The Voice Of The Iraqi People

Glenn Reynolds has been closely following yesterday’s pro-democracy protests in Iraq in which thousands of Iraqis took to the streets demanding an end to terrorism and a beginning of Iraqi democracy. He also links to several pieces discussing why the media largely ignored the mass demonstrations.

I think The Weekly Standard has the right take on this:

Four weeks ago, MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” asked me to go to Baghdad in search of the story most of the mainstream media were missing. The network’s vice president knew I was a supporter of the war, and suggested I find out if things had really gone as horribly wrong as the evening newscasts and major print dailies reported. What I found is that, in Iraq, the mounting body count is heartbreaking, but the failure of American journalism is tragic.

First, some popular illusions that need to be dispelled: Most correspondents for newscasts do very little, if any, actual reporting. They assemble the visual elements of a jigsaw puzzle whose shape is dictated by an unholy deity–“the wires.” Every day, the Associated Press and Reuters offer an account of the major events in Iraq. If a bomb has exploded or an American soldier has been killed, that is the day’s major event. Barring that, an alarming comment from an American official, like Ambassador Paul Bremer or General Ricardo Sanchez, will suffice.

You have a group of people who never wanted this war and want to it fail now, and will use their reporting to ensure that it does, knowingly or unknowingly. The barrage of negative reporting is based on a kind of journalistic groupthink in which the journalists who live in the same areas of Baghdad and are shown the same things by the same former Ba’athists all file the same stories without leaving their protective physical and intellectual bubble for any degree of time.

At the same time, Iraqi bloggers such as Zayed of Healing Iraq are scooping the world media on the real stories of Iraq straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s clear that the old system of hierarchical top-down journalism is failing to present the real story of the post-Saddam age in Iraq. However, those who live there are doing a far better job – which explains why the readership of Old Media is dropping while readership in the blogosphere is continuing to grow.

One thought on “The Voice Of The Iraqi People

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.