Press criticism criticism

There have been a fair number of pixels devoted to the discussion over St. Paul Pioneer Press editorialist Mark Yost’s criticism of media coverage of the Iraq war. Yost wrote:

I know the reporting’s bad because I know people in Iraq. A Marine colonel buddy just finished a stint overseeing the power grid. When’s the last time you read a story about the progress being made on the power grid? Or the new desalination plant that just came on-line, or the school that just opened, or the Iraqi policeman who died doing something heroic? No, to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up.

I also get unfiltered news from Iraq through an e-mail network of military friends who aren’t so blinded by their own politics that they can’t see the real good we’re doing there. More important, they can see beyond their own navel and see the real good we’re doing to promote peace and prosperity in the world. What makes this all the more ironic is the fact that the people who are fighting and dying want to stay and the people who are merely observers want to cut and run….

Instead, we get Monday’s front-page story about a “secret” memo about “emerging U.S. plans” to withdraw troops next year. Why isn’t the focus of the story the fact that 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces are stable and the four that aren’t are primarily home to the genocidal gang of thugs who terrorized that country for 30 years?

And reporters wonder why they’re despised.

Fair criticism, I’d think.

But over in Romensko’s letters, Steve Lovelady seethes:

Amazing. Mark Yost, an [editorial page] editor at Knight Ridder, the ONE news outlet which has consistently exposed the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion and the grim reality of the current occupation, turns on his colleagues.

I can’t wait to see how the KR Washington bureau and the KR Iraq
contingent reponds to this one!

There he is, guys. Go get him. You owe your readers no less.

What is amazing about this is that Lovelady is the managing editor of the friggin’ Columbia Journalism Review Daily. You’d think that he would welcome intelligent, reasoned, two-sided discussion about media’s coverage of this controverial story. Instead, he acts like the fat kid on the playground egging on the bullies in a fight.

And we certainly know where the Columbia Journalism Review stands on war coverage, don’t we now?

But I’d like to see a real discussion on this. So I’ll egg on a fight, but one fought without eggs: I would love to see a debate between Yost and Lovelady. I just emailed them both:

Gentlemen:

How about engaging in a debate on Iraq war coverage in American media?

Steve Lovelady: I found your snipe at Romenesko to be, well, unsatisfying. It did not address the issues raised by Mark Yost.

Mark Yost: I would like to see you engage Steve and those who believe as he does.

So how about a debate, sirs? I suggest an email debate. I’ll be happy to post your responses on Buzzmachine.

First question, if you are willing:

Is American media coverage of the Iraq war balanced? Or do American media harbor an agenda in its coverage — and if so, what agenda? Do American news media succeed — or even try — to present the positive and the negative news coming out of Iraq? Is there an obligation to be balanced? Or do you believe that balance would present an inaccurate picture of the news there?

I’ll let you know when and if I get responses. Meanwhile, please give your own in the comments.

: LATER: Steve Lovelady emails:

Jeff –
I’ll have to decline, on several counts.
First, if I were going to debate Yost, I would want to do it at CJR
Daily, not at Buzzmachine, for obvious reasons.
Second, if you think my “snipe” at Romenesko did not address the
issues Mark raised — when in fact I spent my entire letter
pointing out that the very specific and detailed Iraq coverage of
his OWN newspaper chain puts the lie to his careless accusations –
then you most assuredly would find my stance in any further debate
“well, unsatisfying.”
Third, if what I currently read on Romenesko is any indication, poor
Yost already has enough fires to put out within the trade — and
most especially within his own shop. I think the kindest thing any
of us can do at the moment is to leave the hapless lad to stew in
his own juices.
He’s in it deep, and it’s going to take a while to wade out.

All best,
Steve

ps –Another option for you: Try David Cay Johnston, at the Times.
In a rather clinical but systematic manner, he pretty much
disemboweled Yost on Romenesko today after doing three minutes’
research on the Internet.

: Here’s another link to a Yost colleague going after him. The link to which Lovelady refers is here, a bit of the way down.

: And who says journalists are dispassionate? Everybody in this argument is seething and spitting and acting like they’re on the playground still. There is a legitimate debate to be had over coverage of the war in Iraq. I don’t see it yet.

: LATER STILL: Mr. Lovelady emails again and I quote in full:

Jeff –
There’s another reason not to engage in a debate with the most
unfortunate Mr. Yost:
The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Take a fresh look at Romenesko. This poor bastard has become the
pinata of the day.
Latest to weigh in:
* Charles Laszewski, a Pioneer-Press colleague of Yost;
* Clark Hoyt, KR Washington bureau chief (who addresses his remarks
not only to Yost but to the editors of all 33 KR papers, which
tells you something about Mr. Yost’s future);
* and Hannah Allam, KR’s eloquent Iraq bureau chief.
All of whom, as it happens, speak with lethal precision about the
matter at hand.
My guess is that by Monday Mr. Yost will be too busy standing in
line outside the St. Paul unemployment office to engage in
leisurely Internet debates.
Which, frankly, is as it should be. He’s a right-wing shill who
belittled and betrayed the hundreds of reporters who go into harm’s
way every day to tell us what the hell is really going on.
Steve
ps — Please consider this on the record too. In fact, if you’d
publish it, I’d be grateful

So anyone who questions the party line, the orthodoxy, the company way, the union line should be banished to unemployment? Whew.

Can American media’s coverage of Iraq be questioned and judged? I would have thought that the answer should be, “of course.” But the answer is, “of course not.”

What a fine lesson in journalism this is.

: AND HE KEEPS EMAILING: Another missive from Mr. Lovelady, quoted in full:

Jeff:
This one takes the cake.
What an intellectually dishonest schmuck you are.
I supply you with
* Charles Laszewski, a Pioneer-Press colleague of Yost, who is
embarrassed at even being in the same building with the guy and who
eloquently explains why;
* Clark Hoyt, KR Washington bureau chief, who has for two years led
KR’s groundbreaking coverage of the Iraq lie in Washington;
* Hannah Allam, KR’s brave and brilliant Baghdad bureau chief, who
daily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm
hiding under his bed.
* David Cay Johnston, your colleague at the New York Times, who
demolishes Yost after 3 minutes on the Internet collecting contrary
information.
And you accuse me of wanting to avoid discussion ?
These four are far more eloquent than I at exposing Mark Yost as the
fraud, safely ensconced (for the moment) in an air-conditioned
office in St. Paul, than I could ever be.
How much “intelligent, reasoned, two-side discussion” do you want?
I gave you enough to last a week, Bubba.
Shame on you.

I still see the kid on the playground, not the experienced, dispassionate journalist and academic open to criticism of journalism; he collects links of those who agree with him in trying to lambast this guy Yost. Keep the email coming, Steve.

I am asking whether there is room to question and criticize American media’s coverage of the war in Iraq. I believe there is. Lovelady et al appearently believe there is not. Whether or not Yost is the ideal critic, I don’t know. But an earnest discussion of the successes and failures and issues and shortcomings of coverage of the war should always be in order. And that’s why I find it doubly shocking that the managing editor of the Columbia Journalism School’s CJR Daily only seems interested in attacking this critic. Aren’t there legitimate issues here to discuss? I think there are.

Press criticism criticism

Press criticism criticism

: There have been a fair number of pixels devoted to the discussion over St. Paul Pioneer Press editorialist Mark Yost’s criticism of media coverage of the Iraq war. Yost wrote:

I know the reporting’s bad because I know people in Iraq. A Marine colonel buddy just finished a stint overseeing the power grid. When’s the last time you read a story about the progress being made on the power grid? Or the new desalination plant that just came on-line, or the school that just opened, or the Iraqi policeman who died doing something heroic? No, to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up.

I also get unfiltered news from Iraq through an e-mail network of military friends who aren’t so blinded by their own politics that they can’t see the real good we’re doing there. More important, they can see beyond their own navel and see the real good we’re doing to promote peace and prosperity in the world. What makes this all the more ironic is the fact that the people who are fighting and dying want to stay and the people who are merely observers want to cut and run….

Instead, we get Monday’s front-page story about a “secret” memo about “emerging U.S. plans” to withdraw troops next year. Why isn’t the focus of the story the fact that 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces are stable and the four that aren’t are primarily home to the genocidal gang of thugs who terrorized that country for 30 years?

And reporters wonder why they’re despised.

Fair criticism, I’d think.

But over in Romensko’s letters, Steve Lovelady seethes:

Amazing. Mark Yost, an [editorial page] editor at Knight Ridder, the ONE news outlet which has consistently exposed the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion and the grim reality of the current occupation, turns on his colleagues.

I can’t wait to see how the KR Washington bureau and the KR Iraq

contingent reponds to this one!

There he is, guys. Go get him. You owe your readers no less.

What is amazing about this is that Lovelady is the managing editor of the friggin’ Columbia Journalism Review Daily. You’d think that he would welcome intelligent, reasoned, two-sided discussion about media’s coverage of this controverial story. Instead, he acts like the fat kid on the playground egging on the bullies in a fight.

And we certainly know where the Columbia Journalism Review stands on war coverage, don’t we now?

But I’d like to see a real discussion on this. So I’ll egg on a fight, but one fought without eggs: I would love to see a debate between Yost and Lovelady. I just emailed them both:

Gentlemen:

How about engaging in a debate on Iraq war coverage in American media?

Steve Lovelady: I found your snipe at Romenesko to be, well, unsatisfying. It did not address the issues raised by Mark Yost.

Mark Yost: I would like to see you engage Steve and those who believe as he does.

So how about a debate, sirs? I suggest an email debate. I’ll be happy to post your responses on Buzzmachine.

First question, if you are willing:

Is American media coverage of the Iraq war balanced? Or do American media harbor an agenda in its coverage — and if so, what agenda? Do American news media succeed — or even try — to present the positive and the negative news coming out of Iraq? Is there an obligation to be balanced? Or do you believe that balance would present an inaccurate picture of the news there?

I’ll let you know when and if I get responses. Meanwhile, please give your own in the comments.

: LATER: Steve Lovelady emails:

Jeff –

I’ll have to decline, on several counts.

