Media missing the mark on Iraq

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Media missing the mark on Iraq

Post by Kiny0625 on Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:21 am

July 11, 2008 10:00 AM EST

from indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance, I cannot call, but
one thing’s for certain: the media is missing the mark on Iraq. Some
have argued that the media’s liberal bias has distorted its lens,
while others say the reason the media isn’t properly covering the war
is because of a pro-conservative leaning. Still others blame it on
incompetence, claiming the media are not willing to dedicate adequate
resources for proper coverage. And of course there is the issue of
journalist safety in a country where no walking soul is safe from
terrorists. Whatever the reason for the poor coverage, it is sad to say
that the American public is not getting the media coverage on Iraq that
we deserve.

Most of the public who is still reading and watching
the news about Iraq seems to agree that the situation on the ground
there has improved but is still tenuous at best. And despite the poor
coverage, they are correct. The situation has not only improved in
terms of political benchmarks (the Iraqi government achieved
'satisfactory' progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks, almost twice
the number it had reached just a year ago, according to a White House
report) but also in regards to security and safety on the ground.
Surprisingly, or not surprisingly depending on your opinion, we almost
never hear about this progress in the news.

After the White
House released a progress report last week explaining how much the
situation in Iraq has improved, the media barely batted an eye. In
fact, the report was hardly considered first page in print or worth an
opening segment on the local or national television news. Although
conditions in Iraq have drastically improved since the much publicized
'surge', the American media is dropping the ball with its lack of
coverage. Not only are journalists and media outlets ignoring the
latest progress, they aren't pushing hard enough for change in the
areas where change must happen for more progress to occur.

example, why don't we hear about the huge profits the Iraq government
is receiving because of the oil boom? Why aren't journalists and
political pundits everywhere demanding that the Iraqis pick up more of
the war tab because of this financial windfall? And maybe worse yet,
what a travesty that nearly nobody is covering the story about Iraq's
recent press conference stating that they would open six oil fields to
international investment – without giving American companies
preference. After the money the United States has invested and devoted
to Iraq and the Middle East, we should be given complete control over
those oil fields as a thank you for our support. Instead, the Iraqi Oil
Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is playing the power game, claiming
that 'no external or internal politics is going to influence our
decision. We are blind to the nationality of the oil companies.'

however, this will never happen because a) it's pretty much illegal
(the Biden Amendment bars the use of United States funds 'to exercise
United States control over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of
Iraq.') and b) it would look pretty bad for everyone involved because
the claim could be directly made that Bush and his cronies went to war
knowing they would eventually grab control of the Iraqi fields. Despite
changing reasons for the war dozens of times, this administration does
not want to be known for starting a devastating war because of oil –
no matter how much it could help the pocketbooks of American citizens.
Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator for U.S. Labor Against War,
said just as much recently.

'Notwithstanding all of the denials
issued by the Bush administration and its international and domestic
partners in crime, the announcement this week that Exxon Mobil, Shell,
BP, Total and Chevron are expected to be awarded oil field development
contracts by the Iraqi government confirms what critics of the war have
charged all along – the principal objective of the invasion and
occupation has been and continues to be Western control over Iraqi oil
and gas.'

Obviously this is just anti-Iraq war / anti-Bush
rhetoric, but the general argument is enough for the Bush team to run
as fast as possible from anything along these lines. Even if the Iraqi
government were willing to give us control of the oil fields they are
opening (and as I said earlier, they should!), the Bush team and the
GOP would be wise to block the process until a democratic process for
awarding oil producing contracts has been implemented. If only American
companies are awarded control, it will look bad for the pioneers and
supporters of this war. If however a fair process is used to determine
which companies can invest in these fields as al-Shahristani claims,
then American oil companies will benefit without further harming
America's already poor international standing and Bush and the GOP's
dwindling approval rates.

All this talk of progress and sharing
the spoils may be premature though. Most of the American public still
thinks that most of Iraq is engulfed in hopeless chaos and ceaseless
conflict. In part, this is because the media's representation of the
war relies on sensationalism and reports of tragedy. Until the media
reassert themselves and start covering the war like they can and
should, Americans will not begin to see that the smoke is clearing in
Iraq. And we may risk losing the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of
our noble sacrifice.

'The Armstrong Williams Show' is broadcast on WPGC-AM 1580 in Washington and XM Satellite Power 169.


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