Now Playing: Lietta Ruger
Topic: Media Involvement
Seattle Times weighs in; their coverage Iraq war
The Seattle Times: Local News: Editors strive to offer "all layers" of Iraq war, March 26, 2006
Media REACTS to the President's accusations that it is the media's fault for the growing unpopular support for the never-ending war. Seattle Times weighs in; not many reports of the 'good things' happening in Iraq for them to report on...hmmm, I wonder why those anectodal feel good stories aren't making their way to the Seattle Times? Perhaps because the rationale of doing good ie, building schools that are likely bombed shortly after or the rebuilding of infrastructure in Iraq that still leaves the people without basic services, much less an operating sovereign goverment is getting harder and harder to hold onto as a sustainable rationale. I believe it is a distorted rationale that has served as a lifeline to justify why our country is at war in Iraq. And it's a rationale politicians and media use as political footballs to secure their own positioning in the 'safety zone' of homeland while consigning our young to a war waged by this very homeland.
I can't say I'm disappointed to see media having to rethink their coverage of Iraq war this past three years. It is only an opinion, my opinion, but I found myself keenly disappointed often times in what looked to me like a cowering media (national and local) in the face of the patriotic/unpatriotic rhetoric that flourished in 2003-2004-2005. And yet, per a report from a group called Reporters Without Borders, 86 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq from March 20, 2003, to March 20, 2006. That's not indicative of feint heart and some degree of earnestness in getting to the stories to make the reports.
I earnestly hope that media will find their own balance in future reporting. Reporting on the reports is not exactly what I consider 'the news' and yet it does seem to be a fact that it's dangerous in Iraq and news staff can die there, just like the troops and civilians.
Do I want to hear the feel good reports? Sure, but not at the expense of reporting on the actual condition of the war. There were 'good things happening in Vietnam' too, but anecdotal feel good reports don't reflect the overall condition of the war itself. If I wanted 1950's newsreels of how great our military is doing in this changed world of post 9/11, I would think I would have to be somewhat stilted in my growth as an adult to embrace such as other than propaganda bits.
After intently watching television reported newscasts, talkie personality news reports, through 2003, 2004 by 2005 I quit tuning in to hang on every word, every report. With two deployed loved ones, every day of deployment is an anxious day. The final straw came for me when watching in disgust during the 2004 elections news reports without some degree of indignation as the Commander-in-Chief in war-time insulted our entire military and their families with his pardody of 'searching for weapons of mass destruction' under his desk at the White House. A fund-raising event played out to his wealthy base intended to be humorous for the occasion.
I was grateful to have internet, bloggers, independent media, and everyday citizens trying to carry forward the 'unreported' news on Iraq; our deployed service men and women in uniform and conditions on the ground in Iraq; the state of the war in Iraq. In time it became apparant though, that blogoshere reporting on both sides leaned in favor of their own agenda.
My own new activism as a military family speaking out put me in the position of doing national and local media interviews, a not entirely comfortable or familiar position for me. Initially it did have the appearance of balanced reporting; different views from military family stakeholders. Over time it became formulaic in that media seemed to want one military family speaking in what was considered oppositional to the war with another military family speaking in what was considered favorable to the war. I do have to give credit though to our own media here in Washington. I did not have what I consider to be bad or awkward experiences and am grateful for the mostly accurate reflection in reports of the interviews media has conducted with me.
I think the challenge comes in stating clearly what it is we want media to report regarding the war in Iraq. Your thoughts?