First, if I were going to debate Yost, I would want to do it at CJR

Daily, not at Buzzmachine, for obvious reasons.

Second, if you think my “snipe” at Romenesko did not address the

issues Mark raised — when in fact I spent my entire letter

pointing out that the very specific and detailed Iraq coverage of

his OWN newspaper chain puts the lie to his careless accusations –

then you most assuredly would find my stance in any further debate

“well, unsatisfying.”

Third, if what I currently read on Romenesko is any indication, poor

Yost already has enough fires to put out within the trade — and

most especially within his own shop. I think the kindest thing any

of us can do at the moment is to leave the hapless lad to stew in

his own juices.

He’s in it deep, and it’s going to take a while to wade out.

All best,

Steve

ps –Another option for you: Try David Cay Johnston, at the Times.

In a rather clinical but systematic manner, he pretty much

disemboweled Yost on Romenesko today after doing three minutes’

research on the Internet.

: Here’s another link to a Yost colleague going after him. The link to which Lovelady refers is here, a bit of the way down.

: And who says journalists are dispassionate? Everybody in this argument is seething and spitting and acting like they’re on the playground still. There is a legitimate debate to be had over coverage of the war in Iraq. I don’t see it yet.

: LATER STILL: Mr. Lovelady emails again and I quote in full:

Jeff –

There’s another reason not to engage in a debate with the most

unfortunate Mr. Yost:

The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Take a fresh look at Romenesko. This poor bastard has become the

pinata of the day.

Latest to weigh in:

* Charles Laszewski, a Pioneer-Press colleague of Yost;

* Clark Hoyt, KR Washington bureau chief (who addresses his remarks

not only to Yost but to the editors of all 33 KR papers, which

tells you something about Mr. Yost’s future);

* and Hannah Allam, KR’s eloquent Iraq bureau chief.

All of whom, as it happens, speak with lethal precision about the

matter at hand.

My guess is that by Monday Mr. Yost will be too busy standing in

line outside the St. Paul unemployment office to engage in

leisurely Internet debates.

Which, frankly, is as it should be. He’s a right-wing shill who

belittled and betrayed the hundreds of reporters who go into harm’s

way every day to tell us what the hell is really going on.

Steve

ps — Please consider this on the record too. In fact, if you’d

publish it, I’d be grateful

So anyone who questions the party line, the orthodoxy, the company way, the union line should be banished to unemployment? Whew.

Can American media’s coverage of Iraq be questioned and judged? I would have thought that the answer should be, “of course.” But the answer is, “of course not.”

What a fine lesson in journalism this is.

: AND HE KEEPS EMAILING: Another missive from Mr. Lovelady, quoted in full:

Jeff:

This one takes the cake.

What an intellectually dishonest schmuck you are.

I supply you with

* Charles Laszewski, a Pioneer-Press colleague of Yost, who is

embarrassed at even being in the same building with the guy and who

eloquently explains why;

* Clark Hoyt, KR Washington bureau chief, who has for two years led

KR’s groundbreaking coverage of the Iraq lie in Washington;

* Hannah Allam, KR’s brave and brilliant Baghdad bureau chief, who

daily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm

hiding under his bed.

* David Cay Johnston, your colleague at the New York Times, who

demolishes Yost after 3 minutes on the Internet collecting contrary

information.

And you accuse me of wanting to avoid discussion ?

These four are far more eloquent than I at exposing Mark Yost as the

fraud, safely ensconced (for the moment) in an air-conditioned

office in St. Paul, than I could ever be.

How much “intelligent, reasoned, two-side discussion” do you want?

I gave you enough to last a week, Bubba.

Shame on you.

I still see the kid on the playground, not the experienced, dispassionate journalist and academic open to criticism of journalism; he collects links of those who agree with him in trying to lambast this guy Yost. Keep the email coming, Steve.

I am asking whether there is room to question and criticize American media’s coverage of the war in Iraq. I believe there is. Lovelady et al appearently believe there is not. Whether or not Yost is the ideal critic, I don’t know. But an earnest discussion of the successes and failures and issues and shortcomings of coverage of the war should always be in order. And that’s why I find it doubly shocking that the managing editor of the Columbia Journalism School’s CJR Daily only seems interested in attacking this critic. Aren’t there legitimate issues here to discuss? I think there are.

  • scmommy

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com/publishing Noel Guinane

    Since Mr. Lovelady chose to invite others to do for him what he either couldn’t or wouldn’t exercise himself to do, it is unlikely what he contributes in a one to one debate will have much integrity or depth, assuming he has the balls to participate.

  • penny

    CJR’s mission is to promote better journalism. We do that by helping working journalists to figure out and execute their mission in a difficult and shifting environment. And as a media monitor, CJR is also a resource for all Americans who want the best possible version of their free press
    Lovelady is consistent with the mission statement on the CJR site? Perhaps, Mark Yost’s isn’t the “best possible version”(?) of the Iraq war.

  • penny

    Sorry, reverse the ? and .

  • EverKarl

    I don’t know who should feel more insulted: Steve or Ollie?

  • http://www.memritv.org Cog

    Why have the confessions of terrorists and insurgents aired on Iraqi media been all but non-existant in the American media? Do they not want to know who is paying for these attacks, how they were organized, and just who the “enemy” is of the Iraqi people and the coalition forces?
    I say enemy, because the other side is not a glorious and valiant resistance movement as portrayed by many members of the media. It is a patchwork of tribal feuds, criminal gangs, and yes, former Baathists and Qaeda terrorists.
    Al Jazeera relentless airs the “why we hate them” justification for the most brutual attacks against civilians. When in reality, the Arab and Western media policies of justifiying attacks, airing their hostage videos, and giving them more air time when they get a successful attack or assasination is even more harmful.
    JJ asks about whether positive news should get the same amount of coverage as negative news, and why that should be. I want to ask, why is every negative action in Iraq not investigated as fully as the Guantanemo and Abu Ghraib scandals? How hard can it be to dig into who is training, recruiting and financing terror attacks when they are more than willing to do interviews with Time, give first run videos to Al Jazeera, and coordinate attacks with the AFP and a bevy of Arab stringers?
    That is, unless you believe the “we thought there was going to be a demonstration not an attack” line already given over a dozen times.
    There is the question Steve Lovelady. Go find the answer. You owe your readers no less.

  • Joihn

    Going by the Editor & Publisher story in early June that Victor Navasky, publisher and former editor of The Nation was serving in a key, but until that point, uncredited role with the Columbia Journalism Review, the response by Lovelady to Yost’s column shouldn’t be all that surprising. But the fact he thinks all Knight Ridder employees should toe a single line on their political views on the Iraq war does seem to smack of a wish for corporate totalitarianism on his part — even the New York Times has David Brooks and John Tierney on their op-ed pages, despite the papers obviously hostile editorial views towards the current Iraq war policy.

  • james

    Why don’t you, Mr. Jarvis, go over to Iraq and report first hand?
    It’ll give your ‘blogs are important’ meme some real pull.
    And I am not being facetious.

  • Mike

    No james, you’re just being stupid.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com/publishing Noel Guinane

    What amuses me is that despite the U.S. media’s relentless assault on what their own country is trying to accomplish in Iraq, a majority of the American people continue to support what their government is doing there. I understand popular opinion is fickle and prone to sudden shifts, but it’s remained consistent in spite of the pervasive negative coverage your people have been exposed to. Americans did after all, re-elect Bush.
    Please tell me what this implies about the importance of the U.S. media because I would have thought their influence was substantial. And please, no party line gobbledegook. Am not a Democrat or a Republican. In fact, I’m not American.

  • http://www.beatcanvas.com Brett

    I don’t mind the negative reporting – facts are facts.
    What I do mind are the lapses of anything positive. But I’m not waiting for the media to catch up to that. It’s not in my control. In the meantime, I have Chrenkoff and assorted hands-on military personnel reporting to offset it.
    If “journalists” want reporting to be co-opted by others, fair enough – let the market decide. It won’t make me sad to reporters in the unemployment line. They made their own bed by trying to view the world through a keyhole.

  • Donna

    I’ve gotten to where I hate the news, and I’m a news junkie. Seems like there’s no news any more, only agendas.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    JJ: Sorry, but all this contention about ‘negative reporting’ seems artificial. today it is reported SC Chief Justice Rehnquist is in the hospital. the previous weeks it was not reported that he was not in the hospital. A water line break is reported. Water running quietly through the water line is not.
    Good news is not going to sell newspapers, and the readers accept that.

  • Ed Poinsett

    Ruth, there is plenty of legitimate bad news coming out of Iraq. But it won’t sell a newspaper or the evening news to me. I want to know the entire story, not just the half of it. I’m going to find out what’s going on if at all possible, and if the MSM won’t give it to me, it’s their loss. I no longer watch network news nor subscribe to any newspapers. I look forward to Pajamas Media!

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com/publishing Noel Guinane

    Never mind. Just read Mr. Lovelady’s decline. Here’s something one of your Presidents said about your media:
    “If American renewal is to become a reality, the media will have to resolve to help the process along rather than to analyze and critique it so relentlessly that it dies aborning. Journalists will have to learn to look in the mirror and not be afraid their National Press Club cards will be revoked if they say:
    “I want America to be strong and free and fair and civil and to continue to grow and prosper.”"

  • Franky

    Isn’t the general pattern that the vast majority of people over in Iraq tell how terrible it is, but the massive majority of people who criticise coverage have never been there, instead relying on second-hand accounts? And how much good news is there to report when even Rumsfeld says the insurgency could last another 12 years?

