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October 13, 2005

We Are Winning, Liberal Media Notwithstanding

I've long since become accustomed to the fact that the Mainstream Media grinds its liberal political axe without a shred of reportorial ethics, conscience nor any ambition to provide the public with any kind of factual, unbiased reporting. Anything, no matter how trivial, that may cast any kind of positive light on anything Bush, for example, seems to be a non-event, never happened, while anything, again no matter how trivial, that may cast any kind of negative light on anything Bush becomes an epic parade of headlines and feature stories, half the time delivered with such rabid enthusiasm that the so-called journalists and the columnists who feed off them don't even bother taking the time to confirm their information.

We've all seen that, and seen some of the leftist reporters responsible who've been caught out lose their positions, thrown to the wolves by the same editors and upper management people that encouraged their irresponsible "reporting" to begin with, in order to save their own skins. We've seen the media respond to a still unfounded charge that American soldiers flushed a Koran down a commode at Camp Delta with a major onslaught that brought references to the Soviet gulags, to Nazi concentration camps and even the killing fields of the Pol Pot regime, and the media jumped on all of it with relish, like a bunch of slobbering, undisciplined pre-adolescents..

Leftist twits like the NYT's Maureen Dowd bent over backwards to make the American public believe that the Bush Administration and our soldiers were no better than Saddam, who tortured, terrorized, oppressed and murdered his own citizens as a matter of policy.

Despite all the evidence that glares blatantly from MSM newspapers and evening reports, editorials and Op Ed columns, liberals will actually look you in the eye and claim there is no media bias or actually go so far as to say, still looking you in the eye, by gum, that the MSM is right wing biased.

So-called "news" from the N.Y. Times, S.F. Chronicle, Washington Post, L.A. Times, etc, CBS,NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR and other liberal sources would have us believe we are being trounced in Iraq, for example, that everything happening over there is negative, that the Iraqi people feel we've occupied their country for colonial purposes, we're there for the oil and so on, and so on. Whenever an American soldier dies in combat or from a terrorist car bomb, RPG-7 grenade or IED, he or she is added to a death count intended to show America that we are in some kind of quagmire, "another Vietnam."

In truth, we are beating the hell out of the insurgents over there, driving down their numbers faster than they can replace those that Coalition and Iraqi forces capture or kill. We have helped open schools so that now thousands of Iraqi children are being educated where many could not enjoy educations before. There is a successful Iraqi stock exchange in Baghdad, newspapers are flourishing as the Iraqi people embrace their newfound right to freedom of speech. We have been training Iraqi police and military forces with a great degree of success, and these forces are working as counterparts with our own. As they become seasoned, adequately staffed and prepared to do their jobs independently, we will begin withdrawing our own forces and allowing them to take over.

In today's Opinion Journal's Review & Outlook, some good observations are made regarding a letter sent from bin Laden's XO, Ayman al-Zawahiri to al-Qaeda's Iraq commander, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that was obtained this past Summer and whose contents were just released.

The letter in its entirety is here.

This link is included within this column, titled Zawahiri's Lament.

Those who want a premature U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will now have to explain why that won't play into the hands--and plans--of the enemy. Zawahiri makes it quite clear that al Qaeda's ambitions extend well beyond the borders of any one country. The goal is a fundamentalist Islamic regime that begins in Iraq, extends into the neighboring secular nations of the region, assaults Israel and moves on from there. And yes, he uses the word "caliphate."

The tone of the letter makes it quite obvious that Zawahiri is not a happy camper, that he's watching the extremist tactics employed by his people in Iraq work against them, both in the media battle that seems to have become as big a part of both sides' campaigns as the fighting itself, and in the more localized effects of the wanton bombings, the beheadings and other terrorist strategies being employed by the Islamofascist butchers in Iraq.

As for the Sunnis, he urges Zarqawi to cast a wider net--an implicit admission that he's worried about Sunnis who have been showing signs of interest in the democratic political process unfolding there. Afghanistan--and the Islamic democracy emerging in that nation--is his worst nightmare. "We don't want to repeat the mistake of the Taliban, who restricted participation in governance to the students and the people of Kandahar alone," he says. "The result was that the Afghan people disengaged themselves from them. Even devout ones took the stance of the spectator and when the invasion came, the emirate collapsed in days, because the people were either passive or hostile."

