April 13, 2005

Shiavo and Pope are Not Real News for the American Left

You can always count on the Democratic Underground to be consistently out standing in a field, especially if a caretaker isn't there to usher them back inside the home. Mary Shaw's April 12 op-ed "Mind Control and the American Media" is a wonderful case in point.

Shaw wants us to consider the fact that the Terri Shiavo case occupied the media for a significant segment in March, and then the media transitioned rapidly into near 24-hour coverage of the last days, death, and burial of Pope John Paul II. This was apparently an unacceptable use of media time for Shaw:

"...the media has had very little to say about Iraq, where several more U.S. soldiers have been killed, the Abu Ghraib prison was attacked by insurgents, and a Belgian soldier died from "friendly fire" by U.S. troops.

"While the Schiavo case and the papal passing were certainly interesting and poignant stories, did they really merit 23 hours of coverage per day on the cable news channels, while other events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen went unreported?"

Cleary, Shaw's opinion of what constitutes "events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen" is the real topic of this article.

Shaw would apparently like to have more focus on events in Iraq. She calls for more media coverage of solider deaths, the Abu Ghraib prison attack, and a friendly fire event that killed a Belgian soldier. Do you notice a theme?

Shaw seems focused only on the negative events in Iraq, and apparently would waste no words on the successful capture of high-ranking Baathists and terrorist leaders, the increasingly rapid pace, scale, and success of raids by Iraqi forces against criminals and terrorists, nor would she mention the truly historic appointment of a former dissident Kurd to the Iraqi Presidency. No, Shaw is focused on dead soldiers, terrorist attacks, and U.S. troops killing a Belgian soldier.

There are a few problems with her proposition, starting with the simple fact that there are no Belgian troops stationed in Iraq.

One can only assume that she must have been speaking about the March 7 death of a Jr. Sgt. Gardev, a Bulgarian soldier tragically shot by U.S. forces in a friendly-fire incident while on patrol southeast of Diwaniya, Iraq.

Shaw fails to mention that just an hour after Gardev's death, a communist journalist by the name of Guiliana Sgrena was wounded, and a Italian security officer killed, when their driver ran an American checkpoint in Baghdad. That incident dominated the media for days, until physical evidence started contradicting Sgrena's hysterical claims, at which point the story quickly fizzled out in the liberal media.

The other two incidents, while tragic, don't measure up to the immediacy standard that Shaw herself wants to impose with her "events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen" criteria.

Sadly, over 1,500 brave men and women have died in combat in Iraq, but after two full years of combat, these loses are viewed by the media and American public as a routine, if tragic, fact of war. There are only so many ways to say that an American soldier was killed in combat, and these deaths are mentioned consistently and dutifully across all media, even if the MSM doesn't linger on these deaths as long as Shaw would apparently like. The Shiavo case, half a world closer than Iraq, was also much more immediate; as any American may one day be forced to rely on another to determine whether they should live or die. It does not get any more immediate or personal that contemplating your own demise, so by Shaw's own standards, the Schiavo case was more newsworthy for most Americans than any event in Iraq over the past month.

Which brings us to the final event Shaw would drum up airplay for, the Abu Ghraib prison attack. This was a complete tactical defeat for the terrorists, freeing not one prisoner, nor killing a single Coalition or Iraqi soldier, while heavy casualties were inflicted upon the attacking terrorist forces. This was not overlooked in the media, but with no American losses, the liberal MSM was more than willing to allow this story to become a footnote instead of a defining event. The death of the nearly three-decade leader of a religious group that has a billion followers worldwide and millions of followers in the U.S. is far more immediate and newsworthy than any event in Iraq of the past year. Once again, Shaw fails her own test.

These events are also have more immediacy than the other events Shaw would have the media focus more time on, specifically inquiries into Tom Delay's ethics, and lawsuits against Donald Rumsfeld. Both of these events are long-horizon, which could drag on far into the foreseeable future (or as long as they have merit).

Shaw says further:

"The media are in business to make money. Sensational stories like the Schiavo case and the death of the pope can easily be spun into headlines that sell papers. But the media have a moral responsibility to give us all the news of the day, even if the truth hurts."
Did Mary Shaw find out about military deaths in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib attack, and the friendly-fire death of a Bulgarian (not Belgian) soldier thorough her own private news sources? I suspect not. She obtained this information from news media, or from sources who interact with the news media. Obviously, Mary Shaw is getting the news she seeks, just not with the spin or in the amount she desires.

Perhaps she should be more straightforward and admit that what disturbs her is insufficient amounts of negative news about the Iraqi War, though I can think of better uses of Mary Shaw's time.

I'd suggest she start by learning the subtle differences between Bulgaria and Belgium.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 13, 2005 02:58 AM | TrackBack