Patterico's Pontifications

2/16/2008

Slow News Day in Iraq

Filed under: International,War — DRJ @ 12:43 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Sweetness&Light reports the walls may be coming down in some Baghdad neighborhoods:

“Attacks by insurgents and rival sectarian militias have fallen up to 80 percent in Baghdad and concrete blast walls that divide the capital could soon be removed, a senior Iraqi military official said on Saturday.

Lieutenant-General Abboud Qanbar said the success of a year-long clampdown named “Operation Imposing Law” had reined in the savage violence between majority Shi’ites and minority Sunni Arabs dominant under Saddam Hussein …”

… while Americans help disabled Iraqi children get wheelchairs:

“Mothers cradle children in their arms. Fathers smile softly at the helpless bodies they hold. Other parents are bent over from the weight of their teenage kids whose legs fall limp, almost touching the ground. In the absence of basic medical equipment, these parents do this every day.
***
Enlisting the help of generous supporters and an Iraqi humanitarian group, “Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids” was born in August of 2005. Thirty days later, its first 31 chairs were delivered. To date, more than 250 Iraqi families have received the wheelchairs.

[US civilian contractor Brad] Blauser has partnered with a nonprofit group called Reach Out and Care Wheels, which sells him the chairs at a manufacturing price of about $300. The chairs are made by prisoners at the South Dakota State Penitentiary and ultimately delivered in Iraq by the U.S. military.”

It sounds like many of the children suffer from polio, although it’s certainly possible some of the injuries may be war-related. One family had three children disabled by polio.

Here’s hoping everyday is a slow news day in Iraq.

— DRJ

41 Responses to “Slow News Day in Iraq”

  1. DRJ…I’m fumbling around here trying to figure out if you have a pulse. You clearly don’t have a heart. Brad didn’t make the war..he’s just trying to make a difference in a war torn country. On the day of the wheelchair delivery, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians all rode the same bus to the secure delivery destination. At that time, all of the parents were the same…parents of disabled children, not enemies of each other. Don’t you agree that it is finally time we saw something positive come out of that region? Making a difference can indeed start with one person.

    Susy Raybon (72814f)

  2. Susy Raybon,

    Please don’t worry about my pulse. I agree this is good news and that’s why I posted it. The walls are coming down because the neighborhoods are getting safer, and the families that are getting wheelchairs are grateful for the help they are receiving. I hope the Iraqis have many more days with news like this.

    Suzy, I’m not happy there are neighborhood walls or disabled children but, to me, the point of the story is that things are getting better and Americans are trying to help. Is it possible you are so used to reading stories that trumpet bad news that you have a hard time believing it when someone writes a post that is all about good news?

    DRJ (3eda28)

  3. Laudable outreach like Brad Blauser’s scores well in support of the Iraq-is-salvageable narrative, while Angelina Jolie in Darfur rates barely a peep. CNN covers both, of course, earning props for one and harrumphs for the stereotypical liberal sanctimony.

    steve (10c035)

  4. What, you don’t like positive news coming out of Iraq, steve?

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  5. Laudable outreach like Brad Blauser’s scores well in support of the Iraq-is-salvageable narrative, while Angelina Jolie in Darfur rates barely a peep.

    Let’s check that, shall we?

    Angelina Jolie in Darfur Google Search: 206,000 references with MSM and UN endorsement and support from the gala Hollywood set. Plus, Jolie has a title: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

    Brad Blauser in Iraq Google search: 824 references, mostly by blogs.

    So who really gets more coverage?

    You make the call.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  6. So who really gets more coverage?

    Angelina Jolie is a movie star, Paul. Pouty and pretty, some say. And blogs like “www.blinklist.com” are not the MSM.

    The right-wing commentariat lionizes humanitarian heroes slogging through Iraq.

    Darfur is a punchline:

    “Democrats can’t wait to get us into Darfur. There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur? It’s black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they’re in trouble.” – Rush Limbaugh, 08/21/2007

    “CNN Heroes” was a live global telecast honoring ordinary people doing extraordinary things across 80 countries – it was a ratings’ disaster.

    steve (b5c391)

  7. Could that be because not as many people watch CNN anymore?

    DRJ (3eda28)

  8. Could that be because not as many people watch CNN anymore?

    No, because not that many people care about ordinary people doing great and selfless deeds.

