In his speech (last week), Rumsfeld said: "We've arrived at a strange time in this country, where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press and reported and spread around the world, often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact."But this was my favorite part:
... "When something goes wrong in Iraq or there's a possibility of something going wrong, it gets very big play," [National Review Editor Rich Lowry] says. "And if the situation improves or doomsday doesn't come about, it gets almost no play. There's a tendency by a lot of the media to believe the worst of the military. A lot of reporters are skeptical of the war and of Bush, and their coverage tends to conform to that point of view."
Marjorie Miller, foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, says it's "a little hard to focus on positive stories when 10 men have just been blown up or bombs are going off every day. I think we do a pretty good job of balancing it."
Rumsfeld cited as a positive development the emergence of "a vital and engaged media ... with some 100 newspapers in Iraq now." He did not mention the Los Angeles Times disclosure that the Pentagon has paid some of those papers to carry positive stories written by military officers.Ah, now it all makes sense to me. When the press portrays the Iraqi situation in an inaccurate light, it's unforgivable and outrageous bias. When the Bush administration portrays events in an inaccurate light, it's okay because it provides "balance" by counteracting the media's bias.
When Vice President Cheney says, as he did in June, that the insurgency is in its "last throes," journalists naturally start to wonder whether the administration officials are being candid. "As a balance to overly negative media coverage," Lowry says, "they give us overly positive statements."
Thanks for clearing that up, Rich.