Friday, November 18, 2005

Bloody Media Lefties

Supporters of the invasion of Iraq often claim that the notoriously liberal media establishment are ignoring the good news from Iraq and concentrating on the bad. An irrational hatred of Dubya seems to be considered to be the standard motivation for these outrageously biased reports.

Unsurprisingly, I don't agree with that view. Today, those evil leftie's at the BBC are reporting that a number of suicide bomb attacks have occured in Iraq. At least 65 people have been killed and 80 injured in the attacks. Bloody liberals...

I just don't understand how people can take that attitude. Don't shoot the messenger people. Iraq is a very dangerous and unstable place. To my mind, the mainstream media has consistently downplayed the bad news from Iraq. Try to imagine the type of media coverage which such attacks would generate if they'd happened in the UK or the US. It would be on an entirely different scale. What's more, many of the people who accuse the media of playing up the bad news in Iraq would be the very same one's who'd be encouraging, welcoming, and amplifying the media's (quite justified) outraged coverage of the attacks.

In Iraq, it's just another day of attacks. These attacks are very unlikely to make the front pages of tomorrow's newspapers. And yet, they are clearly worse than the attacks of the 7th July. Those attacks still make the front pages of the newpapers but today's attacks in Iraq will not. It's a classic double standard. Iraqi lives are apparently less important than British ones. Why? Is an Iraqi worth less than a Briton or an American? No, clearly not. (If you think the answer's yes then I'd expect a clear explanation as to why. Otherwise, I'm likely to consider you xenophobic at best.)

The straightforward explanation is that suicide bombs in Iraq are no longer newsworthy because they happen on such a frequent basis. The capacity to shock the reader/viewer has greatly diminished as a result. And as a result of that, the mainstream media doesn't focus on the attacks in the way that they ought to. The attacks will get coverage, but they won't be big news.* Because of this, I find claims that the media is the problem to be difficult to get to grips with.

The attacks themselves are very worrying. Two Shia mosques were targetted in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to stir up sectarian hatred in an area which had been relatively peaceful until now. These attacks are clearly the work of Sunni insurgents/terrorists. I have a strong suspicion that they are a reaction to this. (Note: this is not a justification but an explanation of the attacks. Please don't confuse the two.) It's just one more indication that the battle for hearts and minds is not being won.

The Vice-President isn't having it. He'll not have people questioning the motives and actions of the Whitehouse, no matter what evidence emerges. There's a war on, you know. We must unite against the common enemy. You're either with us or against us...

The Democrat leader, Senator Harry Reid, in response to Dick, shows that, unlike Dick, he understands the real problem:
Trust and confidence in the United States has been seriously eroded... We are seen by many in the Middle East as an obstacle to peace, an aggressor and an occupier. Our purpose and power are questioned.
That's it in a nutshell. That's why the whole Iraq debacle has been so damaging to the United States and its allies (us, unfortunately). Whatever the truth is, the most important thing to understand is how it has been perceived by people in the Middle East and by Muslims in general. It's not hard to see why so many Muslims now distrust the motives and actions of the US government in this. In fact, I, a Scottish atheist, often find myself questioning these same issues. Saddam had no WMD and was not in league with Bin Laden. They could have found this out without invading so why did they attack Iraq?

Having thought about this long and hard over a prolonged period, and having considered the various theories (some quite outlandish, some more plausible), I've come to the conclusion that it was because those in command at the Whitehouse are simplistic morons. All things considered, that's probably the least worst option. The others are too frightening to contemplate.

* With the possible exception of the Indy or Grauniad.

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