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com/publishing Noel Guinane

    Franky, my wife grew up there. My sister-in-law works there. Both are American. I have Middle Eastern friends. The “vast majority” of Iraqis I’m reliably informed are grateful Hussein is gone and optimistic about their country’s future, despite the terrorists streaming into their country and blowing themselves up. This positive outlook from people on the ground is not reflected in the US media.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    This is exactly why we need to start coming together instead of ripping each other apart and shouting “TRAITOR!!!” at the first signs of reflection.
    It’s no surprise that the whole “you’re either with us or against us” seems to have influenced both sides. Polarization is a vicious mother, and it’s children are fear and hate. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either or, it’s not a good metaphor. ;-)
    Here’s the deal. The reason we’re not hearing “good news” like power grids going up is this would barely make local news here. That’s part of daily life. We’re hearing about the “bad news” because that’s part of the War on Terrorism, which is why we went over to Iraq in the first place. However, I think we have heard “good news”. The elections in Iraq was terrific news. The drafting a constitution was amazing too. A school being built or a new oil field being plummed so Iraqis can finance their own reconstruction aren’t particularly newsworthy events because they don’t have a “strong” tie to spreading democracy. The other governmental stories, which we’ve all seen, do.
    And furthermore, for one journalist to cry foul because another wants to hear more of the “good” news is pretty sad and shows just how divisive this war is. I also think it’s up to the leadership in this country to try to unite us behind a common goal, but that hasn’t proven to be very easy unfortunately. Tact would have helped. We didn’t get much of that, so now…anger.
    So then, let’s all just take a deep breath, and try to find some common ground that good news in Iraq means good news for our soldiers, which means they’ll get to come home sooner rather than later.
    And I think we can all agree, that would be the most welcome news of all.
    best,
    Justin Gardner

  • http://www.oliverwillis.com Oliver

    Jeff: “There is a legitimate debate to be had over coverage of the war in Iraq. I don’t see it yet.”
    Perhaps because folks like you and your cohorts have a tendency to roast anyone that doesn’t parrot the Bush administration’s “last throes” language?

  • Mike G

    So what Steve Lovelady is basically saying is:
    Fortunately, the partisans at Knight Ridder have turned on Yost for failing the parrot the approved line, so I can turn and run on this, confident that he’ll be too busy saving his job from the consequences of him having his own opinion.

  • http://tomwatson.typepad.com Tom Watson

    Jeff, I know it’s not Bush (yes or no) with you, it’s your unfortunate and semi-Stalinist “don’t trust organized journalism anymore, starting now, because I say so” manifesto at work here.
    There has been some incredible journalistic coverage of the war. Ellen Knickmeyer’s brilliant work at the Washington Post leaps to mind. There simply is no debate about that.
    You set up a false straw-man argument on the “is the press biased about Iraq” question. Every human being is biased. It’s dishonest, man. Come back to us.

  • Zach majors

    Whatever your opinion, I think it’s safe to say that Mark Yost is currently being OWNED. He’s a loudmouth who hasn’t stepped foot in Iraq, so of course he’s unequipped to make any kind of compelling debate:
    from Romenesko: http://poynter.org/forum/?id=32365
    KR’s Baghdad Chief:
    I invite Mr. Yost to spend a week in our Baghdad bureau, where he can see our Iraqi staff members’ toothbrushes lined up in the bathroom because they have no running water at home. I frequently find them camping out in the office overnight because electricity is still only sporadic in their sweltering neighborhoods, despite what I’m sure are the best-intentioned efforts of people like his Marine buddy working on the electrical grid.
    Mr. Yost could have come with me today as I visited one of my own military buddies, who like most officers doesn’t leave the protected Green Zone compound except by helicopter or massive convoy. The Army official picked me up in his air-conditioned Explorer, took me to Burger King for lunch and showed me photos of the family he misses so terribly. The official is a great guy, and like so many other soldiers, it’s not politics that blind him from seeing the real Iraq. The compound’s maze of tall blast wall and miles of concertina wire obscure the view, too.
    Mr. Yost can listen to our bureau’s morning planning meetings, where we orchestrate a trip to buy bottled water (the tap water is contaminated, when it works) as if we’re plotting a military operation. I wonder whether he prefers riding in the first car — the most exposed to shrapnel and bullets — or the chase car, which is designed to act as a buffer between us and potential kidnappers.
    Perhaps Mr. Yost would be moved by our office’s tribute wall to Yasser Salihee, our brave and wonderful colleague, who at age 30 joined the ranks of Iraqi civilians shot to death by American soldiers. Mr. Yost would have appreciated one of Yasser’s last stories — a rare good-news piece about humanitarian aid reaching the holy city of Najaf.
    Mr. Yost’s contention that 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces are stable is pure fantasy. On his visit to Baghdhad, he can check that by chatting with our resident British security consultant, who every day receives a province-by-province breakdown of the roadside bombs, ambushes, assassinations and other violence throughout the country.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Noel: I think the consistency in US opinion is a reflection of our ability to now get the larger story unfiltered. The fact that more and more people can sidestep the Media Clergy, go online, and read diverse opinions makes a big difference. Even liberal orthodoxy isn’t secured by liberal media, anymore, as liberal hardliners like Oliver Willis have to often chase after independents like JJ in a vain effort to shame him into getting back in line.
    The media’s efforts to overcome free opinion has become so blatant that people I know who do not even follow the news in detail roll their eyes when they hear snatches of “mainstream” spin. It has become that obvious.
    And I don’t think it’s a big surprise that reasonable people are going to gravitate towards more reasonable accounts and reasonable opinion. I *will* have to be partisan in this: the left’s dominance in opinion media has been severely damaged by the expansion of opinion access, because opinion that is built on a weak foundation crumbles when even slightly buffeted by facts and reasonable analysis.
    The left doesn’t get this. This story is a perfect example: there is a complaint that the coverage isn’t balanced, that it is ommitting positive news. The responses from the left all miss the point: there is too bad news (nobody said there wasn’t); the press’ job isn’t to print “good news” (cynical confusion); you’re a partisan hack (ignores the argument altogether). Then, failing to persuade: repeat, extrapolate, hyperbolize, etc.
    When a reasonable person — who isn’t a partisan — sees those arguments in tandem, it is clear which ones are the most sensible. We of *course* know that things aren’t easy in Iraq. Repeating the bad news over and over doesn’t change the fact that the story presented by liberal media is glaringly incomplete.

  • james

    “No james, you’re just being stupid.”
    Really?
    I would like a blogger who consistently complains about the press, actually go out and do some real reporting for a change.
    And what does it say that someone like Jarvis can’t or won’t go to Iraq to report?
    I would love to read his first hand impressions of whats going on over there.

  • Franky

    Noel,
    I’m glad your friends back there are optimistic and I wish them well. However the death toll alone of the current conflict in Iraq gives me an indication of what the problems in that country are. And can we drop this “14 of 18 Iraqi provinces are stable” considering we know that a massive percentage of the iraqi population lives in those 4 provinces, and some of those 14 are nothing more than desert.
    Jeff wants to push good news as do others who supported this war because they want to be proved right about their support for the war. Of course, when the minor aberration of good news evaporates and we’re back to suicide bombers murdering 23 children then of course those of us who foresaw such bad news are accused of desiring bad news because we want to fail bush/iraq/christianity/judaism/insert word of your choice.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Olllie, Ollie, Ollie…
    Do you ever get tired of being so obvious?
    I guess not…

  • EverKarl

    What people like james refuse to acknowledge — and I would include the KR Baghdad bureau chief in this as well — is that there are already many people blogging and e-mailing from Iraq, just as Yost wrote. And their reports stand in stark contrast to the tone you get from KR and other outlets. As Yost notes, it’s not all cheerleading (as Ollie falsely suggests), nor is it the doom and gloom of the major media. If Yost’s critics would put a check on their bias long enough to visit the numerous milblogs online, they would quickly discover that the soldiers’ accounts of events often differ greatly from the major media account of the same event.
    To be fair, I will concede at the outset that folks involved in the mission in Iraq will have their own biases that they bring to their blogs, e-mails, etc. Yost’s critics, however, seem oblivious to the possibility that the boots on the ground might have more expertise in evaluating their circumstances. Indeed, recent polling showing that people rate the military as much more trustworthy than the media should be a wake-up call to Yost’s critics (as should declining newspaper circulation).
    Franky asks: “Isn’t the general pattern that the vast majority of people over in Iraq tell how terrible it is, but the massive majority of people who criticise coverage have never been there, instead relying on second-hand accounts?”
    Given public opinion polling showing two-thirds of Iraqis think Iraq is moving in the right dorection, I would say the answer to that question is, “No,” though the fact that Franky seems to assume the answer is “Yes” tends to prove Yost’s point about the negative skew of the coverage. Ruth attempts to address that issue by noting that the press doesn’t report on planes that land safely. I would say that if Iraq is as bad off as the major media reports it to be, planes landing safely would qualify as news.

  • http://www.keshertalk.com/ Yehudit

    Yup, KR’s Baghdad chief is very eloquent about what things are like for his particular neighborhood of Baghdad. Has he read Michael Yon or Steve Vincent, who are travelling all over the country? Or the Iraqi bloggers who actually live there?
    “The elections in Iraq was terrific news. The drafting a constitution was amazing too. A school being built or a new oil field being plummed so Iraqis can finance their own reconstruction aren’t particularly newsworthy events because they don’t have a “strong” tie to spreading democracy. The other governmental stories, which we’ve all seen, do.”
    This is ridiculous. Of course the material improvement in Iraq and the ability of Iraqis to finance their own affairs has a strong tie to spreading democracy. If all we hear is when the jihadis destroy things, instead of also hearing how things are being built up, we get a false picture of the Iraqi competence and will to succeed, and a false picture of the strength of the jihadis. From there it is easy to assume that spreading democracy isn’t working.

  • John

    If you’re writing or editing for an advocacy newspaper or magazine, such as the Village Voice, The Nation or even publications on the right like National Review or the American Spectator, then toeing the company’s editorial line is understandable. Those publication have a point of view, and while there are variations within, people don’t come to those places or their websites to hear contrarian points of view.
    However, the point of view Lovelady laid out in his intial post on Romenesko’s site and in his follow-up e-mails to Jeff is distrubing, especially for someone working for a media critique magazine like the Columbia Journalism Review. The idea that Knight Ridder — which is primarily in the business of publishing newspapers for a mainstream audience in a country split evenly between Democrats and Republicans — should broker no contrarian thoughts within its chain of newspapers is disturbing enough of a “thought police” image, but the idea that Yost should be thrown out on the street based on the lack of support in Romanesko’s letters column comes across as some type of bizarre McCarthyism of the left. It’s as if Lovelady wants Yost dragged in front of some journalistic inquisition and grilled on the question of “Are you or have you ever been a Republican?” before being blacklisted out of the industry.
    If CJR and Lovelady want to conduct media criticism and review from a left-liberal perspective, it’s perfectly within their right to do so. But screeds like his against someone who questions overall media coverage on the Iraq war sets both Lovelady and his magazine up for scrutiny of their own due to their overt political biases. They can continue to portray themselves as a non-partisan press critique site, but stuff like this comes from the Brent Bozell/David Brock school of journalism review.