Later in the editorial,,

Amid these lamentations, however, one area emerges about which the terror commander exudes great confidence: the media. The lesson he learned from Vietnam is that "more than half of the battle is taking place on the battlefield of the media." He clearly wants to use the media, in the U.S. and in the Arab world, to induce the U.S. to pull out of Iraq and default a position of strength to al Qaeda.
He actually worries about the possibility that Zarqawi will blow victory on the media battlefield: Toward this end, he gently urges Zarqawi to discontinue his habit of beheading hostages, suggesting that perhaps instead he could just shoot them. "We are in a media race for . . . hearts and minds," he writes.

It would seem the lesson of Vietnam is featured prominently in the terrorist handbooks: The Americans' greatest weakness is their liberal media. Beat them in the MSM, you beat them at war, no matter what the physical realities are.

The long Zawahiri letter is a rough roadmap of the strategic vision for al Qaeda's intentions in Iraq and the global jihad. If it has a familiar ring, that's because George Bush has been warning the world about it for several years.

Some excellent commentary on the letter can be found at Sister Toldjah!, and Howie at The Jawa Report offers another perspective -- be sure to follow the link in his post.

But to cut to the chase, we are winning in Iraq and in the Global War on Terror in general, not only in terms of killing the enemy but also in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the people in the regions in which we operate. It's just too bad that the MSM, for partisan political reasons, continues to lie to the public in their shameful crusade to discredit President Bush.

The remarkable Michael Yon, a civilian journalist who had been blogging from within the ranks of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment{the Deuce Four} in Iraq via his newsmagazine until its tour recently ended, is now heading into a new embed. Read his latest post here.
A single column by Michael Yon is more informative where the war in Iraq is concerned than six months' worth of the New York Times and CNN combined.

Posted by Seth at October 13, 2005 05:22 PM


Thanks for the trackback a fatwa has been issued aginst yer infidel behind.

Posted by: Howie at October 13, 2005 07:17 PM


If the jihadis knew what goes through my mind as regards them and their pestilent existences, there'd already be several volumes of fatwas with my name on them.

Posted by: Seth at October 13, 2005 08:01 PM

Regarding the media, I wonder if you remember how the media treated the last president (what political party did he represent)? Have you ever read that popular magazine that every young woman seems to have a copy of, called “Us Weekly”, which should probably be called "Scandals, Cheating, and Splitsville Weekly." Have you ever slowed down to look at the big accident on the side of the freeway? Did you know they used to put human heads on posts on the London Bridge?

I think you can see my point - are you not human like the rest of us? Maybe humans are naturally inclined to pay attention to these events you perceive as negative because we pay attention to threats, and to that end the media is just trying to sell the most advertising that it can (including the conservative media). Maybe you subscribe to some doctrine that theorizes everybody should think and act just like you, but to that I question: what then makes you any different than the terrorists of Al-Qaeda? And I wonder if YOU have ever stopped to think about who you really are, and if not, whether your opinions are worth anything?

Posted by: Pat at October 13, 2005 08:46 PM

Pat --

Your first paragraph is a tad confusing, but to answer the intelligible fragments of your second,

A) The MSM had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the Lewinsky debacle{remember, when the then POTUS lied to Congress}, only reporting facts unfavorable to Clinton when they had been brought to light by other sources and would inevitably become known.

During that same administration, the President coasted along his merry way, enduring considerably less negative media rhetoric while he apparently ignored both the ongoing threat of terrorism, attacks by terror groups on U.S. embassies and the U.S.S. Cole, not to mention prior attacks, and the concept of homeland security. Where was the MSM then?

B) Gossip magazines, to any intelligent adult, are not serious sources of world news.

C) I agree, the news media makes its money by selling ad space, but they are also bound{or at least used to be bound} by a code of ethics based upon keeping their readers or viewers abreast of current events through impartial and accurate reporting.

Impartial and accurate have not been watchwords of the liberal Mainstream Media for a long time. All we receive from that quarter these days is cheap, irresponsible partisan politics.

My opinion has nothing to do with criticizing people "who don't think like me," it is simply that people who accept the responsibility for reporting need to do just that: REPORT, not spin, twist, omit nor ignore details of events in order to meet a political agenda or attack the President.

To take things a step further, while the liberal media is perfectly willing to attack Bush on every policy and issue they can, they never, like the braying politicians on the left, seem to come up with any alternative ideas of their own.

