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Jewish World Review
Jan. 19, 2005
/ 9 Shevat, 5765
Another mainstream media disgrace
The Washington Post's Dana Priest has demonstrated yet again why so many
Americans don't trust the "mainstream" media to tell the truth about what is
going on in the war on terror.
Her story Jan. 14th on a study by the National Intelligence Council, the
CIA's think tank, ran under the scare headline: "Iraq New Terror Breeding
Ground. War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report."
One wouldn't gather from the headline or Priest's lead that the study,
"Mapping the Global Future," has next to nothing to do with Iraq. Based on
interviews with 1,000 non-government experts around the world, it paints
three possible scenarios for what the world might look like in 2020.
The most important developments in the next 15 years, these experts said,
will be the rise of China and India as economic powers that could rival the
United States, and the decline of Europe, due to its shrinking and aging
population and sclerotic welfare states.
Priest hangs her scary lead on a single sentence in the 119 page report:
"The al-Qaida membership that was distinguished by having trained in
Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the
dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq."
This is the rather commonplace observation that over time, veterans of the
current war will replace veterans of the war against the Russians in
Afghanistan 20 years ago as the leaders of al Qaida. The calendar alone
guarantees that. But Priest describes this single sentence as: "an
evaluation of Iraq's new role as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists."
Except, of course, there is nothing "new" about Iraq being a breeding ground
for terrorists. Saddam Hussein had a special camp at Salman Pak to train
terrorists from other lands, and had given sanctuary to terrorist leaders,
including one of the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing,
and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian who is the leader of al Qaida in
Iraq. The biggest thing that's changed since the American invasion is that
now there is a high likelihood that jihadists who come to Iraq will be
But if Priest told the truth, she couldn't turn a story on a report that has
little to do with Iraq into an attack on Bush administration policy.
Priest and the Washington Post are hardly the only news organs to slant
their reportage to put the situation in Iraq in the worst possible light.
Marine Corporal Isaac Pacheco, who works in the Coalition public affairs
office in Baghdad, wondered why no one in the "mainstream" media has seen
fit to do a story on Sgt. Addie Collins, an Army reservist from Los Angeles,
who -- through donations from friends back home -- has supplied 10,000 pairs
of sneakers, sandals and boots to children in Ar Ramadi.
"Many service members shake their heads in frustration each time they see
their daily rebuilding efforts ignored by the media," Pacheco said.
Web logger Bruce Thompson (Machias Privateer) notes that even with all the
terrorist attacks, the murder rate in Iraq, on a per capita basis, is about
the same as in Chicago. Don't expect to see this fact reported in the
Washington Post anytime soon.
"I just read yet another distorted and grossly exaggerated story from a
major news organization about the 'failures' in the war in Iraq," LtCol. Tim
Ryan, a battalion commander in the First Cavalry Division, wrote in an email
"Print and video journalists are covering only a small fraction of the
events in Iraq, and more often than not, the events they cover are only the
bad ones," said Ryan, who is now stationed in Fallujah. "Many of the
journalists making public assessments about the progess of the war in Iraq
are unqualified to do so, given their training and experience. The
inaccurate picture they paint has distorted the world view of the daily
realities in Iraq."
Ryan wondered why journalists devote so little attention to atrocities
committed by the resistance, and so much on scandals like Abu Ghraib that
reflect poorly on Americans.
"The media serves as the glass through which a relatively small event can be
magnified to international proportions, and the enemy is exploiting this
with incredible ease," Ryan said. "It's a disgrace when many on whom the
world relies for news paint such an incomplete picture of what actually has
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