  • Franky

    “And reporters wonder why they’re despised.”
    “So anyone who questions the party line, the orthodoxy, the company way, the union line should be banished to unemployment? Whew.”
    No, it’s sitting on your ass far away and running your mouth off about people who possess a thousand times more courage than you’ve shown – and then you have the balls to ascribe bad motivations to these people.
    You’re so pissed off by the coverage go do something about it – go over to Iraq and prove them wrong.
    You calling yourself a journalist is like when you call yourself a liberal – you’re one of those who thinks its your job to criticise the rest of us but coincidentaly every single one of your criticisms comes straight from the latest gop talking points. The least you could do for a profession you claim to be a part of is not to jump to the absolute worst conclusions about your colleagues.

  • Jim S

    My problem with Yost’s claim based on his good friend is that even recently I’ve read that the biggest gripe on the part of Iraqis who DO like us is how little of their infrastructure has been restored after this length of time. So if his example is that questionable what about the overall conclusion drawn?

  • W. James Au

    Note Knight Ridder Baghdad bureau chief Hannah Allam’s key justification for their overwhelmingly negative coverage:
    “Mr. Yost can listen to our bureau’s morning planning meetings, where we orchestrate a trip to buy bottled water (the tap water is contaminated, when it works) as if we’re plotting a military operation. I wonder whether he prefers riding in the first car — the most exposed to shrapnel and bullets — or the chase car, which is designed to act as a buffer between us and potential kidnappers.”
    In other words, since *we* feel in danger when we go outside to get water, our pessimistic coverage *must* be accurate! This ignores the fact that foreign journalists (and foreign aid workers and contractors) are the *primary* targets of kidnappers. You’d think it’s obvious how grossly flawed her assumption is, using the experiences of a few thousand non-native people to draw any larger conclusions on the state of a country of some 25 million. But most of her other examples run pretty much in that vein: their Baghdad translators and assistants don’t have running water. One of them was reportedly killed by US fire. And so on. Harsh stuff, to be sure. But does Allam really think her anecdotal examples of personal hardship should become the model for media coverage on Iraq? Apparently so.
    Obviously bad news out of Iraq is an important *part* of the coverage, and the few hard facts Allam offers in her reply certainly justify them. But nothing she says does anything to explain a very odd thing: for some reason, polls of Iraqis consistently show that the majority of them are optimistic about the future. That was true in April 2003, and is truer now. If bad news really is the only reality on the ground, why do those stubborn Iraqis insist on getting more and more hopeful?
    Allam doesn’t have the foggiest idea, that’s clear. Too bad she puts as much effort into defending her right to remain ignorant as she does organizing the convoy to buy her water.

  • http://rpv.blogspot.com Ripclawe

    Why is anyone surprised by Lovelady and the rest of the knuckle draggers at Romenesko?
    Romenesko and Editor and Publisher niche is to protect and defend reporters as being objective Gods of truth who should be worshipped no matter what.
    If you ever question them and worse you are in the industry, the lynch mob will get ya.
    Look at Lovelady reaction to the Eason Jordan fiasco from the BBC.
    “Steve Lovelady, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review wrote: “The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail.”
    “This convinces me more than ever that Eason Jordan is guilty of one thing, and one thing only – caring for the reporters he sent into battle, and haunted by the fact that not all of them came back,” he added.”
    The attitude is not a surprise.

  • Krusty Krab

    Yost: And reporters wonder why [reporters are] despised.
    Steve Lovelady: give far more and better reasons why reporters are despised.
    Big hat tip to Steve Lovelady: He could not have more elegantly or persuasively made the case for just how churlish and juvenile American journalism has become had that actually been the purpose of his comments.
    What a bunch of wankers.

  • http://www.rightwingsparkle.blogspot.com Rightwingsparkle

    Did Lovelady not realize you would post his e-mails? Or does he simply not care how he portrays journalism as it is today? Biased and unethical?
    Truly astonishing.

  • http://www.oliverwillis.com Oliver

    Jeff, Jeff, do you ever get tired of the intellectual dishonesty, of getting used by the right? I guess not.

  • EverKarl

    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but this military medic says the Iraqi Army has made strides in the 9 months he has been there, adding that last Saturday in Quyarrah, over a thousand citizens and police held the first “march against terrorism,” led by sheiks, mukhtars, and imams.
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but Ma Deuce Gunner is there, writing that: “There are hundreds of things that are better in this country… There are hundreds of things that need work. These things take TIME. These things take EFFORT. To this effort we must continue to add RESOLVE and PATIENCE. In the grand scheme of things, the two years that have passed since the end of ‘major’ hostilities, in all reality, is a very short time to reestablish a nation.”
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but Hurl is there now. He has some unkind words about the media coverage of Iraq. As I type this, his most recent post states in part: “The involvement of Iraqi army and police has increased significantly over the past few months. I have also read many reports about the lack of electricity, but from my observations there are lights on all over Iraq as far as I can see. Any power outages are due to terrorist activity, not a lack of infrastructure. Two nights ago I flew over a new powerplant under construction….”
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but SPC Alex Barnes is there, writing that: “This is our war to lose, and war opponents (I’m hesitant to use the term ‘liberal’ because it just doesn’t seem to fit the bill) are doing their best to lose it in the only way possible: on the battlefield of the media and public opinion.”
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but Massachusetts Army National Guard soldiers living at FOB Summerall are blogging, even photoblogging. The most recent post as I type this states in part: “Itís amazing how much the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police have accomplished thus far. These guys are just as much hero’s as we are. They are why weíre here. These guys will eventually take over for us. More and more often the Iraqi Security Forces are being targeted and under the same pressures that we’re under, but without nearly the level of international recognition that they deserve.”
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but Noah Shachtman just arrived in Camp Victory: “Who knew being a vegetarian in a war zone could be this easy? Not that Iím exactly in in the thick of battle, yet. Camp Victory, adjacent to the Baghdad Airport, is a sprawling military command center of 15,000 troops. And, despite the occasional helicopter grunting overhead, the conflict feels very far away. Yesterday, I was worried about facing bullets and bombs. Today, Iím wondering whether to have a slushie or a cookie for desert.”
    I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but Michael Yon just finished a tour from Mosul to Baghdad to a Navy ship in the North Arabian Gulf, back to Kuwait and Baghdad, to other places in the region and then to Kalsu. Some reports have been downbeat, others uplifting.
    It took me about half an hour to find these seven examples. There are many, many more where they came from.
    Thus, while I respect the courage of those major media journos to risk life and limb in Iraq, I do not grant them a monopoly of knowledge of the situation in Iraq. I’ve never set foot in Iraq, but I think that Steve Lovelady or the KR Baghdad bureau would be hard put to claim that the FOB troops I’ve quoted above are somehow blinded to the reality of Iraq. Heaping invective on Yost does not refute his central point, which is that there are many people reporting from Iraq other than the major media and they not only paint a different picture than the major media, they often criticize the coverage of the major media.
    The Loveladys of the world can ignore them and continue to scratch their heads as newspaper circulation and network news ratings continue their erosion into oblivion. Or they can realize that their journo skills might be put to good use by reading and weighing (note I am not saying “and uncritically accepting”) this substantial body of reportage and opinion from people in Iraq. Thus stated, I would suggest that the argument is about more than Iraq — it’s another version of an ongoing theme of Jeff’s blog, i.e., that there is a segment of the major media that is implacably hostile to anything that is seen as challenging their now-broken monoply on reportage and public commentary.

  • EverKarl

    Ollie, Ollie, do you ever get tired of doughnuts? I guess not.

  • P. Ingemi

    The decision of members of my old party and those who support them to see any question of their line as being “used” is akin to a cult trying to protect its members from outside influences.
    It is the reason why my old party will likely remain in the minority and frankly the reason why I’ve concluded that sites like Oliver’s which I used to visit daily just aren’t worth my time anymore. If I want to see a cult in action I can watch Katie & Tom, I don’t need it in my commentary.
    People have the right to their opinions and the right to express them. And I have the right to ignore those people who I consider not worth my time. Life is too short and I have one to live.

  • EverKarl

    Ollie knows I’m just kidding with that doughnut crack. If I had been serious, I would have written about how the Pepsi squirted out of my nose when I read a partisan hack who works for a Soros set-up job claiming that JJ was being “used.”

  • Carla

    So Lovelady says,
    “Hannah Allam, KR’s brave and brilliant Baghdad bureau chief, who daily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm hiding under his bed.”
    And he knows the situation in Baghdad — how? Lovelady’s been there? Allam lives in the Green (er, International) Zone… and rarely if ever ventures outside the Zone(conditions and security being what they are IN A WAR ZONE… ERMurrow rolling in his grave)… gets dispatches from MNF and Arabic media… puts a spin on it and publishes…
    Then there’s the poor Bureau Chief’s complaints on LIFE IN A WAR ZONE… Case in point: the state of water in Baghdad (the toothbrushes was such nice, visual touch!) We have barely seen a mention in the American media that the TERRORISTS (there’s that T-Word) recently destroyed a water main that supplied 1/2 of Baghdad. Nor has there been a report on the herculean efforts undertaken to provide relief… And does the Bureau Chief insinuate that somehow the contamination of the water supply is the Coalition’s fault? If she’s going to tell me what the status is now, if it’s true journalism, she will tell me what is was before and/or how it became contaminated. If it’s not an insinuation, she raises the point because…? That’s just the type of taint in the war reporting of which many complain…
    We do not hear that most of Iraq NEVER had adequate or sufficient supplies of water or electricity (although Baghdad did under Saddam) so of course the residents of Baghdad might complain that they are worse off. And a Bureau Chief resident in a hotel in Baghdad surrounded by other reporters that hold the same views and — heaven forbid — had to forage for bottled water IN A WAR ZONE, no less! is hardly a testament to “fair and balanced” journalism.
    When I see a story that says 1/2 of Baghdad had no water for the 20th day in 130 degree temperatures BECAUSE THE TERRORISTS (there’s that T-word!) BLEW UP THE WATER MAIN… or a story that says there is not enough electricity BUT there are now more megawatt hours being generated than before April 2003 but that demand is now 20% higher AND that people outside of Baghdad have some power for the first time in 30 years or that the TERRORISTS (there’s that darn T-word again!) have again blown up a generating plant AND the media actualy reports a description of what is being done to rectify the situation — THEN I’ll know that it’s a true journalistic effort and not a tainted campaign.
    I don’t mind the telling of the story, nor do I mind bad news…But as an American consumer of news, I want THE WHOLE STORY — not just your version of it nor do I want your opinion. I want the who? what? where? when? why? and how? Both sides. The facts, man, just the facts.

