Thursday, August 11, 2005

MSM "Covers" the Iraq War

What if we covered baseball games the way the MSM covers Iraq? Here's an example from a real game between the SD Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals:

The Cardinals and Padres met today in the rubber game of a 3 game set. The Padres pounded out 10 hits and scored 3 runs while the Cardinals hitters struck out 6 times and lined into a double play. Through nine innings, Cardinals hitters flied or lined out a total of nine times. Ground outs were even more frequent. Both John Rodriguez and Jim Edmonds struck out in the game for the Cardinals. Mike Sweeney, Kahlil Green, and Joe Randa all doubled for the San Diego Padres. Mike Sweeney had 2 RBI's in the game. The Cardinals stranded 5 runners in scoring position on the day. John Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a fly ball to Ryan Klesko.

After reading this synopsis...who would you think was winning and had, in fact, won the game?

Final Score: Cardinals 11, Padres 3.

See here for the box score to the game.

What's the point? If all you do is report the failures of one team and, at the same time, only report the successes of the other team...EVEN IF WHAT YOU'RE REPORTING IS COMPLETELY ACCURATE, you've presented a distorted picture of the game. The same is true of war coverage. Constant attention on the Coalition casulties (especially American war dead), the numbers killed by suicide bombings, and the difficulties of the war effort...while at the same time ignoring the losses inflicted on the insurgents, the successful missions (both in terms of rebuilding infrastructure and in defeating insurgents), and the progress of the overall strategy and goals met in the rebuilding of Iraq presents a *completely* misleading impression. No wonder the American public is increasingly convinced that we are losing in Iraq. Wouldn't you be convinced that the Cardinals had lost to the Padres? Now, no one is arguing that the MSM should paper over American losses or ignore defects in the planning, execution, or focus of the war in Iraq and the larger war on terrorism. What I am arguing is that they *must* present an accurate picture of what is going on Iraq...and not just one side (everything that goes bad) of the story. That's what it means to be fair *and* balanced.


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