Monday, November 19, 2007

'Good news leaks past the embargo on good news…'

By now the media blackout on good news from Iraq, or from any other quarter in which the Bush administration is working, is beginning to give way. Better writers than me have been able to condense what is actually quite a large story into a manageable size. On Friday The Anchoress summed up good news from Iraq, the media’s reluctance to report on it, and the effect on news watchers hammered nightly with doom-and-gloom stories meant to shield positive developments:

Good news leaks past the embargo on good news…

‘Bout a year and a half ago [1] I wrote:

Nothing good [2] will show up in the news until Bushitler is out of office and the Dems are back in. Nothing. Good news has been disallowed. If you want to [3] find good news, you will have to [4] look for it yourself.

Bad news, though, is so welcome [5] it even gets made up.

Last week, [6] Muslims and Christians raised a cross together to help re-open a church in Baghdad.

This week, [7] Muslims and Christians gathered together for Holy Mass in a Baghdad church. Yes, in Baghdad. And the mainstream press has - not surprisingly - missed the story. Michael Yon, the independent journalist who [8] covers the war in Iraq without filters, writes:

Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.” They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. “Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.”

and - of interest, perhaps, to those who don’t care about the [9] free practice of religion in that very religion-minded culture:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any fighting. I can’t remember my last shootout: it’s been months. The nightmare is ending. Al Qaeda is being crushed. The Sunni tribes are awakening all across Iraq and foreswearing violence for negotiation. Many of the Shia are ready to stop the fighting that undermines their ability to forge and manage a new government. This is a complex and still delicate denouement, and the war may not be over yet. But the Muslims are saying it’s time to come home. And the Christians are saying it’s time to come home. They are weary, and there is much work to be done.

It’s not victory - not yet - but every day it seems we get [10] a little closer to [11] victory. These might be called little [12] hopeful signs - [13] little victories. People are starting to realize that [14] the surge is working, but they’re figuring it out [15] almost by accident. If the press cannot [16] recognize and report on [17] these little victories, how will they recognize, or be able to credibly report on the big ones? And why shouldn’t they want to? Why should the press not want to cover [18] good news from Iraq?

Unfortunately, it is still true that until a new president is installed in the WH, preferably one with a D after the name, [19] only the downsides are newsworthy, and that holds true in every subject. Every subject. My elderly family members are convinced that everything, everywhere, is [20] going to hell, and they are fretful and terrified. They think everyone is out of work, the [21] economy is in a recession, the war in Iraq is lost and there are [22] no real terrorist threats - that’s just made-up stuff. They’re sure America is dying. They are sure the world is headed for famine. They are depressed and do not want to send out Christmas cards, because how can you do that when [23] so much is bad in the world?

If you ask them to look around and wonder how people are buying tiny houses in Queens for a million dollars - while everyone is working, their neighbors are expanding their homes, new businesses are being constructed - if you point out that the the stores and restaurants are crowded - if you ask them how it is that [24] France and [25] Germany have elected America-friendly leaders who are [26] making it a point to work with [27] the unanimously hated President Bush…it does not compute; everything is bad. “All I know,” they say, “is what I hear, and it sounds like the world is going to come to an end soon, because how can it keep going? There is going to be a depression and nuclear war! The oceans are going to cover the whole coast! Everything is going to be lost! Little children are being allowed to get sick and die! Here! In America!” And of course, “everything about Iraq is bad. [28] There is nothing good.”

All they know, you see, is what they hear.

Now, I grant you, it is the nature of the news business to feature the sensational stuff; “if it bleeds it leads” is a real philosophy. If a thousand NYC taxicabs get through a day without an accident, that’s not news; if one jumps the curb and kills 8 bystanders - yes, it’s news. But if a hundred bystanders are killed a month - for several months - and then that stopped happening, it seems like [29]
that would be newsworthy, particularly if the good citizens of NYC had been fretting and worrying about such events.

Likewise, when the press has done its job to keep Americans informed on the deaths, setbacks and problems endured by her sons and daughters in the military, should they not also keep Americans informed of the [30] successes of those same sons and daughters? Seems to me, that’s not asking very much. Seems sensible, in fact, particularly when you think of the press as a vanguard of the public trust.

I must ask, if the President of the United States had had a D after his name when he deposed Saddam Hussein and liberated a few million people and tried to establish a Democracy in the midsts of tyranny and tribal skirmishes - and if it looked like he was, after a very difficult time and some serious missteps - succeeding, do you really think you wouldn’t be hearing about it?

Come on - the last president who had a “D” after his name saw the 5.6% unemployment rates trumpeted as “essentially full employment” with no “ifs, ands or buts” about it. Every day [31]
was a rainbow day when the last “D” President was in office, and most of the news was good news. If the stock market went up - you heard about it. If it went down, that was just a correction and some profit-taking; no big whoop. And even if American [32] interests and vessels were being blown up here, or overseas, there [33] was no terrorism. The only real terrorist was the homegrown one, and I think he was the only one put to death for it, too, if I recall. When the American president had a D after his name, the troops that were deployed were never in harm’s way, and they [34] were all going to be “home by Christmas.”

If the American President had a D after his name, do you think you would have to [35] be your own news service in order to get some relief from the unendingly bleak-everything-everywhere-is-bad-and-the-world-will-continue-to-spin-into darkness and all-nations-will-[36] continue to-hate the USA until-W-is-out-of-office and -our-guy-presumably-Hillary is-in-the- White House?

It’s going to take getting another D into the White House for good news [37] to be allowed out to play in the [38] American psyche, again. It may well take getting another D into the White House for our troops to be able to [39] rely upon their funding, for their heroism to be [40] noted and applauded with appropriate fanfare.

Voters are going to have to decide whether it’s worth it to put [41] Hillary Clinton and her husband back into the White House just to be able to hear a little good news and to feel the multi-layered, seven-year gloom, lift. I suspect that for many Americans who just want to hear that “everything is okay again today” - people like some of my elderly family members, and some of the younger ones, too - if that’s what it takes to be allowed to smile again, or to be allowed to feel good about America, once more - they’ll go for it.

Will anyone notice that we’ve [42] completely lost a [43] free and [44] independent press in the bargain? Perhaps [45] concerns for the [46] health and welfare of our [47] vital free press should [48] trump ideologies.

Some news you may not have read or heard elsewhere:

[49] British Military in Iraq reports dramatic drop in violence
Times of London: [50] Serious success in Iraq is not being recognized as it should be
[51] Treasury’s Income Mobility Report Blows Away ‘Mediocre Bush Economy’ and Other Myths
[52] Our Alliances are NOT in Disarray
[53] Tony Blair: Iraq War was Right Thing to Do
[54] Did CBS News Cook the Books on Vet Suicide Numbers?
[55] Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming Greatest Scam in History
[56] Ozone Hole is Shrinking

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