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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MSM sucks real bad.

Dramatic Turn For Better In Iraq (Cue Sound Of Crickets Chirping)
Investor's Business Daily
Mon Nov 12, 6:56 PM ET

When looking at media bias, it's important to realize it doesn't crop up in one area. A review of coverage in just the last few weeks shows how it infests a wide array of issues -- from war and foreign affairs to economics and science.

Nor is it a new phenomenon. As noted in the studies cited in the first part of this series, bias -- especially of the liberal variety -- has been with us for years, if not decades.

Over the last seven politically charged years, however, it seems to have become more blatant, as the liberal mainstream media have trained their sights on a conservative presidency.

First came charges that President Bush "stole the election" in 2000 in Florida, an assertion later debunked by a massive media study of the counting methods.

Then there's the war in Iraq, and the claim that "Bush lied, people died" -- another idea that's been discredited by those who have looked at the record.

And then there's the economy. Are we in a recession? You can't be blamed for thinking so. This has been a virtual mantra of late as reporters and pundits bat "the R word" around like a beach ball at a baseball game. There's also been a lot of talk about "unfairness" and how, this time, the expansion has "left people behind."

Put it all together, and you have evidence that the media just don't want to report any good news -- at least as long as the current administration is in power.

A look at recent coverage by the media shows glaring inconsistencies between what's happening and what gets reported and emphasized:

Iraq War. The issue is the lack of coverage when news turns from bad to good.

The surge of 30,000 new troops that began in February and peaked in June has been followed by stunning success in Iraq.

Yet coverage of the Iraq policy debate has tailed off since midyear, when the troop buildup that was announced in January was completed. In other words, the better the news has gotten out of Iraq, the less it's been discussed in the U.S. media.

Earlier in the year, the Iraq debate was the top story week in and week out, grabbing from 11% to 15% of coverage, according to an index compiled by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and monitoring 48 mainstream news outlets.

Over the first six months, and until the surge was in place, the Iraq debate averaged 11% of the coverage. Since then, it's averaged about 7% per week -- a decline of 36%. The second-half percentage would be even lower if not for a 36% spike in the coverage during the week of Sept. 9, when Gen. Petraeus delivered his long-anticipated progress report.

Many military analysts -- including some who don't support the war -- have concluded that the U.S. and its allies are on the verge of winning.

But unlike earlier news about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, alleged mistreatment of enemy combatants, supposed "assaults on civil rights" from the Patriot Act and other allegations of U.S. misconduct, the media seem strangely uninterested now.

Since 9/11, when Petraeus gave his surge testimony, a number of stories have emerged that the U.S. and its allies in Iraq's government appear to be on the verge of a stunning success.

They form an unmistakable pattern:

First, it was announced that Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen sharply. Then, it was announced that U.S. troop deaths had plunged. Then, a report emerged of literally thousands of Iraqi families returning to Baghdad to rebuild their lives.

Finally, we've heard this week that the number of suicide and other bombing attacks has fallen precipitately. And that rocket and mortar attacks have also plunged.

Few of these stories made the nation's front pages, unlike reports earlier this year of "rising violence" across Iraq.

The media have moved on, as it were, to other things -- like the credit crisis, worries of recession, the dollar and fear over the widening "income gap." In short, the bad news.

Properly reported, all of the recent news about Iraq and Afghanistan should tell informed Americans the U.S. is winning the war, and Iraq is on the verge possibly of having a strong democratic regime in place to serve as a role model across the Mideast.

Instead, we've gotten stories like this from the Associated Press, the nation's pre-eminent wire service: "2007 Is Deadliest Year For U.S. In Iraq." The story got wide play in both newspapers and on the Web.

Does it matter? Of course. Relentless negativity has an impact.

Recent IBD/TIPP polls show most Americans still don't believe the good news in Iraq. An earlier Pew poll taken immediately after Petraeus' positive testimony found 54% of Americans believed the military effort in Iraq "was not going well" and 61% thought our efforts there were either making things "worse" or having "no effect." Neither, of course, is true.

How could this be? It may well be because they neither see it in their daily newspapers, nor on the nightly TV news.

Economy. We've all heard about the subprime mortgage crisis, falling home sales and the surge in housing foreclosures, record oil prices and the falling dollar.

What you haven't likely heard is that the economy grew 3.9% in the third quarter, while inflation-dampening productivity rose a hefty 4.9%.

Despite fears of a recession, the U.S. economy has created 1.25 million nonfarm payroll jobs since the start of the year, and 8.4 million since President Bush's tax cuts were put in place in 2003.

GDP is up 18.5% since the start of Bush's presidency, or about $1.8 trillion, after accounting for inflation. That 2.6%-a-year growth includes a downturn in 2001, making it even more remarkable.

Last month, reports that the economy churned out 166,000 jobs and that joblessness remained at a below-average 4.7% brought mostly yawns from the media -- even though it contradicts much of the gloom-and-doom spiel.

What about the fearful "twin deficits" of trade and the budget? Both shrinking. The government's budget deficit has now fallen to just 1.2% of GDP, a level most economists consider to be negligible in an economy nearly $14 trillion in size.

This year, exports have jumped 12%, while imports have gone up just 4.3% -- good news related to the weak dollar that trade-worriers can't admit.

Another report released late last week by the Conference Board suggested Americans have become far better off than they think: Total U.S. discretionary income hit $1.7 trillion, or $9,148 for every man, woman and child.

The 73 million households that now have discretionary cash is up 28% from 57 million in 2002, belying the notion that it's "just the rich" who have benefited from the economic boom.

This is not to say there aren't problems. Or that they should be ignored. IBD has written about those problems -- extensively. But for four years, the good news has been routinely shunted aside for sensationalist economic coverage that does little justice to our economy.

Global warming. Americans have heard repeatedly from the media that there is a "consensus" on global warming that makes all further debate unnecessary.

In order to halt the unwanted warming of our globe, we will all have to accept radical changes to our lifestyles along with massive cuts in wealth. We may have to spend $250 billion or more a year - and even that sacrifice might not be enough.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For our purposes, we'll stick to the assertion of a "consensus" among scientists. The facts, as usual, are far more complex than the simplistic media take most people get. There is quite a bit of agreement that, in general, the world seems to have warmed a degree or two since the mid-19th century.

There's no agreement, however, that it's human-made -- or that it's necessarily even a bad thing. Indeed, a review last summer of 539 abstracts in peer-reviewed scientific journals over the past three years found a decided shift in scientific opinion -- toward sceptism of extreme warming claims.

The review found that just 7% of the papers explicitly endorsed the notion that humans were having an impact on global warming. Even if you add in the number of those that seem to "implicitly" endorse that idea, the number rises to 45% -- not a consensus.

Fully 48% were neutral.

Earlier this year, 60 prominent scientists wrote to Canada's prime minister, questioning the science underlying current claims about warming. They wrote: "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto almost certainly would not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

There is, in point 15f fact, no "consensus" at all. Except in the minds of the media.


Great Idea said...


Very nice to see a young women...thinking for herself and using just some plain old 'common sense' get at the real truth about what is happening in Iraq.

You should be a 'roll model' for all young people through out the world...for seeking and finding the truth... and not just taking what some in the 'mainstream' media try and 'spoon feed' the truth.

Much success to you in your career...if it does or does not work out, I think you would have a big future in writing arena.

God bless you!