  • Eileen

    EverKarl and Carla:
    Many thanks for reporting the news. Hannah should just pack her Baghdadi bags and come home. She’s a waste of a journalist.
    And Lovelady? Bahhh. May you and Hannah find your way – eventually – to the front of the unemployment line. People like me don’t support your Iraqi war ‘efforts’. The fact your ilk don’t even notice or care about that will assure, at least, your place in line.

  • Jon

    Yup, Ima think they read ollie and kos cuz they are the happenin voice of the yout, ana they wanna resonate with the demographic. I smell somthin in the air and it’s not lovladee’s pits, itsa good
    Yet another former democrat voter
    (tanks to mr. agenda)
    (snicker)
    YO LOVELADY! Write another missive!
    HO!

  • HA

    Jeff,
    Lovelady’s attitude is no accident. Columbia University has been the epicenter of activist Marxist thought since the associates of the Frankfurt School fled Nazi Germany and set up shop at Columbia.
    http://www.marxists.org/subject/frankfurt-school/
    http://home.cwru.edu/~ngb2/Pages/Intro.html
    Lovelady has no interest in good journalism. He is motivated by one objective and one objective only- to build Marxism globally and subject America to this world order. He is an activist Gramscian Marxist working delibertely to undermine America’s free market system and our national sovereignty. In Lovelady’s world journalism must serve this goal.
    Anybody who has read Hayek’s Road to Serfdom will recognize that the Frankfurt School was comprised of the very same Marxist intellectuals who inadvertantly paved the road that Hitler rode to power.
    Lovelady and the rest of the Gramscian Marxist ilk at Columbia are extremely dangerous people. It is people like them that put America’s national security and the future of Western Civilization at risk.

  • HA

    Ruth,
    Good news is not going to sell newspapers, and the readers accept that.
    Judging by the collapse in circulation, Marxist propaganda is not selling newspapers either.
    Quality journalism will sell newspapers. We don’t have quality journalism in this country any more because the journalistic establishment is actively pushing Marxist propaganda.

  • mike

    Did the managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review Daily actually refer to you as “Bubba”?

  • http://sisu.typepad.com Sissy Willis

    Forget about the kid on the playground, Jeff. We’re in pre-school sandbox territory here.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Unbelievable. Lovelady makes me very sad for the profession.

  • Dmac

    “What an intellectually dishonest schmuck you are.”
    Sounds like a classic case of projection here. For a guy in his position, he seems to have no discernable logic or debating skills whatsoever.
    I was also waiting for someone to hoist the tired flag of chickenhawk to Jeff. By this reasoning, reporters must also do the following in order to be considered “legitimate” purveyors of information:
    - become homeless in order to write about poverty
    - become economists to write about the economy
    - strap on a backpack filled with explosives in a crowded area in order to write about the war from the terrorists point of view.
    Moral equivalency is not an argument.

  • Will

    i think JJ is right on the money here — “dispassionate” is the key word. If you can’t be dispassionate about the news and about critique of the news then it means you have some kind of overt personal stake in a particular interpretation or agenda. When journalists get defensive and engage in ad-hominem attack on other people because they don’t agree on how data should be interpreted or contextualized, then the root cause is *bias* and the would-be journalist is revealed as a mere peddler of propaganda.

  • lucklucky

    Is this journalism and journalists?!
    This echange is to be saved and remembered for decades.
    Like some others here, i am not American. While my country Portugal has a left leaning media this kind of behaviour would never be tolerated.

  • MPF

    I (a civilian) live in the IZ and travel around the country two weeks a month, destination depending on necessity. The milblogs generally have it right – there is progress, grindingly and agonizingly slow in some places, blindingly fast in others. Four provinces are “hot” in the sense that trouble is not localized to a particular geographic pinpoint (it’s 120 in Baghdad today, so “hot” is all relative I suppose): Baghdad (of course), Anbar, Salahadin, and Karbala, and three large cities in the northern provinces (Mosul, Irbil and Kirkuk) have their share of unrest due to the the arabization program of the Ba’athist regime during the 70′s and 80′s, though problems are restricted to the cities noted — the countryside surrounding those places is pretty calm. The other provinces, aside from the cities I noted, are pretty calm and are in fact a beehive of activity in terms of reconstruction. Of course they have the same problems as any other middle eastern country (corruption, little to no infrastructure etc.) but depending on your benchmark they’re not “in flames”, burning the flag (whatever flag you choose) and they’re biggest complaint is that the transitional government is moving too slowly towards a second round of voting. Indeed, most of the Sunnis recognize they screwed up by not participating in the election – there will be a large turnout on the next go-round.
    The vast majority are also – and by that I mean Sunni, Shia, Turkomen, Arab, Persian, Kurd, Yezdi etc. – fed up with the insurgency. That doesn’t mean the sunni (or even many southern shia) love the US. They’re just tired of the child-killings. The number of Iraqis providing info to the ever-growing IP and ING forces is increasing exponentially – an increase that started when the insurge and the muj began going after Iraqis. As I said, it’s not that they love us (many don’t, but many do) but rather they’re just tired of the b.s. I don’t blame them. I admire the heck out the Iraqis – they’re an incredibly resilient people.
    The journos aren’t the bad guys – the bad guys are the quasi-irredentist saddamites and their nihilist AQ allies who keep killing other Iraqis (an alliance that is becoming increasingly tattered – when the sunni tribes turn on the foreigners – and they will – it’s going to be even more brutal than what you currently see – they don’t abide by laws of war).
    I know a few journos who daily risk their necks to do their jobs as best they can. Then again, so does every Iraqi who’s trying to live their lives, so they don’t deserve significant pats on the back either – aside from the soldiers, who just amaze the hell out of me, the bravest people I’ve met are the Iraqis who keep showing up for work at the police stations or school ministries or power plants – it’s heroic to the point of tear-inducing.
    However, the journos mentioned by that dinkus from CJR stay in or near the IZ and convoy out into the red zone occasionally to get water and never see anything else. hey war totally idiotic body armor that just screams “kidnap me and cut my head off.” No opsec for them – that’s too much effort. and so they suffer.
    Like almost every expat I’ve ever met – from London to Jakarta – they loooove to glamorize their self-created predicaments and bitch bitch bitch. Totally annoying. Of course their views are skewed. It’s illogical to think otherwise. Since when are journos unlike everyone else? your political baggage comes with you wherever in the world you go – sometimes it changes, but you still have it. Why they insist on denying it is beyond me. The screeching in response to Yost is proof positive that t criticism hits a raw nerve – if it’s so unfounded then why is the nerve so raw? Besides, talk to them one on one long enough and even they admit it, but in a way that makes it sound noble (like Cronkite’s admission earlier).
    Most of the people I know here who watch the media think Burns at NYT is the only one who gets both the facts and the tone about right (it’s still a war zone in some spots, calm in most, Shia and Kurds are psyched not to be put into mass graves anymore, Sunnis are pissed, and the ex-regime was pond scum beyond description), though Langweisch at the Atlantic Monthly is also pretty good in that regard.
    That’s all I’ve got. I really do enjoy Mr. Jarvis’ writings – don’t get to see them much anymore, but I hope you keep it up.

  • http://www.workingwithwords.blogspot.com John Ettorre

    Jarvis is indeed increasingly beginning to sound like a pale version of the GOP’s talking points, dressed up to pretend a kind of techy coolness. How sad for blogging. Stop pretending to be a sage and spokesman for new wave journalism, Jeff. You’re better cut out for simple TV criticism.

  • http://www.rightwingsparkle.blogspot.com Rightwingsparkle

    Talking points? What talking points? Asking for debate is talking points???
    I think Steve’s e-mails speak for themselves. He doesn’t need the GOP to make him look bad. He does quite well on his own.

  • Maureen

    Ah yes–”freedom of speech” as really practiced by the pseudo-liberal press. Freedom to say whatever you want–as long as you say exactly what the powers-that-be want you to say. And if you dare to be critical, why then you immediately threaten their job &/or make comments that you’re “ashamed to be in the same building with” the individual. Nope, wouldn’t want to allow actual free speech & exchange of ideas. Can’t have that. Much too dangerous.
    Reminds me of my father’s days as a Penn State professor (universities also being bastions of free speech for those dissenting with pseudo-liberals). At a discussion formally sponsored by the university on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua (back when they held power), naturally the professors (none of whom had ever lived in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas) thought they were just swell peachy-keen guys. When an actual Nicaraguan pointed out that living under their brutality wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, he was immediately denounced by all the all-wise professors. When my father (who consulted for US AID & worked in Latin America for decades & was thus very familiar with life in Nicaragua) came to his defense, the predictable response from the other professors was that he had no business being a professor & should be stripped of his position. Yup, free speech at its finest–& as practiced by the MSM.
    We are not afraid? Actually, there is a tremendous amount of fear. It’s coming from the MSM, & the people like Lovelady & those who support him. They’re terrified that they can no longer hijack the national agenda to their means. The Post & the Times & CBS & other organizations can no longer make up claims (I’ll swap you one Koran in the toilet for my faked documents from Kinkos) & dominate the landscape. The rest of us have gotten wise to them & their agenda–& have plenty of other alternate means of discussing issues. You can smell the fear–& the only way for them to try to stop the wave is to attack anyone who disagrees with them. Forget discourse, they’re too afraid.