    Maybe if Brad Blauser had been nominated…and he should have been…they would have had half Glenn Beck’s numbers.

    steve (b5c391)

  9. Angelina Jolie is a movie star, Paul. Pouty and pretty, some say. And blogs like “www.blinklist.com” are not the MSM.

    Which is exactly my point, steve…the MSM, with rapt attention, breathlessly follows Jolie’s every move having anything to do with Darfur, bestowing an overwhelming abundance of lavish praise. Which brings up:

    The right-wing commentariat lionizes humanitarian heroes slogging through Iraq.

    That’s because the MSM, led by the AP, is too busy marking Iraq GRIM MILESTONES to notice someone like Brad Blauser…so the bloggers fill the void by doing the job the MSM won’t do.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  10. That’s because the MSM, led by the AP, is too busy marking Iraq GRIM MILESTONES to notice someone like Brad Blauser

    And, of course, CNN isn’t MSM.

    They enterprised the Brad Blauser story. As most switched to Nancy Grace and Keith Olbermann.

    steve (b5c391)

  11. And, of course, CNN isn’t MSM.

    I never said they didn’t follow the story. In fact, they are the only MSM that did, so the bloggers picked up on it.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  12. I never said they didn’t follow the story.

    Before or after saying “bloggers fill the void doing the job the MSM won’t do?”

    steve (78f398)

  13. Before or after saying “bloggers fill the void doing the job the MSM won’t do?”

    “I never said” means I never said, steve.

    What I did say was this:

    824 references, mostly by blogs.

    Obviously you missed the “mostly by blogs” part, since the first link in the Brad Blauser Google search is a CNN story.

    If I wanted to include CNN, I would have written: “bloggers fill the void doing the job the entire MSM won’t do.”

    Reading comprehension, steve: look into it.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  14. steve once again tries to shift the debate – because that’s just what he does on virtually every thread.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  15. 824 references, mostly by blogs.

    Which, in turn, link or excerpt the CNN story.

    You can’t cite this as an instance of bloggers “doing the job the MSM won’t do.”

    steve (1974f0)

  16. You can’t cite this as an instance of bloggers “doing the job the MSM won’t do.”

    Really?

    Show me who in the MSM besides CNN covered the story.

    We agree the story should have far-reaching coverage, right?

    If CNN didn’t give this top story treatment (instead burying in a show with disasterous ratings) and all other MSM outlets didn’t even bother to mention it, leaving it to the bloggers to tout it, who really is getting the job done?

    Hmn?

    Paul (236e0e)

  17. Show me who in the MSM besides CNN covered the story.

    Two MSM reporters found and reported on a single individual doing heroic deeds. They packaged it and did interviews and it ran on the air. It was not “buried” in an awards show. Competing outlets don’t generally traipse around Baghdad bootlegging feature material.

    There are countless stories around the globe that go unreported. It sprang from Iraq, so the right springs into action.

    This is not an instance of bloggers “doing the job the MSM won’t do.”

    steve (79f99d)

  18. Two MSM reporters found and reported on a single individual doing heroic deeds.

    That would be CNN, alone.

    They packaged it and did interviews and it ran on the air. It was not “buried” in an awards show.

    What time slot against what shows?

    Since it was a “feature story,” did it lead the top of several primetime hours, complete with teaser clips? Or was it a fill-in, barely mentioned?

    Competing outlets don’t generally traipse around Baghdad bootlegging feature material.

    Of course not. They simply write what stringers tell them with no verification instead of finding their own stories (Reuters, AP) or simply make them up (Scott Thomas Beauchamp).

    It sprang from Iraq, so the right springs into action.

    Because the Left would never stoop to ignoring anything that does not fit the GRIM MILESTONE narrative template.

    They also wouldn’t provide fawning coverage of a movie star’s involvement of one of their pet causes. Oh wait…

    This is not an instance of bloggers “doing the job the MSM won’t do.”

    Steve, who is reporting it and who isn’t?

    Not only do I not see any links to any MSM besides CNN, I don’t see any links to HuffPo, the DU or to Daily Kos.

    Kos is no surprise, since people like Brad Blauser are “mercenaries” for whom Markos Moulitsas “Screw Them” Zuniga feels nothing but scorn.

