Saturday, November 25, 2006

Is Iraq really spiraling into horror?

The media loves a good story filled with wild characterizations of unpleasant events, but cringes away from dispassionately reporting such events even as it seeks to layer superficial characterizations and mock analysis onto what would otherwise be simple reporting. The media serves the people best when it sticks with reporting facts and collecting quotes from leaders and true experts. The media serves the people worst when mere reporters do their own "analysis" and attempt to characterize the views of non-experts. This is the plight we find ourselves in today with media coverage of Iraq. We find the media unnecessarily resorting to emotional language like "spiralling", "a new element of horror", "cast a shadow", "shocking", "gruesome", "blow to diplomatic efforts", "a move that could lead to the collapse", "vehicles roared through the streets", "fire rained down", "stormed", "slaughtered", "all-out civil warfare", "run-up toward chaos", etc. This is yellow journalism, not at its worst, but still very bad. Even otherwise reputable journalists at Associated Press and CNN are succombing to the seductive lure of excessively colorful and inciteful language. Shame on them. We would all be better off if they would stick to reporting facts.

As ugly as the ongoing violence is in Iraq, what the media fails to convey is the political nature of the conflict. Groups are jockeying for political power in Iraq. Plus, they are fighting the pressure and influence of the U.S. The sooner the U.S. is out of the equation, the sooner the Iraqis can begin to incrementally shift to less violent forms of "interaction."

American media coverage is doing little to enlighten either Americans or Iraqis. The Iraqis are struggling to find their way in a new and different world. The need for the media to "sell papers" and sell advertising is an unfortunate impediment to the right of the American people to understand what is really at stake and what is really going on at the political level in Iraq.

So, is Iraq really "spiraling into horror"? Not really. The so-called "waves of violence" simply indicate how seriously the Iraqis take the stakes for securing their own political future as an independent country and not simply a puppet of the U.S., the Neoconservatives, and the rest of the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby.

-- Jack Krupansky


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