Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Popular Spin

I was rather surprised (although I suppose I shouldn't have been) to hear a story on Good Morning America this morning about how the press is covering Iraq. Yesterday they asked viewers if they think the coverage is too negative. I interrupted my work preparations to add my two cents to the thousands of others doing the same on their discussion board. I didn't take any time to think it through, just went with my gut reaction. Here's their question:

President Bush said Tuesday that Americans are losing confidence in the war in Iraq partly because the media covers only the violence, which is exactly what the insurgents want.

Do you agree or disagree? How do you think the media should cover the war in Iraq? Which stories do you feel are not being told? Which stories are receiving too much media attention?
And here's my response:

Are you seriously taking a survey so we can help you decide how to "create" the news? Is it all about ratings and doing what's popular? It's your job to report the reality of what is happening, positive or negative, and without sources like you we have no basis for knowing what the truth is. It's not your job to make us feel good about ourselves (or our nation). It's not your job to sway us toward a particular political position. If good things are happening, tell us about them, but don't go looking for stories just because people ask for it. Report on the actuality of the situation in a comprehensive manner so we can see everything that is going on, good and bad. Life is complex and so are the things happening in Iraq, so let us see it all, but in proportion to the experiences of those living through it. I'm not there, so don't ask me to tell you whether that means more attention for which stories, ask those in Iraq--Iraqis from different backgrounds, soldiers, etc. Don't ask your viewers.
What do you think?


Leelu said...

Good answer!

Hadrian said...

I would say you're spot on.

scott said...

I concur with the two previous commenters. Have you thought about a career as an editorialist?