  • Glyn

    When Steve Lovelady wrote:
    “Jeff –
    I’ll have to decline, on several counts.
    First, if I were going to debate Yost, I would want to do it at CJR Daily, not at Buzzmachine, for obvious reasons.”
    I didn’t realise that he wasn’t against debating the issue on Buzzmachine, he was just against debating one-on-one with Yost and allowing Yost to defend himself directly. Lovelady seems perfectly happy to post on Buzzmachine otherwise.
    I don’t know anyone in this argument but Mr Lovelady’s comment that:
    “xxx daily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm hiding under his bed.”
    is low and offensive. He knows nothing about Mark Yost, and attributing cowardice to some stranger simply because they disagree with you should be objectionable to people on all sides of the political debate. If anyone said that about me in my hearing they could expect a sharp punch on the nose no matter how eminent a journalist they were.

  • Bostonian

    The legacy media richly deserves its falling circulation numbers. Buh-bye.

  • Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)

    Seems to this old observer who came in at the tail end of this thread that Lovelady’s emails are all of the exhibits one need to illustrate the bias of the MSM. That he is able to sic the troops on one dissenter, whose job it is to opine not report, from the thinking of the anointed ones is mighty persuasive evidence.
    The comments do not take away from the thrust of the evidence.
    Jeff has done nothing but shine light on what used to go on under cover. Please tell me how Jeff’s shining the light on Lovlady parrots the “right wing line”.

  • Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)

    Seems to this old observer who came in at the tail end of this thread that Lovelady’s emails are all of the exhibits one need to illustrate the bias of the MSM. That he is able to sic the troops on one dissenter, whose job it is to opine not report, from the thinking of the anointed ones is mighty persuasive evidence.
    The comments do not take away from the thrust of the evidence.
    Jeff has done nothing but shine light on what used to go on under cover. Please tell me how Jeff’s shining the light on Lovlady parrots the “right wing line”.

  • http://blogspotting.net steve baker

    I’m not satisfied with most of the coverage from Iraq. While I agree with Yost that perhaps too much of it is focused on the horrors, we won’t get balance by reading a bunch of stories about new schools and sewer systems. We saw plenty of that happy news from Viet Nam.
    What we need is reporting from experts in the regions analysing the struggle for power in Iraq. Who has power, how do they use it, how do the Americans/Iranians/Syrians etc. fit into their scheme? What are their goals, and how do they plan to get there? If the U.S.-built schools and pipelines are part of the equation, this is where we should be learning about them.
    When we watch a football game, we have experts teaching us from the broadcast booth. But as we watch or read about the war in Iraq, we get the equivalent of: Big tackle there. Fumble. Another fumble. Injury… But too little analysis on where it’s all going and what it means. We would never stand for this type of coverage in sports. Why do we stand for it in war? Because a) we’re short on experts, and b) we’re locked by political correctness and angry partisanship into rigid and defenseable positions.

  • http://www.antimedia.us/ antimedia

    Lovelady won’t debate because he can’t debate. You should read the “discussion” we had over at Jay Rosen’s blog on the Plame affair. I cited fact after fact after fact, quoting the SICR (including page numbers) and providing links to every news story and to the amici curiae brief of the media in the case.
    Steve’s response? He called me a sock puppet for the Republicans’ talking points. He didn’t provide one iota of intelligent response.
    I can only conclude that he’s afraid to take on the issues directly for some reason.

  • Bruce Kesler

    The sheer arrogance of the KR bureau chief and of the CJR managing editor is truly gruesome. I hope to see their comments preserved in a textbook for journalism 101 courses, as examples of how and why the customers of their favorite publications faded away in disgust.

  • htom

    This is the funniest post you’ve had in months, Jeff. Thank you.
    Steve (I assume you’re reading) — When in danger of being revealed as a fool, it is better to keep one’s fingers off the keyboard than to post and remove all doubt.

  • EverKarl

    Lovelady’s e-mails refer to a number of rebuttals of Yost by KR colleagues, including “Clark Hoyt, KR Washington bureau chief (who addresses his remarks not only to Yost but to the editors of all 33 KR papers, which tells you something about Mr. Yost’s future).”
    Hoyt’s rebuttal is currently available through Yahoo! News, so I thought it might be worth looking at it in a little bit of detail. For example, Hoyt writes:
    “Yost asks why you don’t read about progress being made in the power grid, which the colonel oversaw. Maybe it’s because there is no progress. Iraqis currently have electricity for an average of nine hours a day. A year ago, they averaged 10 hours of electricity.
    Just for giggles, I checked the Brookings Institution’s current Iraq Index, which was updated this very day.
    The estimated prewar level of the average amount of electricity generated nationwide is 3,598 megawatts. The average amount of electricity generated nationwide is estimated at 4,153 megawatts for June 2005 and 4,583 for July 2005. Indeed, for the prior year for which there are actual fgures, generation exceeded the prewar level in 8 of 12 months. The figures are consistently below the prewar level in Baghdad, where most of the major media are.
    Hoyt writes:
    “Iraq’s oil production is still below pre-war levels. The unemployment rate is between 30 percent and 40 percent. New cases of hepatitis have doubled over the rate of 2002, largely because of problems with getting clean drinking water and disposing of sewage.”
    Iraqi oil production is only 80 percent of the peak prewar levels (though as another commenter noted, this is due to insurgent attacks). Hoyt doesn’t mention that production has been very near the prewar peak level in a number of months prior to this one. Hoyt also fails to mention that the goals for other fuel supplies, such as diesel, kerosene and gasoline, are being exceeded and that overall fuel supplies are running at about 94-97 percent of the goal figure.
    The unemployment figure depends very much on who is reporting it. Both the CPA and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning estimate it to be 25-30 percent, whereas the Ministry of Social Affairs estimates it to be 48 percent. The authors of the Iraq Index discuss the difficulties in accurately measuring the unemployment rate, particularly given the increase in entrepreneurial activity after the end of the war. But viewed in relative terms, let’s note that the rate was estimated to be 50-60 percent in May 2003. Indeed, according to an article in TNR, it was about 60 percent during the closing days of Saddam’s regime. So I would suggest the trend is positive.
    New cases of hepatitis have doubled from 2002-04, largely due to probalems with the water and sewer systems; Hoyt is correct on that score. On the other hand, Hoyt does not mention that the water and sewer systems were falling apart due to neglect under Saddam and that the coalition is fixing them. For example, in October 2004, Baghdad got a new water-pumping station. Iraq’s Health Ministry and UNICEF officials distributed water-purification tablets and health-education literature; only a few cases of hepatitis E were reported since, according to Nima Abid, director of the Health Ministry’s Public Health division. Hoyt must be unaware that we are upgrading the knowledge base of the entire Iraqi healthcare system, as he doesn’t mention it. Arthur Chrenkoff’s April 25, 2005 round-up of good news from Iraq quotes an article from the NJ Star-Ledger in part as follows: “Iraq’s health care industry has access to far more funds and better supplies than it did under the last dozen years of Saddam’s rule. Doctors no longer have to smuggle under the radar of United Nations sanctions black-market cancer drugs or the latest equipment.”
    Indeed, that’s one of many things Hoyt’s rebuttal doesn’t mention. For example, telephone subscribers in Iraq have gone from 833,000 to over 3.8 million.
    Internet subscribers have gone from an estimated 4,500 to almost 150,000.
    Commercial TV stations went from 13 to 23.
    Independent newspapers and magazines went from 8 to 170. You would think that the DC bureau chief for a newspaper chain would be interested in those figures, but you would be wrong, apparently.
    Wheat production went from 1.9 million tons pre war to 2.6 million tons in 2003 (the most recent figure) — a 37 percent increase. Hoyt didn’t mention it.
    Primary school enrollment was 3.6 million in 2000; for 2003-04, it went up to 4.3 million. All that unsexy reconstruction of and building of schools appears to have added up over time, not that Hoyt has noticed.
    The relative amount of car traffic has quint upled from prewar levels. Hoyt didn’t mention it.
    Two-thirds of Iraqis think their country is headed in the right direction, including 40 percent of the Sunnis. Eighty-two percent of Iraqis think their life will be better next year.
    I wonder what Clark “Sadly, there is little good news to report from Iraq” Hoyt’s explanation for those figures is.

  • http://noonzwire.blogspot.com Alex Nunez

    Nicely done, EverKarl.
    More proof that idealogues like Steve Lovelady are masters at throwing tantrums and packaging news to fit the story they want to tell, but beyond that it gets dicey.
    When will the Steve Loveladys of the world learn that regular people are just as good at getting information as our esteemed media overlords, and that the regular people are the ones more likely to tell the whole story.
    And the MSM wonders why people read blogs…

  • Mike G

    Christ, I hadn’t looked at this thread since I posted above.
    What a THUG Lovelady has turned out to be!
    Is it really the job of the Columbia Journalism Review to drop broad hints that a newspaper should fire some guy?
    Is it really the job of its editor to sneer loudly at people in the profession?
    I don’t know because actually, of course, nobody friggin’ reads the Columbia Journalism Review. In fact, I’d say Columbia University as a whole has, as much as anyone, wrecked its reputation since 9/11.

  • Mike G

    And I second the comment that the Everkarl Journalism Review kicks the ass of the Columbia Journalism Review…

  • http://www.postwatchblog.com Christopher Fotos

    And people wonder why CJR didn’t think there was anything wrong with hiring The Nation’s Victor Navasky to (secretly) lead the magazine, as exposed by blogger David M. That wasn’t a bug, it was a feature.
    I am amazed at Lovelady’s behavior, not to mention his utter lack of perspective. But there is absolutely no reason that I should be.
    Lovelady himself may do fine–it’s a big world. What we see now, however, is that the CJR and the idea it represented really is history.

