Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2004

Blogs Once Again Correct Errors in the Mainstream Media

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 5:44 pm

Tim Blair busts the Washington Post, which had falsely claimed that Paul Bremer left Iraq without a word to the Iraqi people:

When [Bremer] left Iraq on Monday after surrendering authority to an interim government, it was with a somber air of exhaustion. There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people, no celebratory airport sendoff.

Wrong! It turns out that — as other newspapers are beginning to report — Bremer actually gave an eloquent speech, partly in decent Arabic, that changed the minds of some cynical Iraqis about America.

And how did Tim Blair first learn this? By reading Iraqi blogs. The Iraqi blogger in question described Bremer’s speech this way:

Suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.

The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time. The most sensational moment was the end of the speech when Mr. Bremer used a famous Arab emotional poem. The poem was for a famous Arab poet who said it while leaving Baghdad. Al-Jazeera had put an interpreter who tried to translate even the Arabic poem which Mr. Bremer was telling in a fair Arabic! “Let this damned interpreter shut up. We want to hear what the man is saying” One of my colloquies shouted. The scene was very touching that the guy sitting next to me (who used to sympathize with Muqtada) said “Hes going to make me cry!”

Then he finished his speech by saying in Arabic, “A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq!” (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).

Don’t expect to see this point of view in your local paper. It sounds too much like good news.

Speaking of the suppression of good news, see what another Iraqi blogger has to say about the media. Blair has turned over his weekly column to some Iraqi bloggers. One of those bloggers, named Omar, says something I just have to share with you:

Something you may not have read about: in May, Iraqi soldiers saved the life of a US marine shot during patrols in Al Karmah, near Fallujah. Private Imad Abid Zeid Jassim dragged the injured marine away from gunfire then attacked the enemy. We (and you) don’t read any good news like this. All we get are pictures of idiots throwing bricks at burnt cars. Why don’t the media cover such stories? The attitude of the major media no longer surprises me. It only disgusts me.

Looks like Iraqis have more in common with Americans than you’d think!

And another blogger named Ali has this wonderful observation:

Like all Iraqis, I hate Americans. Of course. Here is why:

The Americans, although they brought us freedom, acted without authorisation from the United Nations. Arrogant Americans.

The Americans, although they rescued us from Saddam Hussein, defied the will of many nations. Insular Americans.

The Americans won’t leave Iraq, say newspaper reports. Get out, Americans!

Other newspaper reports say the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible after throwing us into chaos. Stay here, Americans!

The Americans spent tens of billions of dollars to liberate Iraq and help it become a prosperous democratic nation. Don’t Americans care more about fixing their own problems? Crazy Americans.

The Americans started this whole war because of oil. That is why fuel costs are at record high levels in the US and is cheaper than water in Iraq. Selfish Americans.

The Americans are not using the necessary force to keep Iraq safe and secured. Lazy Americans! The Americans are also using excessive force in Iraq while dealing with the security problems. Brutal Americans!

The Americans support the Israeli terrorist government instead of the good peaceful people of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Says it all. Violent Americans.

Perfect.

More L.A. Times Lies About Iraq

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:42 am

Yesterday’s L.A. Times story on the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq strained hard to portray this apparently positive step in a negative fashion. The story opened with these paragraphs:

An interim Iraqi government took power Monday after a furtive ceremony meant to preempt insurgent attacks that could have disrupted the hand-over.

It was an inauguration on the run. After transferring authority, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III left for the airport.

Some formerly cynical Iraqis have seen Bremer’s immediate departure as a positive signal that the transfer of sovereignty was genuine. But the L.A. Times absurdly portrays Bremer as simply desperate to get out of the country.

But the most outrageous distortion by the L.A. Times yesterday was its false portrayal of Interim Prime Minister Allawi as an unknown and unpopular leader:

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, little-known to most Iraqis after spending more than three decades in exile, took the oath of office on a red Koran and urged his countrymen to close ranks to defeat a fierce insurrection responsible for a spree of kidnappings, assassinations, car bombings and beheadings.

. . . .

Many Iraqis have questioned the interim government’s legitimacy, and insurgents have threatened to assassinate Allawi.

Where do the reporters get the idea that Allawi is “little-known to most Iraqis” and widely perceived as illegitimate? They don’t say. Which is not surprising, because it’s not true. Nowhere does the story mention a recent poll by an independent professional polling organization, reported in the Washington Post on Friday, which found:

A large majority of Iraqis say they have confidence in the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that is set to assume political power on Wednesday . . . .

. . . .

There had been particular concern in Baghdad and Washington that Allawi’s many years in exile before Hussein was ousted and his long-standing association with the CIA would undermine his credibility.

But 73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet.

Those poll findings refute the Times‘s assertion that Allawi is “little-known to most Iraqis”:

U.S. officials are particularly encouraged because the poll showed high name recognition for the new leadership, in contrast with many members of the former council, U.S. officials said. More than 70 percent of Iraqis polled have heard or read a significant amount about the new leaders, who were named about three weeks ago.

“That’s huge penetration — and it happened quickly,” said the coalition official, who asked for anonymity because of the rules on naming officials in Baghdad. “It’s partly because Allawi is on all the Arab media every day talking about security. He’s visiting sites, and there are constantly images of the prime minister tackling security, which is what Iraqis care most about right now. It resonates, and it comes across in these figures.”

Sure, it comes across in these figures — but only if the paper mentions these figures. But, to my knowledge, these poll findings have yet to be mentioned by the L.A. Times. Placing the words “Allawi” and “poll” into their search engine yields one relevant hit: this news analysis, which does not mention the poll concerning Allawi’s popularity, but does discuss several recent polls in the U.S. showing the unpopularity of the war among American voters. (It’s okay to mention those polls, because they look bad for Bush.)

Perhaps U.S. voters would be more optimistic if more of their major newspapers would inform them of the optimism of the citizens of Iraq. As the Washington Post reported (but the L.A. Times didn’t), the new poll shows:

Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will “make things better” for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.

. . . .

In a sign that Iraqis are more optimistic generally about their future after the occupation ends, two-thirds of Iraqis believed the first democratic elections for a new national assembly — tentatively set for December or January — will be free and fair, the survey shows.

This poll represents very good news for the future of Iraq. Why has the L.A. Times not found this poll worth mentioning? The answer appears clear: the paper’s editors have decided that they don’t like the war, and therefore you shouldn’t like the war. Accordingly, any news that might give you reason to be optimistic about the war is spiked, and the opposite is portrayed.

If you are relying on the L.A. Times as an exclusive source for your news, you are making a huge, huge mistake. But then, if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site, would you?


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