Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You have the right to be misinformed

Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq is as important as any of his others that have come home thanks to his outstanding work. the difference between this dispatch and the rest is the fact that he not only refutes the MSM's myths about Basra falling into chaos, but also because he's fed up with the MSM's continually lying ways:

All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.

I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.

No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public.

Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn—whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts.

Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic. But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe. ...

... Several upcoming dispatches will focus on how the situation in Southern Iraq has dramatically improved over past months. Ironically, the character of this improvement is distinguished by the lack of violence, as well as the increasing order and normality as Iraqi Security Forces step up to greater responsibility for security in the region. Though the local leadership picture in downtown Basra is fuzzier now that British forces have pulled further back to begin performing their long-planned overwatch phase, it is clear that this natural progression in turning Basra over to Iraqi control has not catapulted the city into chaos.

No one who’s actually been to this area in the last month could honestly claim it was swarming with violence. I’ve been with the Brits here for more than two weeks, during which time there have been only a few trivial attacks that could easily have been the work of an angry farmer with extra time on his hands and a mortar in his backyard. As to serious attacks on British forces, in the last eight weeks, there have been exactly zero. So, any stories that make it sound like Basra is in chaos are shamefully false.

In addition to being sick and tired of the media lying about what's going on in Iraq, Michael Yon is ready to put his money where his mouth is. In an effort to curb the MSM's misreporting, he is going to offer his dispatches to the National Newspaper Association for free. Now I know a lot of people don't think that's such a big deal, but it is. He, like Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, and a host of other embeds, do this on their own dime. Typically they'd charge the papers to pick up their dispatches. Michael Yon has decided it's far more important to get the truth out -- especially with regard to Basra.

A few people might have missed Charlie Gibson's snafu last week when he signed off the evening news with a report out of Iraq. It went something like this: (I can't remember the exact quote, and I can't find the video clip anywhere on the 'Net, but this did happen because I heard a radio host play it last week.)

And the news out of Iraq is that there isn't any. No reports of violence, bombings or shootings today. I repeat, there is no news out of Iraq today.

Let me translate the above. Nothing bad happened today, so there's nothing to report. If it bleeds, it leads is a news outlet's motto. They don't want to report the good news. That's not sexy enough for them. They want to see dead or maimed soldiers or civilians.

and that, folks, is truly disgusting. One would think that with the turnaround in the last six months the MSM would be reporting on that, but we saw that getting them to report on the Surge's successes was like yanking teeth on a crocodile. Not only did they not want to report on it, but more than a couple outlets tried to deny it; some even stated it was "smoke and mirrors" perpetuated by the White House. (I've heard of living in denial before, but this is ridiculous.)

So, we give kudos to Michael Yon for not only reporting on the non-violence of Basra, but also for taking a stand on the MSM that is over in Iraq, resting on their laurels in the Green Zone. See, that's where the majority of these fools sit -- safe behind the protection of the US military -- instead of doing what Yon and his associates do, which is go out to get the stories. And if his idea about giving his reports to the media outlets works, great. (Though I'm fairly pessimistic about the MSM accepting such reporting; we know from experience that they're far from balanced and fair.)

Indie embeds don't do this sort of reporting on the cheap. It takes a great deal of money to keep the stories coming. Yon would normally charge a fee to the outlets, but he's not doing that anymore. So we encourage readers to head on over to his site, and scroll to the bottom of this page. We have, and we will again, because he is among the few that are actually telling the truth about this war.

For people like Michael Yon, it's not all about "if it bleeds it leads." It's about the war -- both good and bad -- and making sure the people here in America get the truth and the facts of what's really going on on the ground.

Publius II


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