August 16, 2004

Taking the Field

Chris Matthews is pissing on Iraq —again— with the imbittered Wesley Clark offering negative spin thinly disguised as "expert" opinion. Apparently neither read today's WSJ piece by Arthur Chrenkoff.

As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby writes, "The press tends to emphasize what's going wrong in Iraq because of an inbuilt bias for the negative--only the plane that crashes, not the 999 that land safely, [makes] news. The result is that while the bad news in Iraq gets reported everywhere, the reports of good news you have to look for." For the sake of fairness, one might add that in Iraq it's perhaps 10 or 20 planes that crash, yet even with that caveat the mainstream media coverage often give one the impression that the whole Iraqi air fleet has gone down in flames.

The past two weeks have not been an exception, with the news from Iraq dominated by more hostage crises, the oil shock, continuing terrorist campaign and a sequel to the Shia uprising. Good news, once again, was few and far between. Yet progress continues to be made on the ground in Iraq, even during the most dangerous of times and often against the odds that we--so insulated by the safety, comfort and predictability of life in the West--can hardly even begin to comprehend.

The challenges still ahead in Iraq are considerable, but the media, in their manic rush from one disaster to the next and from one "quagmire" to another, rarely provide the context that would help us understand the situation. Having followed the mainstream media coverage, one can be forgiven for thinking that our task in Iraq is merely to return the country to its prewar status quo. More often than not lost in reporting is the realization that Iraq has to recover from the violence and destruction not just of the past year and a half, but of the past 30 years.

One would think card carrying Liberals such as Matthews, would applaud stories such as this:

• Society. Elections are scheduled for January 2005. The national conference to select an interim national assembly is set to be taking place as you're reading these words. In the meantime, the new generation of leaders is getting a crash course in democratic governance. A group of 14 Iraqi women is visiting the United States to get acquainted with the American political process and learn lessons which might be put to a good use at the next year's poll. The group, which already visited Washington and the Democratic National Convention in Boston, includes among others Taghreed Al-Qaraghuli, "a Baghdad resident who says she was denied the chance to pursue her education when she refused to join Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Al-Qaraghuli is an active member of the Iraqi Independent Women's Group, a political party formed last year to advocate for equal rights."

In all, some 50 nongovernment women's organizations have sprung up in Iraq recently; many women are getting involving in politics and civic life. "We succeeded in getting a target of 25% of women to be included in decision-making positions [in the new Iraqi government]. Now we have to train enough women to take on those jobs," says Tamara Sarafa Quinn, a Chattanooga, Tenn., resident, who helped organize the delegation.

Chrenkoff's roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq gives lie to the media's failure meme. There are too many examples to pull quote, but this story is even sweeter as it involves a Coalition member reknown for their passion for footy and sports.

The Royal Australian Air Force has flown the Iraqi Olympic team out of Baghdad at the start of its journey to Athens.

"It's very appropriate that a country like Australia, which has helped to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein, should play a role in getting their Olympic team to the Olympic Games," he said.

"I think there's a nice symbolism about that."


Read the whole article, follow the links and ask yourself why Matthews and his ilk have only bad news to offer.

Posted by feste at August 16, 2004 05:03 PM | TrackBack
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