Iraq: The Untold Story

Here's a reporter, Home from Iraq, explaining why it is we never, ever, see an article in our newspapers that explains why, from their own point of view, the 'insurgents' in Iraq are fighting. (If there's been one in the media I read, I certainly missed it.)

If nothing else, it demonstrates that the US military has total message control. Given the extreme danger for an American of venturing anywhere in Iraq these days, I don't find it that easy to blame the media here — except for failing to level with us about what they aren't doing.

Update (5/12): A really interesting and very spirited debate over this editorial is currently running at Romenesko's letters forum at poynter.org. Alas, the forum doesn't allow permalinks to current stuff, so you'll have to hunt for the May 10-11 content.

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9 Responses to Iraq: The Untold Story

  1. zwichenzug says:

    The New Yorker had a story last fall (or maybe it was last spring?) by a guy who built a pretty good relationship with a family in the Sunni triangle. It’s the best I’ve seen, but I can’t remember the exact citation…

  2. Bricklayer says:

    “If there’s been one in the media I read, I certainly missed it.”

    That’s because apparently all you do is read leftist blogs and play with linux, so your friendly neighborhood conservative will point the way. The left has already put out all kinds of schlockumentaries about the islamofascist butchers. excuse me “freedom fighters”. if you really need a fix of hearing people use poverty as an excuse to kill americans and jews, then ask your local cable company to carry this channel like directv does:
    http://www.linktv.org/
    You’d love this channel. I know because I hate it.

    And of course:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage

    Now when your done with leftist propaganda, I strongly suggest you read the translations of middle east press editorials and fundamentalist leader writings offered here:
    http://www.memri.org/iraq.html

    Be careful what you ask for.

    “see an article in our newspapers”

    You’ve gotten much better than articles. You’ve seen recordings of them severing the heads off of innocent human rights workers that they’ve been so kind to release to our media. Do you watch those tapes michael? I’m sure the great al jazeera still has them on their website. Its saddening that those videos have slipped from the memories of so many Americans. Or are the videos too brutal for some? Should such events be sterilized in the form of the printed word, to protect the squimish?

    “why, from their own point of view, the ‘insurgents’ in Iraq are fighting”

    Are they really fighting michael? They are resorting to the most cowardly of tacticts, deliberately targeting innocent civilians in some cases. Is that fighting? Ask yourself what they are really doing. They are butchering. There isn’t a single act by an american soldier you’ve criticized on this blog that they haven’t one-upped by doing something worse. They’ve slit the throats of innocent aid workers, and sent us video tapes. Your “fighters” are indeed getting their airtime. Buy yourself a dish and you can tune into al jazeera yourself.

    Where has this “reporter” been for the last 30+ years? Has she ever heard of a place called Iran? The goal of these people is an islamic fundamentalist state. They hate her, her way of life, and her beliefs. She sticks her head in the sand and wants to believe that some other cause than the evil that lurks within men must be to blame. All the better if she can show that its all OUR fault.

    many Americans aren’t willing to torture someone, even if it might mean we get information that saves us from attack. they feel in the long run, we’re a better nation if we absorb losses in the name of human rights and dignity. and as much as you hate bush and rumsfeld and accuse them of ordering torture and other crimes, there’s a limit to what orders our troops will implement. at some point, our boys restrain themselves and the occasional tragedy aside, they’ve done so throughout history. but look at what her “other side” does to achieve its ends. how can whatever it is they want be worth what they’re having to do to achieve it? what does it say about her, that such comparisons aren’t obvious?

    Ever since Hemmingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, naive liberals have had a knee-jerk sympathy and tendency to glorify any “rebel” movement regardless of its cause or true motives. How long before Jimmy Carter holds a sit down with bin laden and shares some of castro’s cigars with him? This is a predictable result when one has no moral compass, other than to simply assume that all authority is bad. In Iraq, we the American people have become the authority. These butchers kill our boys, so there’s a knee jerk reaction on the left to presume that the resistance is morally correct. Unable to understand how her liberal notions of mankind have gone wrong, she is grasping to find someone to blame. I’m sure if she could do her “investigative journalism” on the “resistance fighters”, she’d come to the conclusion that its all America’s fault.

    are they “fighters” michael? are palestinian terrorists who slaughter jewish babies “resistance fighters” or simply “gunmen” as CNN calls them?

    the reporter’s speech is nothing more than some attempt on her part to find some kind of meaning to the horrific violence that she’s undoubtedly seen. You observe that our media doesn’t cover the “insurgent’s” side of things, but do you also observe that the same media sanitizes the carnage the islamofascists produce? Show us the bodies. People need to see how they are butchering human beings over there. Instead the media plays to the liberal baby boomer crowd by chastizing Americans with photos of an iraqi in abu gharib with panties on his head. The horror the horror you cry! Show the pictures of the american soldier whose head lays 30 feet from his body, and see what America feels about the need to hear their side of things.

    I don’t blame the military for keeping stupid reporters from venturing too far into harms way. They end up as hostages, and they end up used as propaganda tools by the enemy. Why should american boys have to ever risk their lives on a rescue mission for some self aggrandizing powerfrau who thinks that somehow she’s going to be the one to provide the world some unique, never before considered insight into the rationale behind the bloodlust of the “insurgents”? There is absolutely no need for that when the reporters of al jazeera have the apparent ability to conduct all the interviews and record all the beheadings we need to see, with no risk to themselves or our boys. Psychologists will have plenty of time to interview and analyze our prisoners at gauntanimo someday, just like we had the chance to interview nazis and fanatical japanese after WWII. We didn’t learn much then, what makes her think she’s going to find something new now? Her Kentucky education?