    Paul (236e0e)

  19. Steve, who is reporting it and who isn’t?

    Again, Paul, it was a proprietary feature piece. It might well have been carried on dozens of TV affiliates during local newscasts. Turn off that soundtrack in your mind. The “Impact Your World” feature is a regular segment, according to CNN propaganda. Had AP done the story, literally thousands of outlets that pay for the rights could have used it.

    steve (f121ab)

  20. Again, Paul, it was a proprietary feature piece. It might well have been carried on dozens of TV affiliates during local newscasts.

    So how come other outlets (like the AP) didn’t think to themselves, “Hey! That’s a great story! Let’s go interview Blauser ourselves!”

    Just because CNN did a feature on Blauser doesn’t mean that other outlets cannot go and get their own perspective and facts. Unless Blauser decicded he’s only talking to CNN, his story is fair game.

    The “Impact Your World” feature is a regular segment, according to CNN propaganda.

    Broadcast times?

    Had AP done the story, literally thousands of outlets that pay for the rights could have used it.

    But they didn’t. Which is why I point this out, because the AP is the Voice of God in the news business.

    Paul (236e0e)

  21. So how come other outlets (like the AP) didn’t think to themselves, “Hey! That’s a great story! Let’s go interview Blauser ourselves!”

    Pride, partly. They would have been obliged to credit CNN, owing to the obscurity of the subject and uniqueness of the story angle. Blauser is clearly not doing this for the publicity – he might have turned aside follow-up interviews.

    steve (f121ab)

  22. They would have been obliged to credit CNN, owing to the obscurity of the subject and uniqueness of the story angle.

    Not if they went to Blauser themselves and came up with their own angle. News outlets run stories all the time from their own perspectives and angles without crediting other outlets.

    Blauser is clearly not doing this for the publicity – he might have turned aside follow-up interviews.

    Which I pointed out in my previous comment.

    Paul (236e0e)

  23. News outlets run stories all the time from their own perspectives and angles without crediting other outlets.

    Not ones like this with other available feature material. If ABC found a one-legged Iraqi who runs a Christian Science Reading Room in the back of a Mosul restaurant, CBS doesn’t do the same story. The only Blauser angle left – beside waiting a month to essentially update progress – is to go to his hometown for reaction.

    steve (f121ab)

  24. The only Blauser angle left – beside waiting a month to essentially update progress – is to go to his hometown for reaction.

    So CNN asked Blauser every question in the known universe?

    I don’t think so.

    Paul (236e0e)

  25. Even if they did ask Blauser every question in the known universe, did all of it make it into the segment?

    I think it is safe to say that much of the material gathered made the cutting-room floor.

    Every news show in existence edits out material so the story will fit into the pre-determined time length of the segment. That means not everything gets covered…thus leaving an angle for another news outlet to cover. Thus, an opportunity for someone (like the AP) to cover the story (barring Blauser’s refusal to do any more interviews.)

    Paul (236e0e)

  26. Steve, if you had a point I missed it as my eyes glazed over from the vapidity of this exchange. You’ve failed to establish your point about the MSM — if we could ever figure it out.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  27. Actually, I’m glad you pushed this, Steve, because it made me look into it further. Here’s Brad Blauser’s website. It’s worth a look.

    And here’s a Stryker Brigade News website from February 2006 that is apparently one of the first articles on this story. What intrigues me most is that it tells the story of what motivated Brad Blauser to start his wheelchair project. Apparently he was inspired by Major David Brown, MD, the 1-24 Infantry Battalion Surgeon, who screened Iraqi kids and noticed that many of them had birth defects. Here’s an excerpt:

    “During the screenings, Major Brown and his staff examined an unusually large number of children suffering from disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy and Spina-Bifida, which rendered them immobile. Birth defects seem all too prevalent in this region of more than 2 million people.”

    It seems to me that this would make an interesting story for the media to follow up on. I would be interested not only in hearing about Major Brown’s experiences but also learning more about whether there are an undue number of birth defects in Iraq and what caused them. Are they related to the lack of medical care and vaccines? The use of chemical/gas weapons against the Iraqi people? Or is there just an unusually large cohort that might be due to an environmental or other problem?

    DRJ (3eda28)

  28. If ABC found a one-legged Iraqi who runs a Christian Science Reading Room in the back of a Mosul restaurant, CBS doesn’t do the same story.