  • ThomasD

    Ruth:
    Mr. Rehnquist’s good health was not news because it represented the status quo. His apparent decline in health was a significant change and was justly reported as a newsworthy item.
    Consequently any significant progress in his return to good health would then also be newsworthy. Failure to report on such progress would otherwise lead people to conclude that his condition was unchanged.
    Likewise any measureable progress in Iraq would also be newsworthy. Failure to report such progress would be an act of omission and is likely to perpetuate a state of misinformation among the public.
    Any failure to report either type of newsworthy event should be open to question and criticism.

  • cardeblu

    Please forgive me for being trite, but with 3 emails it absolutely begs to be said: “Methinks he doth protesteth too much.”

  • http://www.postwatchblog.com Christopher Fotos

    Thomas, that is exactly right. Aside from generic anti-Bush reflexes, the reporters in Iraq see what would be mundane social progress over here and conclude that it’s mundane over there. It ain’t. Schools that work and truly representive town councils and all the nuts and bolts of building a functioning and just society–for the middle of the Middle Freakin’ East, it’s amazing. It’s news. I mean I admire the bravery of the reporters over there; one of my own former employees who is near and dear to me is embedded at this very moment. But it’s possible to be brave and to be an abysmal reporter. As we can see.

  • randy

    I was just going to toss in that people should read the milbloggers and someone like Michael Yon,but an earlier commenter beat me to it.But he Michael did do an interesting post on how most of the media get their info and how they report.I am not sure of the exact date of his post on this,but it is worth reading.

  • http://www.nuclearbeef.com Darwin

    You can tell the mainstream media is scared.. they know they’re losing control of the story of history. They know their only chance is to attack, attack, attack. They’re lost…
    =darwin

  • Anonymous

    Dear Mr Jarvis,
    Thank you for the website and this post. I have copied and saved it. Mr Lovelady’s responses are the kind of surreal evidence of power-arrogance that I use to remind myself how truly bizarre this world is.
    When he writes:
    “What an intellectually dishonest schmuck you are.”
    “groundbreaking coverage of the Iraq lie in Washington”;
    “whodaily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm hiding under his bed.”
    “the fraud, safely ensconced (for the moment) in an air-conditioned office in St. Paul”
    And then claims that:
    How much “intelligent, reasoned, two-side discussion” do you want?
    I gave you enough to last a week,
    It is obvious that this is a man whose concept of “two-sided” was formed in an echo chamber.
    I think you are (properly) understated in your comparison of his ad hominem attacks to a child.
    I wonder if Columbia University would object if someone sent a copy of Mr Lovelady’s posts to the parents of all their students?

  • Mike Jacobson

    It’s easy to snipe at people. Yost did it, probably unjustifiably. Not enough good news? Not enough bad news? Who cares. The point is that Yost called a bunch of people ‘despised’, conveniently excused himself from being a member of that group despite his comparatively cushy circumstances, and didn’t back up accusations with real evidence. He claims he has military friends who know better. Maybe they do, but how do we know? Also, to say that one person’s opinion is unfiltered and another person’s is not is ridiculous. Journalists are trained in a certain way to use information, soldiers are trained in quite a different way. You can argue that one is better, but you cannot successfully defend a claim that soldiers are the one source of accurate information, and I find Yost’s claim rather silly, in fact, because soldiers are, after all, too busy being soldiers and establishing security to constantly be worrying about checking up on human interest stories around Baghdad. It is also a huge generalization about reporters to say they’re all dishonest or incompetent or even just unable to see both sides of a story. These are people, and this is their life’s work, and you’re going to casually dimiss it so swiftly? This entire discussion is moot, as it’s just people coming down on the side they’re already on. It’s easy to criticize, and it’s easy to make blanket claims in the name of freedom, it’s harder to work for years and put yourself on the line. Yost put his reputation on the line, and so do those people in Iraq everyday. Let them sort it out. Forget it and move on.

  • http://www.blackfive.net/main/2005/07/iraqis_march_ag.html steve

    Perfect example of imbalance in coverage is the lack of coverage of the march against terror. It just doesn’t fit the officially approved “narrative”.
    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2005/07/iraqis_march_ag.html

  • Taras Bulba

    I’ve had a lower opinion of CJR ever since it turned out they were being so secretive about Victor Navasky running the thing … but I still have to say that the tone in Lovelady’s multiple e-mails astonishes me. The important thing to me is that, regardless of the merits of his case, he’s clearly a pompous, obnoxious, pseudo-intellectual thug. As Jeff rightly points out, this is a guy whose idea of “debate” is seriously out-of-whack. You either toe the (his) party line, or you better start looking for another line of work … even if he’s *right* about Iraq, that level of smug certainty in one’s own beliefs is an absolutely awful attitude for anybody who purports to know anything about “journalism”.

  • http://moneyrunner.blogspot.com/ moneyrunner

    Mike,
    ìJournalists are trained to use information in a certain wayÖî What? What can that phrase mean?
    Your post shows such a reverential deference to the ìexpertiseî of journalists. In logic, its known as ìappeal to authority.î Iím afraid that journalists long ago lost the right to the unqualified trust of anyone.
    Belittleing the ability of the military to observe and comment on the situation in Iraq is more than a little bizarre.
    Are you, by any chance a graduate of J-school?

  • Kevin

    This blog and its informative commenters are the reasons why I no longer read the newspapers (except for coupons in the local birdcage liner). And I’m not alone. Readership is falling at thousands of papers. The Minneapolis StarTribune has been caught faking circulation numbers; a common trick recently, it seems.
    MSM is on the decline, and you can only fake popularity for so long. Lovelady simply doesn’t like market principles: we don’t have to buy what he’s selling. Forcing a monopoly worldview only works in totalitarian societies. CJR is to journalism what truth was to Pravda.

  • Kevin

    Napolean Dynamite: Idiot!
    Syllogism repaired:
    CJR is to journalism what Pravda was to truth.

  • reallygone

    I note with some humor that all of the journalists that take issue with Yost are safely secured in bunkers in the Green Zone which is a terrorist target.
    If the reporters weren’t so cowardly, they would exit their bunkers and go out into the countryside to collect real news rather than trust what their cook tells them while there are beside the pool at their hotel.

  • http://bl0g.delobi.us The Pontiff

    First, just wanted to say hello to the Buzz Machine crowd. I visited this site because one of my best friends, Alex Barnes, was quoted in a comment by EverKarl. I’m here in Iraq with Alex, we are both in the same Signal Company out of Minnesota.
    I just wanted to comment about something that Barnes and I have noticed while being here. It appears to us that in today’s generation there lacks a certain stomach for tough work. Barnes refered to it as a type of inflation, what he called Social Inflation.
    While I’ve been in Iraq I’ve been studying the History of the Civil War as a class offered by the University of Minnesota. Now before some of you begin to say “Don’t compare the Civil War to Operation Iraqi Freedom!!” Let me point out that people’s civil liberties have been stifled here countless times. I’m not saying that its like the antibellum South here, but I will say that many Iraqis could identify with the tortures that slaves were subjected to, as well as the conflict that they found themselves in when the Union came to put down an insurrection. You see, the slaves saw it as their chance to put an end to that peculiar institution even when whites on both sides wanted nothing to do with the slave question.
    By 1864, most Union soldiers had changed their opinion on the freedom of the black race. By the end of the bloodiest conflict in American history, over 300,000 had died for the cause of Union and Liberty (over 600,000 had died if you count the losses on both sides, but it cannot be said that the Confederates fought for liberty of the black man).
    What is my point? My point is, since when did we lose the stomach to see things through to the end? When Peace Democrats called for the end of hostilities and nominated George McClellan for President in the ’64 elections and called for the restoration of blacks to slavery, President Lincoln said he could not, in any form of good conscience, break that promise to the black warrior. Yet today, nearly 150 years later, I wonder if he would be disappointed to see that people of his own country still call for the forsaking of friendships. And don’t say that the Iraqi people are not friends of ours, or the other way around, because although you can freely speak for yourself, you cannot speak for me and my friends. My friends and I are here, and we have made new friends thousands of miles from our homes, ones that we will not forget even if the American public wants to.

  • Greyhawk

    “…and I find Yost’s claim rather silly, in fact, because soldiers are, after all, too busy being soldiers and establishing security to constantly be worrying about checking up on human interest stories around Baghdad.”
    Actually they’re just as busy rebuilding Iraq – schools, power, water, local government – in other words, living the human interest stories you thought (because those stories aren’t often reported) they were too busy to worry about.
    And yes, that’s precisely the point most soldiers are making when they say the media isn’t getting half the real story. Thanks for demonstrating the extent of the impact of the failure.

  • http://journals.aol.com/ceklundesq/TheOtherShoe/ charlie eklund

    Steve Lovelady is living proof of the central problem that is destroying American journalism. The search is no longer for the objective truth but rather a hunt for stories which support a particular viewpoint.
    Mr. Lovelady is quick with insults…”schmuck”, and so forth, and quick to recommend that those who deviate from the party line be fired. Is this objective journalism? I don’t think so.
    Yesterday, I cancelled my subscription to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, my local paper and a member of the Knight Ridder corporate family. I have been a reader of the Star Telegram for most of my 43 years and have been a paying subscriber for the last 20. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a reprinted Washington Post story titled “Tactics Used at Abu Ghraib First Tried at Guantanamo”. Upon seeing this, I read the story and found it to be one more attack on the war effort, one more effort to blacken the names of America’s fighting forces, one more stone thrown at George W. Bush. One too many…after I finished the story, I called the paper and cancelled my subscription.
    I realized that I don’t have to pay for that sort of thing if I didn’t want to…so I won’t.
    Knight Ridder and Steve Lovelady can hoot and holler about the evil right-wing and American torturers and misguided militants and all the other stuff as much as they want to; it’s a free country. From now on, however, they won’t be doing it on my dime.

  • penny

    Journalists are trained in a certain way to use information
    Journalism school is lame and getting lamer. The best “journalists” had no formal schooling. They were first and foremost good writers that perfected their craft on their own…..Twain, Mencken, Royko, Edna Buchanan, etc.
    Seals get trained. Talent doesn’t.