    I don’t think she’s a traitor, just pathologically naive.

    I also see that its not just lawyers and judges who see themselves as the new aristocracy. Apparently journalists feel the world revolves around them as well. Its neauseating that she spent so much time surrounded by real heroes of the republic, yet has the gall to aggrandize herself as a hero “in her own little way”. Patrick Henry indeed. Listen honey I knew Patrick Henry, and bin laden and al zarquiwi are no Patrick Henry. Its reporters like her who give a bad name to the real female reporters making inroads into exposing islamic culture like Christianne Amanpur.

    I think the the story of Iraq is being told. Its just that some don’t care to listen.

  3. E-mart says:

    Molly Bingham is a graduate of Harvard and Nieman Fellow with an extensive photojournalism resume. You’d be more persuasive Bricklayer if you toned down your ignorant backhanded slights regarding her Kentucky education and her status as a “reporter”. As one who clearly feels there is a single side to every story, though, you do make Ms. Bingham’s point quite nicely.

  4. Bricklayer says:

    E-mart-
    I pointed michael directly to the other side of the “story” at the top of my comment. Apparently, I’m better informed about where to read the point of view of the muslim world than michael or Bingaham. I’m not necessarily proud of that fact though.

    Bingham’s problem is that she is either ignorant of that coverage, or its not good enough for her. Do we need the other side of the story? Sure. Do we need it from her? No.

    There’s always one ignoramous at the sports bar who thinks everyone else in the bar needs to hear his commentary instead of the paid announcers. Her tv is on mute apparently.

    Or, E-mart, do you feel that the sources I directed michael to are not adequate, that indeed, its worth the risk to pretty little reporters, and our boys who might have to go rescue them, to send them out to cover the other side? Tell us, e-mart, in light of all the sources already out there, what should the constraints on female journalists in war zones be? None?

    Just because I’m a jerk doesn’t make me wrong.

  5. michael says:

    Mr. Bricklayer:

    The point of the item was not that there is no information available anywhere about what the ‘insurgents’ think. The point was that this information is not being transmitted by the US media to its customers.

    The fact that foreign sources have it readily accessible would only make it worse.

    Incidentally, this constitutes your final warning as to civility, a quite separate issue from reading comprehension. If matters do not improve at once, I will have you disemvowelled.

    -A. Michael Froomkin

    [For those not familiar with that technique, it would render the above as:

    Mr. Brcklyr: Th pnt f th tm ws nt tht thr s n nfrmtn vlbl nywhr bt wht th ‘nsrgnts’ thnk. Th pnt ws tht ths nfrmtn s nt bng trnsmttd b th S md t ts cstmrs. Th fct tht frgn srcs hv t rdl ccssbl wld nl mk t wrs. ncdntll, ths cnsttts yr fnl wrnng s t cvlt, qt sprt ss frm rdng cmprhnsn. f mttrs d nt mprv t nc, wll hv y dsmvwlld. -. Mchl Frmkn

    ]

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  7. E-mart says:

    First, Michael’s beef (and Ms. Bingham’s point) was with “our newspapers,” as he elaborates in his response above. Now, there is commentary (as linked by Michael in his update) at Romanesko listing a handful of domestic articles that would serve to contradict Ms. Bingham’s claim, although they are older and as she says the one-sidedness of reporting is becoming an increasing phenomenon. But you’re not citing to those to rebut Michael’s post or Bingham’s claim. While a domestic broadcast, I think Link TV is no more within the scope of domestic mainstream news media (i.e. one that actually reaches a widespread public) than is the Golf Channel.

    Second, you don’t even cite al Jazeera and Link TV as valid representations of the other side — they are instead “leftist propaganda” (while MEMRI is unbiased?). How silly to now claim that you highlight these sources as sufficiently representing the “other side of the story,” when your comment is devoted to delegitimizing that “point of view”. Your position that Ms. Bingham is wrong because there are other sources to tell the other side is disingenuous, where you debase such sources and their perspectives.

    Lay it out — you want domestic reporters to depict events in a way that serves domestic interests. Show the carnage, no context, and stoke American rage at the Other, so long as the Other remains an evil and unhuman facade. In discussing the professional ideals of journalism, there is no place for such division of journalistic labor along nationalistic lines.

    Journalists (including the “pretty little” “female” ones – a little misogynistic are we?) serve an impartial, international role equivalent to medical relief, and their rights of access should only be self-restricted based upon practical considerations at the time, not imposed by the governmental agencies that would utilize such restrictions for the purpose of directing information control.

  8. heh says:

    I, too, am a little saddened to watch discourse.net turn into a “liberals vs conservatives” mud-throwing competition.

    Can’t you people be more polite to each other please?

    I recommend only accepting posts from readers with a .ca suffix if this keeps up much longer.
    Our neighbors to the north are more civil.

  9. E-mart says:

    My apologies if I have contributed to a noncollegial atmosphere (I should have just let the misogyny go without comment). I would note that my use of the term “ignorant” was intended in its literal sense, not as a perjorative, as Bricklayer was exhibiting a lack of knowledge as to Ms. Bingham’s background. However, I do feel there is legitimate discussion to be had as to the role of journalists in the context of military action, particularly as to the degree of message control thereby induced, and I think, apart from some of Bricklayer’s comments straying afield, that’s what we have here.

    —–

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