    So unusual is the basis for exclusivity?

    To use an example you brought up, Angelina Jolie, a currently active Hollywood actress that some say is pouty and pretty, is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador. No one else in history can claim such a combination, yet an Angelina Jolie in Darfur Google Search pulls up 206,000 unique hits.

    Exclusivity?

    No coverage by other outlets out of pride because all angles are already covered?

    No lionization because it’s one of the Left’s pet causes?

    Paul (236e0e)

  29. DRJ says:

    It seems to me that this would make an interesting story for the media to follow up on. I would be interested not only in hearing about Major Brown’s experiences but also learning more about whether there are an undue number of birth defects in Iraq and what caused them. Are they related to the lack of medical care and vaccines? The use of chemical/gas weapons against the Iraqi people? Or is there just an unusually large cohort that might be due to an environmental or other problem?

    There’s an angle that the MSM hasn’t covered, steve. Why?

    Our own DRJ, in one comment, covers more than nearly all the MSM does. Perfect example of bloggers doing the job the MSM won’t do.

    Paul (236e0e)

  30. Well said, DRJ. It would be a tough story to do without comparing quality of care before and after invasion.

    The spina bifida aspect was covered extensively in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution series.

    steve (f121ab)

  31. And here’s a Stryker Brigade News website from February 2006 that is apparently one of the first articles on this story.

    DRJ: does this mean that Stryker Brigade News scooped CNN?

    Paul (236e0e)

  32. So unusual is the basis for exclusivity?

    It’s not written down, Paul. The more unique or unusual, the more proprietary, especially involving a civilian contact cultivated by reporters who probably spent a week on it. Where troops are involved, the angles and sidebars are limitless. If Blauser invented some up-armoring technique and taught soldiers how to re-fit Humvees on his own dime, it would be open season.

    steve (f121ab)

  33. DRJ: does this mean that Stryker Brigade News scooped CNN?

    The Stryker Brigade story is from February, 2006. CNN’s dates from December, 2005.

    Call it a tie.

    steve (f121ab)

  34. CNN’s story is from December 2005?

    And no one else in the MSM ran an update?

    No one in three years could find anything new to report?

    The more unique or unusual, the more proprietary, especially involving a civilian contact cultivated by reporters who probably spent a week on it.

    So CNN asked Blauser every question in the known universe?

    Paul (236e0e)

  35. I guess you didn’t watch all the follow-ups because Sean Hannity has his own set of war zone exemplars.

    And no one else in the MSM ran an update?

    Only if you consider AP, CBS and others “no one else.”

    steve (f121ab)

  36. Steve,

    I’m confused. CNN’s wheelchair story is from February 2008. The Stryker story is also about Blauser’s wheelchairs and it was published in 2006. The 2005 CNN story you link concerns baby Noor’s treatment in the US for spina bifida. I agree there’s some overlap but the 2005 story is about one child, not a generation of children like the Blauser story involves.

    DRJ (3eda28)

  37. DRJ, Americans should, as mentioned, be “learning more about whether there are an undue number of birth defects in Iraq and what caused them.” The 2005 Baby Noor story may or may not have been a catalyst. For all I know, CNN, The AJC and others assigned them in the months following. If they didn’t, they should have.

    steve (f121ab)

  38. Okay, I see. Thanks.

    DRJ (3eda28)

  39. Only if you consider AP, CBS and others “no one else.”

    The AP and CBS ran a story on Blauser?

    I thought CNN had unique proprietary coverage which prevented anyone else from covering the story because of pride.

    Paul (236e0e)

  40. The AP and CBS ran a story on Blauser?

    Re-read your post 34. Comprendo?

    The ’05-’06 Baby Noor series of stories led to more awareness of Iraqi children and birth defects. We can’t discount the possibility Brad Blauser was moved to start a project at that point. And that he granted CNN an exclusive.

    Earlier stories (here and here) suggest depleted uranium from Gulf War I was behind the surge in birth defects — in 1989 there were 11 per 100,000 births; in 2001 there were 116 per 100,000 births.

    steve (65f8cb)

  41. This is a noble, worthwhile effort Mr. Blauser has endeavored in. He is to be commended for his fore-thought and tenacity and humanitarian spirit.

    Eddie L. Miles (380ba0)


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