Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Media coverage in Iraq: too negative?

Through Best of the Web, I caught a USA Today story that asks that question. In particular, my attention was grabbed by this quote from John Burns, Baghdad bureau chief for The New York Times:
"Have we undercovered the good news? We probably have. But there's nothing willful about it. I would enter a plea of mitigation that we are overstretched."
I would question how unwillful it is, considering this email from an ABC producer and this memo from an ABC political director (maybe it's just ABC?) and these comments from a CNN news executive and . . .

But I digress. If the press really is "overstretched" in Iraq, despite their huge news budgets, this comment from Burns tells me that the overstretched reporters take the easy way out by covering whatever blows up, and ignoring the things that actually take some effort to explain.

If they are really overstretched, doesn't it seem likely that a variety of stories would fall through the cracks, not just the "good" news? If the violence is as widespread as they claim, wouldn't an overstretched press corps translate into some stories about violence that we don't hear about? (One might ask, if there are stories we don't hear about, how would we know if we don't hear about them? Does a falling tree make noise...)

Sorry, I don't buy it. Reporters make a choice about what they cover. We have plenty of examples of reporters who choose to cover the positive as well as the negative, but unfortunately, those examples are not in the mainstream media.

3 Comments:

  • At 3/24/2006 6:53 PM, Blogger Capitol 3 said…

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  • At 3/24/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Capitol 3 said…

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  • At 3/25/2006 5:03 PM, Blogger terrance said…

    Imagine a NYT guy even allowing the possibility that good news from Iraq is under-reported.

    I saw John Burns on the Kennedy Library forum on Viet Nam and the Presidency. He was called up to say a short word on Iraq. He was very pro our troops (much to the undoubted dismay of many in the audience) and thoughtful in his comments. I was impressed--even though I am definitely not impressed with NYT coverage of most anything.

     

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