran a story titled What A Bomb Can’t Do, which has a rare story of good news from Iraq: a tale of Marines sitting down for tea with a sheik near Fallouja. The story shows the efforts Marines are making to win hearts and minds to the idea that Americans are really trying to make things better:

The sheik had some concerns and asked for a meeting.

The Marines were eager to curry the sheik’s favor.

Waging war is a wholesale business: whole cities, whole armies are subdued at once with speed and fearful weaponry.

But winning hearts and minds is retail, done one heart and one mind at a time.

And so the lieutenant, the major, the Marine lawyer, the Marine lawyer’s assistant, two translators and 15 combat troops — who were needed in case of an ambush — loaded into a convoy of Humvees.

Convincing someone of your good intentions is labor intensive. During war, the saying is that you should never send a squad of Marines to do what a 500-pound bomb can do; during the struggle for a lasting peace, bombs can be useless, even counterproductive.

The meeting in the farmhouse in this village outside Fallouja was only one of dozens of such meetings, in tiny homes, in government offices, along roadsides, in tumble-down rural villages, anywhere and everywhere, as the Marines try to convince a leery and war-weary Iraqi populace that the United States is their friend.

Nice story. You should read it all.

So what’s our beef?

Simple. Whereas the first story was Column One on the front page, the second story — the good news — ran in the Calendar section, where they run the comic strips and advice columns.

And we wonder why polls show that Americans don’t think things are going well in Iraq.

UPDATE: For more on how the media is burying the good news from Iraq, go here and here.

6 Responses to “Stuffing the Good News”

  1. What disingenuous bilge.

    In case Patterico has forgotten, a whole lot of Americans have died in Iraq. 10 new deaths announced just today. Americans, especially those with loved ones or friends in Iraq, are going to be much more concerned about the rising tide of anti-Americanism in Iraq. Because tea-sipping just doesn’t appear to be working all that well, now, does it?

    If Patterico truly believes the good news is being underreported from Iraq, I suggest he volunteer to do some NGO work over there. He can report back to us just how excellent things are.

    P.S. According to what kind of mindset is the fact that the lieutenant et. al. required 15 troops to protect in case of ambush “good news”? I thought major combat operations had finished nearly a year ago?

    m.croche (c8ab11)

  2. Uh-oh. Croche is commenting on political stuff again. . . I like him better when he sticks to musical commentary. He’s less insulting that way.

    But he is starting to look more like a regular reader with each passing day, his denials notwithstanding.

    The point is not that everything is hunky-dory. Obviously, it is not. But many good things are indeed underreported.

    Patterico (adf6ff)

  3. By the way, it is interesting to note that Croche’s certainty that the situation in Iraq is hopelessly screwed up likely comes from . . . the media.

    Patterico (f7b3e5)

  4. That is certainly an inappropriate place to put the story.

    Bostonian (a37519)

  5. Adding to the blogroll
    It’s one of those nights where I have the urge to seek out new and interesting blogs, so here goes: * New England Republican – poor guy, stuck out there virtually alone. Well, the least I can do is visit…

    marcland (75cec2)

  6. All the (bad) news thats fit to print…
    … and all the (good) news that’s fit to bury. Yea… that liberal media. And that liberal media…

    Brutally Honest (af7df9)

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