18 augustus 2005

How to avoid depression? Do not read newspapers! (De andere kijk)

Yesterday, 43 Iraqis were killed by three very well coordinated suicide bombs. The first terrorist blew himself up in a bus station; shortly afterwards, a second one detonated himself at the exit of the bus station; the last one went off at the nearby hospital, where the wounded were rushed to. The bus station was mostly used by Sheats heading to southern Iraq. It is another cruel example of Al Qaeda-types deliberately targeting fellow Muslims. They offer no future to Iraqis.

The latest attack took place just before the negotiations about the constitution resumed after the deadline for reaching agreement was extended with one week after missing the initial deadline on Monday. In my newspaper today, the journalist called the delay very bad news for the Iraqi ‘regime’ (he consistently calls the elected government that way, it is a disgrace). The extension would be viewed as a sign of weakness, inciting more violence from the ‘insurgents’. That interpretation is probably the favourite for many journalists.

Another interpretation of the delay is however possible. Just read the following post by Bill Roggio. Despite the, admittedly, disappointing delay, he lists 4 positives:

1) Iraqi’s have followed the appropriate legal and political process to demand an extension;
2) The parties in power have a vested interested in seeking a compromise now;
3) The requested extension of one week indicates there is room for negotiations to succeed in such a short amount of time;
4) The delay was not brought on by any actions of the ‘insurgency’.

This may be an optimistic view, but like Roggio, I bet the pessimists didn’t think Iraqis would now be at this stage of the political process either. So wait and see.

The above shows again that, if it weren’t for the blogosphere offering a competing view, we would have to rely on the MSM’s coverage alone. It goes without saying that we would all be very depressed by now by the continuing reports about car bombs. But luckily there are bloggers, like Arthur Chrenkoff (he will retire soon now, but others will follow his footsteps), who bring the good news. Their message reaches a lot of people in America, creating a lot of debate about the MSM’s coverage, as this story shows. But we cannot underestimate the role of US soldiers in this as well. If even they, vulnerable to the enemy’s bullets and IED’s, say that morale is high, things can’t be that bad, can they? It seems that journalists live in another universe, blinded by their prejudice, as the following exchange between a journalist and a captain again shows (hat tip: Chrenkoff). After the journalist was told by the soldiers that morale was high, disbelievingly, he chose to pursue this:
LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.
So Americans may be offered a competing view, in Europe things are a little bit different as European countries have no or relatively few (compared to the US) soldiers on the ground who can communicate their experiences and as the blogosphere doesn’t have the same influence like in America: we haven’t pulled off a Rathergate or an Easongate, yet. Like in many other areas, Europe is lagging the US in countering the MSM’s information monopoly. Hopefully, we will catch up quickly.

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