Western Journalists Redeploy From Iraq

Wouldn’t want them reporting the good news now, would we?

The number of foreign journalists in Baghdad is declining sharply, a media withdrawal that reflects Iraq’s growing stability and the financial strains faced by some news organizations.

Stable? Who the hell authorized that word in the first paragraph on the front page of the Washington Post? Oh, wait, forgot, it’s Saturday, and most of the high level editors get snockered Friday evenings at their Conservative bashing cocktail parties. My Bad!

Interesting how they mention financial strains of the news orgs, a situation created partly by the Internet, and partly because the media tends to be biased as hell, so people will not pay for a paper.

In a stark indication of the changing media focus here, the number of journalists traveling with American forces in Iraq has plummeted in the past year. U.S. military officials say they “embedded” journalists 219 times in September 2007. Last month, the number shrank to 39. Of the dozen U.S. newspapers and newspaper chains that maintained full-time bureaus in Baghdad in the early years of the war, only four are still permanently staffed by foreign correspondents. CBS and NBC no longer keep a correspondent in Baghdad year-round.

It is not entirely fair to say that the Credentialed Media does not care about good news from Iraq, as they generally do not care about good news at all. As the saying goes, there is no news in a plane that doesn’t crash. But, it is interesting that cBS and NBC, two of the worlds major news networks, do not have a year round correspondent, and that very few papers bother, either. Remember that next time something happens and they start reporting it. From outside Iraq.

“It remains important and it remains interesting,” said Alissa J. Rubin, the New York Times‘ acting bureau chief in Baghdad. “But what’s in front of us now is almost a static situation. There’s not a clear narrative line. The stories are more complex.”

Complex. Can’t have that kind of, you know, journalism thing going on. Especially when it shows an improved situation based on The Surge, which John McCain was for, and Barack Obama was against.

News coverage that once centered largely on the U.S. military experience is shifting, like the country itself, to a story of Iraqis taking the halting, often mundane steps toward building their own government.

No blood for them (preferably American blood), so, no story.

Gen. David G. Perkins, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said stories about violence get top billing. Less-sensational events, such as a recent voter-registration drive for the highly anticipated provincial elections expected early next year, go largely uncovered in the Western news media, he said.

“There are a lot of things going on, a lot of very complicated things going on. And to cover that, you really have to understand the details and the sophistication of it,” Perkins said. “When you have a big explosion where 20 people die, it doesn’t take much understanding of the intricacies of what’s going on in the country to run out there with a camera and report that 20 people have been killed.”

The media do not care to engage in detailed and complicated stories, which would require thought and the need to do real reporting, as opposed to “Bush lied, kids died.” Most of the MSM failed to relay the complicated, detailed, and serious story about Saddam violating sanctions, Clinton signing the Iraq Liberation Act, passed by a Democrat led Senate, and the enormous number of world leaders, Democrat legislators, and world intelligence agencies who all stated Iraq had WMD programs. Most of them ignored the complex situation of how terrorist training camps were scattered all over Iraq, not to mention why al Qaeda members, such as Zarqawi (who is now wondering where all the Virgins are), were in Iraq. (I am not implying a link between AQ and Iraq for 9/11, mind you.)

Now, the media motto may be “good news is no news,” but, after years of tearing the mission down, carrying the Democrat and Nutroots anti-war talking points, reporting on every little minor problem, it is time for the media to step up and report the good news from Iraq more often. Some stories make it in, but, they are few and far between. Something such as

Less than a year ago, Sunni and Shiia tribal groups in the north of Iraq’s Babil province were divided. Now, they celebrate and share meals together for both large and small occasions.

Two of the largest tribes in this region celebrated Eid al-Fitr together to mark the end of Ramadan, and they welcomed back two members released from detention – a stark contrast to the way these tribes approached each other not long ago.