As for the last couple of sentences in your comment, like the entire first paragraph, I'm wondering if perhaps you were just kinda' shuffling your thoughts around between a number of different topics and putting the results together above.

Posted by: Seth at October 13, 2005 09:21 PM

Well, yes, I was kind of engaging in abstract thought.

I was trying to say that humans in general seem to be drawn to negative media, not just liberals or just conservatives or just independents. For example, FOX News, a MSM outlet that might be accepted by the people who visit this blog, will sometimes say "there isn't enough good news coming out of Iraq", and then immediately move on to the next story, which is about some disaster, or scandal, or the latest bombing.

Regarding "think like me," or "spin, twist, omit nor ignore details," or "impartial and accurate": I was attempting to make the point (apparently in a very poor fashion) that the ideas portrayed in this article all assume that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Is there?

Media isn't going to be that interesting if opinions aren't made. In fact, one might argue that it is absolutely impossible to "report" something without "spinning" it. Let me spin that concept another way: given the constraints of time or popular interest, how does one submit a report without omitting or ignoring certain details? Ultimately, who defines what is impartial? For the MSM, "impartial" is defined by what their audience thinks is impartial, because there is no absolute concept of what “impartial” is, nor is there the ability of humans to act in the “impartial” way which the assumptions of this article believe in. If one thinks the MSM is some huge propaganda machine that is able to totally dictate the opinions of the American people, then why would that person be so proud to be part of such a manipulable society? On the other hand, isn’t the MSM just trying to give the people of the demographic that they are targeting the best product, such that they can bring in more revenues through advertising?

All media contains "spin" because its impossible not to have it. The MSM has to try to appeal to a large fractured audience, and the result can be less than desirable, if you so choose to perceive it that way. Fortunately, we have the internet to find whatever news we want - the perception you take is up to you. But don’t forget that its just your perception, and it may or may not align with the perception of others around you, because that is how the brains of humans work. Maybe humans deserve more credit for being as incredibly complex as we are, and as a result, the fact that conflict of opinion exists can be better appreciated.

Posted by: Pat at October 14, 2005 11:28 AM

Every newspaper's obviously going to have some bias, of course, but "reporting" means exactly what it says: reporting. Giving all the facts. The news media is supposed to report, then let their audience decide what's right and what's wrong.

What is in place now goes beyond spinning. It includes leaving out not minor occurrences, but major ones and that means they are giving a false picture of the world to people who are supposed to be able to trust them for news.

Reporters are allowed access to places and events their readers are not. That alone reinforces their obligation to be entirely forthcoming with all the elements of a story.

The MSM has also proven a penchant for jumping the gun -- the minute they hear something that might somehow be used to score, say, anti-Bush points, they publish without even investigating first, which has gotten a few of their people in trouble, unfortunately without any lessons learned.

That kind of "reporting" belongs in the tabloids, not in media venues people actually trust for information. It would be like the Wall Street Journal publishing, say, false settlement prices on their commodities page.

Posted by: Seth at October 14, 2005 04:50 PM

I'm sure we both knew going into this that we would end up agreeing to disagree, which is where we will have to end up here. But for my last (probably useless) attempt at making my point, I'd like to quote a few things you just said:

