Tuesday, December 21, 2004

To the MSM, Terrorism is still a Crime

While out for lunch, I listened to a bit of the Rush Limbaugh show, with guest host Roger Hedgecock sitting behind the golden EIB microphone. Roger had a caller, who had just got back from Iraq as a contractor, who was registering his displeasure with the press for overplaying the violence in Iraq. This refrain is common among conservatives and war supporters in general. While I think that there is some inherent anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment held by the press that trickles into their reporting, I also think that the worldview of the average reporter affects their reporting in another way.

After 9/11, much was made of how the Clinton Administration and the early Bush Administration treated terrorism as a crime (witness the trial of the Blind Sheik after the first WTC bombing in '93). Subsequent to President Bush declaring a War on Terror, that attitude has changed, for the most part, though it did come up again during the recent Presidential campaign when Senator Kerry was labeled as one who viewed terrorism as a crime, which was mostly correct, in my opinion.

Despite the redefinition of the fight against terrorism from "crime" to "war," much of the press continues to act as if terrorist strikes are crimes. With relative peace enjoyed by my generation, few reporters have been trained to be true wartime correspondents. Most stay in Baghdad, hanging out together in their hotels and are only prompted to leave the hotel when another bombing or attack occurs, to which the gather en masse to report on the latest implied American military failure. Outside of Baghdad, it does get a little better. And though there are some who seek to illuminate the world on the good being done in Iraq, the mainstream press barely attempts to focus on any good being done. Why?

I think the myopic focus on violence is because they are operating in Iraq with the same mindset that news organizations operate here in the U.S. "If it bleeds, it leads." To them, Iraq is just another state, Baghdad another city. While the bombings and attacks should be reported, so should the good things. Even the local news does that. Is it really too much to ask?

No comments: