For those of us who've complained for more than two years that this White House was ill-serving the troops in Iraq by not making the public case for Iraq, that changed this week in Wheeling, W.Va.
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By noontime, Mr. Bush was in Wheeling delivering the third in a series of public speeches to defend the Iraq war.
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Holding a hand microphone, Mr. Bush walked around a stage before a few thousand people giving a largely extemporaneous talk on Iraq and his presidency. It was mesmerizing.
The appearance included this military couple asking the President why media coverage on Iraq was so negative, generating loud applause. The incident was followed up by this article in which ABC was forced to admit that the vast majority of viewer messages received agreed that the media were biased.
Over the last 24 hours, ABC News has been reading hundreds of messages sent in by viewers in response to President Bush's claim that the media are undermining support for war in Iraq.
Viewer opinions ran the gamut, but the vast majority believed the media were biased in their Iraq coverage.
Tim Graham of the NRO notes that the third anniversary of the war for a free Iraq occasioned a wrong turn for the media.
On Tuesday, NBC’s Today planned to discuss media coverage of the war — certainly an underexplored angle — with Laura Ingraham and James Carville. NBC’s question: "Is American getting a fair picture of what’s actually happening in Iraq?" Ingraham came out of the blocks with fire, doing something no conservative does who wants to be invited on TV ever again. She went straight at her hosts:The Today Show spends all this money to send people to the Olympics, which is great, it was great programming. All this money for "Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?" Bring The Today Show to Iraq. Bring The Today Show to Tal Afar. Do the show from the 4th ID at Camp Victory and then when you talk to those soldiers on the ground, when you go out with the Iraqi military, when you talk to the villagers, when you see the children, then I want [challenge] NBC to report on only the IEDs, only the killings, only the reprisals.
Conservatives at home heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" in their heads. One of the TV networks finally allowed someone to say they were unfair, unbalanced, and even lazy. Ingraham lectured:To do a show from Iraq means to talk to the Iraqi military to go out with the Iraqi military, to actually have a conversation with the people instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off.
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But the interview caused a wave of reaction. Bill O’Reilly gave Ingraham another chance to push her message.
And Hugh Hewitt appeared not once but twice this week on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, the second time with Michael Yon. Transcript here, and video here.
By the way, one of the other reporters on Cooper's panel was Michael Ware. This is what military historian and author Victor David Hanson had to say about Ware's appearance on CNN during Hugh Hewitt's radio show last night (from Radio Blogger):
HH: Now Victor Davis Hanson, how do you respond to that?
VDH: Is that man a journalist?
HH: Well, he's the Time Magazine Baghdad bureau chief.
VDH: That's just a mockery of what we would call sober and judicious reporting.
Over on this side of the pond, don't forget Eric Staal's appearance on the German talk-show Berliner Runde, which he summed up in a subsequent TCSDaily article:
While it would be unrealistic to expect that European officials charged with managing relations to the United States defend policies they do not support, it should not be too much to ask for them to avoid indulging in anti-American propaganda.
Meanwhile, back at ABC, Matt Drudge has an exclusive on a 2004 email from one ABC exec to another:
A top producer at ABC NEWS declared "Bush makes me sick" in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.
John Green, currently executive producer of the weekend edition of GOOD MORNING AMERICA, unloaded on the president in an ABC company email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.
"If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke," Green complained.
Then there was this revealing confession from another media executive that Christopher Hitchens told Hugh Hewitt about the other day:
This is not a guy who's in any way a conservative, and said you know, we've known each other for a bit. He said you know, I'm beginning to think you must be right, because it really worries me what we're doing, when we are giving the other side the impression that all they need to do is hang on until the end of this administration.
Perception or Reality?
Tim Graham offers some data to back up these widespread observations:
Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center laid out the general negative pattern of Iraq coverage in studying the first nine months of evening news coverage in 2005.
He found 61 percent of the stories were dominated by a negative focus or pessimistic analysis, compared to only 14 percent that featured achievements or optimistic assessments.
Two out of every five stories featured car bombings, assassinations, or other terrorist attacks.
Just eight stories recounted episodes of heroism by U.S. troops, and another nine featured soldiers helping the Iraqi people.
But 79 stories focused on allegations of combat mistakes or egregious misconduct by U.S. military personnel.
Christopher Hitchens and ABC on the MSM's Iraq Coverage
Take the German MSM - Please!