Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Grey Lady's "Good" News

The New York Times displays a highly selective bit of attentiveness about good news in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 22 — In the wave of lawlessness and frantic self-interest that has washed over this war-weary nation, small acts of pure altruism often go unnoticed.

-- As unnoticed as almost every other element of good news, when it’s the New York Times that would be doing the noticing.

So why do they notice “small act of pure altruism?”

Why, so they can beat the drum of quagmire, civil war, mass exodus and war torn chaos, of course!

Think I’m exaggerating? Think I’m not giving the Grey Lady her due when she does remark on anything positive?

Check out the mallet with which the Times beats that drum [emphasis mine]:

But the Iraqi government has been taking note of such good works, and now, more than three years after the American invasion, the outlines of a nascent civil society are taking shape.

Since 2003 the government has registered 5,000 private organizations, including charities, human rights groups, medical assistance agencies and literacy projects. Officials estimate that an additional 7,000 groups are working unofficially. The efforts show that even as violence and sectarian hatred tear Iraq's mixed cities apart, a growing number of Iraqis are trying to bring them together. "Iraqis were thirsty for such experiences," said Khadija Tuma, director of the office in the Ministry of Civil Society Affairs that now works with the private aid groups. "It was as if they already had it inside themselves."

The new charity groups offer bits of relief in the sea of poverty that swept Iraq during the economic embargo of the 1990's and has worsened with the pervasive lawlessness that followed the American invasion.

Get it? Anything good happening is in spite of the Americans.

Not convinced? As if to hammer it home, a couple of paragraphs later. As I read I kept wondering how long they would keep it going, and it seems, for the entire article [emphasis mine]:

The Iraqi Chamber of Commerce dates from the 1930's, and its volunteers plunged into Baghdad's poor areas to conduct literacy campaigns in the 1950's, around the time of the overthrow of the monarchy.

Today's groups have picked up that historic thread and offer hope in an increasingly poisonous sectarian landscape that Iraqis may still be able to hold their country together.

And of course, not to point out the obvious, but if those Iraqis “hold their country together,” it will be in large measure due to the security guarantee and long hard effort of the US Military (not otherwise mentioned in the context of this article, natch).

One last observation. The article included this nugget, which the Times reports at face value without any question and no hint of irony:

The need here is growing. The number of acutely malnourished children has more than doubled, to 9 percent in 2005 from 4 percent in 2002, according to a report based on figures from the Planning Ministry that was released this month.

Is there anyone who seriously thinks you can trust any figures on child malnourishment from Saddam Hussein’s government, as reported in 2002? And a figure like 4%? That would be like believing that 100% of Iraqis voted for Saddam in his last election.

This, despite the widespread, pre-War denunciation of Western sanctions that killed “half a million” Iraqi children. If not overwhelmingly from malnourishment, what other leading contender caused these deaths? I’m not an expert, but I’d be willing to bet that the figure of 9% acutely malnourished children in 2005 probably represents a huge reduction in malnourishment figures since 2002.

Skepticism and doubt. The New York Times has both in great abundance, when the Bush Administration or the US Military is speaking. Otherwise, forget it.

(Via Instapundit)

Links: RantingProfs links to the article as a "good sign for the health of the larger body politic." No word on how the good professors feel about the rest of the embedded negativity in the piece. More commentary at Brothers Judd Blog.

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