  • Zenji

    I was also waiting for someone to hoist the tired flag of chickenhawk to Jeff. By this reasoning, reporters must also do the following in order to be considered “legitimate” purveyors of information:
    - become homeless in order to write about poverty
    - become economists to write about the economy
    - strap on a backpack filled with explosives in a crowded area in order to write about the war from the terrorists point of view.

    this is a facile argument against chickenhawkishness, and even worse when used regarding journos. Let’s talk about reporting on homelessness, since you bring it up.
    which is a better article about homelessness, if you had to judge from only this information i’m giving you: The one where the reporter does a little googling and digs up some stats about homelessness and maybe someone who was homeless once who has a blog, and reports based on that, or the guy who goes out on the street, talks to homeless people, visits shelters and talks to service workers, and hey, what the hell, maybe even spends a couple of nights or a week on the streets just to really get a feel for it? Which one do you think is going the extra mile to do a better job? Especially since the latter guy also has access to google, so he can supplement his HARD WON EXPERIENCE with all the google-tastic stats and anecdotes he needs.
    Similarly, an economic reporter should talk to some economists, and a reporter who wants to know what terrorists are thinking will really need to go find some and talk to them.
    So, can you talk about Iraq without going there? Sure you can! I do it, you do too, it’s perfectly valid. But if i *really* want to know what’s going on, i want to hear from people who are over there, and if i *really* *really* want to know what’s going on, i would have to go there myself.
    So here’s the thing. The people that are actually over there say it’s pretty rough. Now there are 2 explanations for this. Either they are all traitorous 5th columnists who secretly want Islamic Jihad to crush and humiliate ‘Amerika’ because they hate their country and all she stands for … or things are pretty rough. Frankly, the former sounds like paranoid fantasy to me.

  • jerry

    Yes, thanks to this blog, I no longer read the papers. Mission Accomplished!

  • warren

    Jeff, you are being obtuse. The point is that Yost’s ‘criticism’ of the media is all wet. Sure, there is a lot to complain about the coverage of the war, but Yost completely missed it.

  • EverKarl

    Thanks to those of you who had kind words above. Thanks especially to Alex Barnes, The Pontiff and Greyhawk for their service, in-country and in the blogosphere. Many of the milblog links I posted were found through Greyhawk’s invaluable Mudville Gazette.
    Another commenter referred to the Michael Yon piece describing how most news in Iraq gets reported — that’s right here. I highly recommend it.

  • Barry Dauphin

    Great post, Jeff! Wow Lovelady sure has a way with words. That must come in handy at J-school. Were you pretending that Lovelady was the golf ball in the pictures above?

  • Brian H
  • A.W. of Freespeech.com

    I have long said that obviously the media is doing a poor job, and that it is obviously politically motivated. Why?
    Well, not because we don’t talk about opening schools. the old saw “if it bleeds it leads” provides a reasonable alternate explanation.
    But how about this. Ask yourself, how many terrorists have we killed in Iraq?
    Don’t know? Apparently NO ONE IN THE MEDIA KNOWS. No one in the media cares.
    So the terrorists kill 3 american soldiers. This is news.
    But we kill 30 of them, and that is not news.
    Why?
    Because the left assumes that no matter how many we kill, we will lose. Its that simple. And it is that biased.
    So let’s start with trying to estimate how many of the bad guys we kill. Then maybe we could cover opening schools and the like?

  • P. Ingemi

    Exibit A in Yost’s favor:
    http://instapundit.com/archives/024306.php
    Lets see how many of the press people who hit Yost report it.

  • kcom

    Zenji,
    “But if i *really* want to know what’s going on, i want to hear from people who are over there,….”
    But that’s the whole point some people on this thread are making – you can hear from people over there, plenty of them. And they’re not just a few reporters holed up in hotels in the Green Zone. They’re all over the country in many different situations – independent reporters, NGO workers, coalition soldiers, and last but not least Iraqi citizens. And what they have to report puts the lie to the one-dimensional analysis that I quote from you below:
    “So here’s the thing. The people that are actually over there say it’s pretty rough. Now there are 2 explanations for this. Either they are all traitorous 5th columnists who secretly want Islamic Jihad to crush and humiliate ‘Amerika’ because they hate their country and all she stands for … or things are pretty rough. Frankly, the former sounds like paranoid fantasy to me.”
    The former sounds like paranoid fantasy to me, too, but your one word (oops, two word) description of the entire country as “pretty rough” seems totally lacking in any real world nuance as well. Some places are good, some places are less so. People in some areas are optimistic and others not so much. All you have to do is read the blogs, expand your horizons, and not rely totally on a small contingent of reporters in Baghdad to realize that. In a country the size of California with 25 million inhabitants is it so hard to believe that every single story is not one of gloom and doom? Is there anything wrong with us asking the press to cover that also? Not instead of, but, also.
    If you do nothing else, please read Michael Yon’s site at http://michaelyon.blogspot.com . He gives the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why can’t the rest of the press do that?
    (Be sure to check the pictures on the June 2 entry. Is that the country you’ve been hearing about?)

  • http://tvshogal.blogspot.com Huntress

    The MSM has lost any sense of why they exist: HINT: not to present a purely biased left wing POV but to provide the entire picture on all issues be it abortion, war, homelessness, social security, etc.
    Yost critism and frustration with his MSM collegues and their biased reporting was greeted with the same vitriol that met Bernie Goldberg when as an insider at CBS he too had the “audacity” to openly question and point on NUMEROUS OBVIOUS EXAMPLES of Bias at CBS. I suggest all Lovelady’s supporters read both his books..if you can actually stomach the truth!
    As for his obvious infatuation withof”Hannah Allam, KR’s brave and brilliant Baghdad bureau chief, who daily lives a life that would turn Mark Yost into a sniveling worm hiding under his bed”
    I have to wonder if he simply has a hard on for this woman!
    He spews out his vitriol at Mark Yost from the comfort of his own office and then uses his infatuation with Hanna as a means to prove that Mark Yost is in no position to openly critize the general left leaning agenda of the majority of the MSM. Yet Hanna is hardly in a position to offer the complete and unbiased picture of daily life in Iraq. I suggest he read Michael Yon’s blog. Michael was the ONLY reporter who had the balls to travel through Iraq in a humvee. Lets see…who do you think offers us a more balanced picture of Iraq…an independent voice like Michael Yon who has actually been out on missions and travelled the country…or Hanna sitting in the green zone planning how to access water.
    Let me put this into perspective:
    In 1994 when the LA quake struck…I was unable to secure water or food in my neighborhood which had been hit bad. Had I been blogging or reporting from my crumbling apt, in the same manner has Hanna and most of the MSM, this is what I would have put forth:
    Im holed up..no air conditioning, what little water I have from the taps appears unsafe to drink or wash in, I have no electricity, the walls are creaking..there are cracks in the floor, I have to move about carefully as Im not sure how safe the floor is, I might fall through. I am slowly and lightly crawling over to the window. I see nothing but darkness, the clock has stopped, I have no idea what time it is, its quiet very quiet. I think I am the only one alive…I hear no other sounds..no one crying out for help. This must be the BIG ONE…dear gawd…..I may be the only one alive….I m in the hall…I have to walk carefully…Im blinded because its so dark no lights are working where are the BACK UP GENERATORS??? i have to a get out of here…but where will I go….Im sure there is no place with power, food, water if I am experiencing this, I smell gas leaking….and I smell smoke…there must be a fire nearby….Im out on the streets now..its dark…I smell more smoke…I smell more gas leaking….I se no one on the street…dear gawd I am alone…wait…I see someone now…limping.
    Imagine someone reading that…and ONLY that description of my experience of the 1994 earthquake. What would people think reading this and NOTHING else.
    They’d believe that my experience- my viewpoint – my story – my reporting – applied to all of California. Imagine finding out that only a fairly small radius near me had experienced this…20 blocks in either direction and life was normal…people were cooking, people were talking on cell phones, some people were oblvious to the extent of the damage that had occured in my hood.
    By now you all get the point Ive made…hopefully Lovelady, Hanna and the rest of the MSM will be able to grasp what Mark Yost, Jeff, myself, and a good majority of Americans already know…
    The MSM doesnt just lean left IT IS LEFT and it continues to skew and frame all its reporting on many issues but especially on Iraq, the military and this President from its biased, arrogant, myopic, self serving, left wing, unbalanced, POV.
    It members do not welcome critism from outside and from within and they attack with vitriol anyone who dares NOT to tow the party line.
    The self appointed guardian of liberal values are anything but openminded and diversified in POV…instead they are closed minded, arrogant, and suffer from a group think that permeates all that they write and report.
    As circulation drops, as viewership shifts away from the MSM towards talk radio and Fox News, as advertising revenues drop…they still hold onto their delusional belief that they alone represent all that is good, right, fair, honest, and American. Denial is a river in Egypt!

  • http://fwmn.blogspot.com Nathan Gotsch

    It’s okay for the press, in their coverage of the War in Iraq, to raise questions — indeed, many believe that is its duty — but it’s not okay for someone else to raise questions about that coverage?
    And while we’re on the subject of what constitutes news, since when did only “bad things” qualify as news? The real answer is that news is anything people are interested in finding out; whether that’s a large power grid coming online after years of work or a suicide bombing. Sure, people are fascinated by high speed police chases, but they’re also captivated by the woman in Georgia who subdued the escaped convict — extraordinary courage in the face of danger. Odds are, reporters might find some of that in Iraq, too.

  • some facts

    US authorities say the capacity for electrical production has increased to 5 megawatts from 4.4 mw. But typically 2 mw are down.
    Questions have also surfaced on how well Iraqis can mantain the nice new plants we’ve built and simmering beneath this the issue of whether or not much more of this Iraqi money should have gone to Iraqi firms rather than US corporations.
    I think the MSM record is incomplete on both sides. By now all of us know about 3,000 schools and hundreds of clinics, but how many are actually running. Kidnpappers have caused many Iraqi doctors to retire. Corruption means resources go into pockets, many a government official can find better uses for money than teachers salaries or antibiotics. Note how 300 million spent on weapons for the military turned out to be chunk.
    We simply do not know the numbers. But when we remember that some peaceful areas such as Basra are run by Shiite fanatics even that relative calm may be deceptive.
    I sadly fear that the long term critique of the press will be that focusing on big booms they did not supply the public with the depth and extent of the problems.
    Civil war anyone?