Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cherry Picking the News

Brian Bresnahan
Originally published in April, 2006

It was interesting to watch the mainstream media pick and choose their stories and pieces of stories over the last few weeks.

The whole hubbub over the retired generals’ condemnation of the Secretary of Defense gave the mainstream media an opportunity to show their liberal stripe. It was egregious how they chose to disregard all those who support the Secretary.

They nearly ignored the fact that former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, current Chairman, Marine General Peter Pace, and former CENTCOM Commander, General Franks, all came out in strong support of Donald Rumsfeld. By anyone’s standards, these are pretty important, experienced men. Their opinions’ should matter as much as anyone’s, unless of course they contradict the predetermined storyline.

They completely ignored the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Lieutenant General Odierno, concerning his experience with Secretary Rumsfeld. In a Fox News interview he discussed how the Secretary routinely has top military officers in and out of his office providing advice. In no uncertain terms, he made clear that Rumsfeld listens to the advice of others; a description opposite of the given storyline.

Whether or not Rumsfeld needs to go is not germane to this argument. What matters is that one side of the story was completely ignored, again. As the mainstream media would have had us believe, all 4,700 or so retired generals and admirals had come out against him. At a smidge over one-tenth of one percent, that was obviously and absolutely not the case.

The mainstream media was also very selective in their portrayal of each general’s comments. In their bias, they chose to use Lieutenant General Newbold’s Time article as a call to surrender in Iraq. The liberal defeatists were more than happy to help that bandwagon gain momentum while jumping on. But, that was manipulation of the Marine’s own words, twisting them to fit their template. He was unambiguous in his stand that going to Iraq was a mistake. But, he was also quite lucid in his position that we need to stay in Iraq and finish the job, leaving the option open to change his mind in the future. In his words, “…while I don’t accept the stated rationale for invading Iraq, my view – at this moment – is that a precipitous withdrawal would be a mistake. It would send a signal, heard around the world, that would reinforce the jihadists’ message that America can be defeated, and thus increase the chances of future conflicts.” But the press simply threw him in with the white flag wavers.

They chose to ignore the Gold Star Families who, on the anniversary of Iraqi Liberation Week, worked very hard to honor the sacrifice and service of the children they lost in Iraq. Although they have been more than happy to give Cindy Sheehan all the air time she wanted in the past, they ignored people like Patrick and Terri Ivory who were very open about honoring the memory of the son they lost in Iraq. They ignored mothers like Merrilee Carlson who lost her son in Iraq, but honored his memory by traveling to Walter Reed Medical Center to give encouragement to wounded servicemen and women there. Why did they snub those families who support victory in Iraq and/or the honorable memory of their loved ones?

Although they were sure to give the number of deaths from Iraq, they took no notice of the figures released on 21 April by the Project and Contracting Office that detail 10 pages worth of good news about reconstruction in Iraq. A very small sampling of these includes: 830 new and rebuilt schools, 15 primary health care centers completed with 138 more under construction, 191 potable water projects complete with 87 more under construction, and 1,366 MW of electrical capacity added with a goal of 194 MW more. In the past, they and their liberal political cohorts have pointed to a lack of information on infrastructure improvement as proof that the situation in Iraq was not getting any better. Yet, when presented with the exact information they’d been hollering for, they chose not to pay attention to it.

Right here was the cherry on the sundae though. (It might also be hilarious if it weren’t so sad). After clamoring loudly for movement by the fledgling Iraqi government, and reporting that no hope existed without it, they closed their eyes to the fulfillment of the very same events they’d been demanding. Why, when the much maligned Ibrahim al-Jafaari stepped aside, and new hope for a unity government supported by all three major factions arrived with the nomination of Jawad al-Maliki, was there so much silence? They’d gotten the very thing they’d demanded, but acted as if nothing had happened. I was amazed that they cared less about their stipulations having just been met. I was appalled that they ignored an event of such enormous proportion. But, I wasn’t surprised that the modus operandi of those who claim and demand to be guardians of all news and information at the national level continues to be a blatantly subjective one.

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