Media Bias In Iraq War Reporting?

by on September 22nd, 2005

Between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16 U.S. and Iraqi forces staged an operation to eliminate enemy fighters from Tal Afar in Iraq, near the Syrian border. The operation was “an extremely successful tactical operation,” according to U.S. commander of Multinational Force Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey, Jr.

Roughly 80 percent of the foreign fighters believed to be in the city, were killed or captured. Tal Afar is one of two major transit zones for foreign fighters entering Iraq. DoD

A check of Google and CNN archives show this story to be only lightly reported. There are many possible explanations for this.

It may be that the major news outlets have decided, based on the statistical studies of their marketing departments, that the American public isn’t terribly interested in Iraq war news, especially when it might make the U.S. led side look good.

If so, it would be difficult to account for the success of Arthur Chrenkoff’s blog, even discounting possible ineptness on the part of news media marketing departments.

It may be that the relative ease, in terms of historically low casualties, duration of campaign, etc., with which U.S. led forces obtain victory in such battles gives media editors and executives too little drama on which to hang a story.

If so, it’s puzzling that ever increasing numbers ignore the mostly bad news entirely. One would think the occasional victory would give them something new to write about — if their view that those operations are largely in the oft‑suggested quagmire were correct.

It may be that editors and executives in a position to make such judgments are, in the main, opposed to the U.S. military operations in Iraq and are disinclined to give the Administration even this crumb of support.

In any case, it’s difficult to imagine, sixty years ago, the major news outlets mentioning only off-handedly a place called Iwo Jima and some Marines who happened to obtain an important tactical victory there.

It may be that media bias is as much what isn’t thought important enough to make the front page, as any opinions expressed on page 20.

From the thinking front, this is Jeffrey Perren.

Jeffrey Perren