"reporting" means exactly what it says: reporting. Giving all the facts There is a reason that one of the definitions of reporting is: To write or provide an account or summation of for publication or broadcast. It is virtually impossible to not reach conclusions based on certain perceptions. Even if it were possible, the material would be completely boring and uninteresting. For example, the Hurricane Katrina coverage would have amounted to: "There was a hurricane that went through New Orleans and people are waiting for relief," instead of: "A devastating hurricane ripped through New Orleans, leaving thousands desperate for aid." You and I, both being American and not having seen such horrible things happen on our soil before, can probably agree wholeheartedly with the second statement. Other folks might agree or disagree, depending on their perception. For example, one who just experienced the Tsunami in Thailand last year might think Americans were completely over-reacting to Katrina. Would the second statement violate your definition of reporting because it contains the words "devastating," "ripped," and "desperate," which can't be defined as facts? The news media is supposed to report, then let their audience decide what's right and what's wrong Would you then suggest that all news media outlets eliminate op-eds, roundtable discussion, debates, and also stop interviewing anybody who might have an opinion (and by "opinion," I mean that other conveyed information outside of what you defined as "reporting"? The MSM has also proven a penchant for jumping the gun While thinking of my rebuttal to this, I can't help but think about movies I've seen about days past with a boy standing on the corner yelling "Extra, Extra, read all about it!" or "Hot off the presses." It would seem to me that being the first one to a story might be driven by the business, and I'm guessing its been like that for a very, very long time. So, "What is in place now" has been in place since before our country was even an idea in somebody's head Bush, for example, the minute they hear something that might somehow be used to score, say, anti-Bush points, . . Your examples are pretty consistently about Bush and I therefore wonder if they would hold up in a different context. If you and I were talking about the best apples to use when making a fritter, would you be so eager to reach a definitive conclusion? It’s hard for me to believe you are interested in an honest debate about media when my perception is that you are really just trying to defend your guy. But hey, its a free internet, a free country, and its your darn blog, so who the heck am I to tell you not to do that? It would be like the Wall Street Journal publishing, say, false settlement prices on their commodities page Unfortunately, this isn't a very good example, but it does force me to expand my argument. Numbers are the most factual representations I can think of. I definitely have five fingers on my hand. So misreporting "settlement prices on their commodities page" is factually wrong, because the decimal system leaves little room for error (well, this actually could open up an entirely new debate beyond me, but I’ve heard it once). A report is rarely factually wrong from the MSM, but you might frequently disagree with the opinion they present. So, while I can say I see the analogy you wanted to make, its very inaccurate. to people who are supposed to be able to trust them for news . . . in media venues people actually trust for informationWell, people can certainly trust the media for news because its going to keep on coming for eternity. What's more important is that they are able to trust themselves to determine what is fact, and what is opinion, and to realize that the “news” is and always will be laced with both. Dealing with this is how life is lived anyways. One of the only ways that folks learn they made a mistake in trusting certain information, is because society eventual comes to a conclusion about which spin was "the right one." Of course, if we didn't have the different spins in the first place, we would never have the opportunity to learn.

Posted by: Pat at October 14, 2005 10:59 PM

Please forgive my format - it didn't accept my and tags.

Posted by: Pat at October 14, 2005 11:00 PM

No, it's mor like 3 things might come to the same media co's attention, all confirmed.

A. A bunch of schools open and thousands of Iraqi children have their first opportunity to be educated.

B. Hundreds of newspapers go into business in Iraq, celebrating the freedom of speech we've brought them.

C. An Iraqi man says he wishes the Americans would go home, while behind him, a hundred Iraqis are shouting thanks to us for their liberation.

The MSM will not report the good news about A & B, and as regards C, they'll only report the one Iraqi's discontent, not the other 100's.

This has nothing to do with the use of adjectives or with anybody learning anything, it has to do with a media misleading the people.

This is SOP for the MSM.

Posted by: Seth at October 15, 2005 02:35 AM


In order to allow the people to form opinions, you have to give them all the facts, not just those that make your own point.

It has nothing to do with agreeing-- when I read that three simultaneous things occurred someplace, then see that the MSM folks only reported one of them that just happens to cast a negative light on the GOP, for example, leaving out the other two events, which might have told the true story and been positive for the GOP, I don't see them providing "all the facts". They are purposefully not letting the people have enough information to form an accurate opinion.

As for columnists, they are not news reporters, but their readers tend to believe them when they state what purport to be facts.

Her we go.. a couple of years back, in the course of a State-Of-The-Union address, Bush said that those al-Qaeda people who'd been killed in combat or captured will no longer be a threat.

Maureen Dowd, in her New York Times column, misquoted Bush as having said that "Al-Qaeda is no longer a threat." Within hours, a whole bunch of liberal news co's had picked up the misquote and reported it as truth.

How is that "for people to interpret the news themselves" when they are fed lies and the omission of key facts or words?

Pat, you make no sense.

Posted by: Seth at October 15, 2005 02:48 AM

You are right, I make no sense . . . to you.

Posted by: Pat at October 16, 2005 01:04 PM

Years from now, if America survives this onslaught of liberal mindset, it will be in the history books-all this media bias. There are always two sides to every story...but there should never be an agenda being pushed. The media has no idea how dangerous it is. The very ideals they seek will be destroyed by the very people they pay homage too...

Posted by: Raven at October 19, 2005 06:03 AM

It's incredible, isn't it?

The MSM, the ACLU, MoveOn.org and their followers keep on hammering away at the very system of government that allows them to do what they do while they fight for the right to be part of a country that doesn't.

Go figure...

Posted by: Seth at October 19, 2005 06:33 AM