Wednesday, May 21, 2008


News Blackouts

Ralph Peters, writing in the NY Post, slams the mainstream media (MSM) for conspiring to impose an almost total blackout on success in Iraq:

DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

Peters is right, this has nothing to do with an absence of blood in non-newsworthy stories. There could be no more bigger news story in the past 5 years, then the revelation that Iraqis and their US and coalition allies have soundly defeated Al Qaeda, neutralized Sunni resistance to the government, and severely constrained the violence and influence of sectarian militias, both Sunni and Shia.

The reason the MSM chooses not to report on our stunning (and widely unexpected) success in Iraq is because they disapprove. They’re profoundly dsiappointed, and they fear the political implications for their preferred candidate in this year’s Presidential election.

Peters concludes his indictment by noting some contrasts, in terms of Legislative accomplishment, media preferences, and ulterior motives:

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy's taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn't get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there's a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People's Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?

Ralph must listen to National Peoples Republic -- I mean, Public Radio (NPR) -- which must have some official policy that reporting on China must always be upbeat and reflect positively on China’s communist government. Talk about a news blackout.

Apparently, NPR staff were present in rural China, working on a series of reports when the recent earthquakes struck. These reports give every impression on focusing on the hopeful and impressive strides China has made, in transforming their largely rural and agricultural heartland into a burgeoning industrial and economic powerhouse.

Their presence provided them immediate and proximate on scene access to the quake and recovery efforts, on which they’re reporting with gusto. All of a piece, unfortunately, with their gushing coverage for the past several years.

For the earthquake, NPR is awash in heroic stories of the Chinese Army, the Chinese Government, and the Chinese people recovering in the aftermath of the quakes. But they don’t just stop there. An analysis piece the other day suggested that the Chinese central planners have “learned” from bad public relations from previous disasters, and now allow and even encourage international and Chinese press coverage of the earthquakes and relief efforts.

No doubt this is true for China, with MSM fawning friends like NPR, natural disasters and their aftermath can have a positive impact on international public opinion in advance of their awaited Olympic Games. You have to wonder if the conscientious and full-of-good-intentions worshippers of Government supported public media don’t view this situation as a mission: how to make China more appealing. (NPR to the Communists: “Stand back, comrades, and we’ll have this cleaned up for you in no time, at all. Don’t you worry about a thing.”)

If you think this is outrageous exaggeration, listen closely the next time NPR reports from China. In recent stories, even the slight negatives they include are enveloped in excuses for Chinese misbehavior. Admiration and envy are palpable in the reports.

NPR reports that the Chinese have constructed too many dams, now damaged or threatened by earthquakes, but distressingly notes how critical these dams are for energy production. The Army units conducting rescue and recovery operations would be able to reach distressed communities more quickly by water if they there weren’t all these dams.

Darned central planning! There’s always an unanticipated consequence. For which, of course, new regulations and directives need to be formulated. The NPR reporting gives the overwhelming impression that their reporters greatly sympathize with the difficulties of, rather than resent, totalitarian control of everything. (If you want a glimpse of what a Democratic vision for what a Total Government future looks like, stay tuned.)

How great in contrast to how dreadfully George W. Bush’s FEMA handled Katrina, you have to know they, and their majority audience, are thinking. This despite volumes of evidence of New Orleans and Louisiana incompetence and corruption, and the remarkable and nearly unreported heroics in responding to Katrina, of the Army and Air National Guard, who provided critical, life saving services within hours of disaster.

An offhand tidbit shows the supreme irony of the implicit subtext of NPR’s China reporting. NPR reports that the Government will relocate entire villages to new locations less vulnerable to earthquake, or where services can be restored more quickly.

A government can no doubt be very effective when all the means of a totalitarian state, capable of complete disregard of the life and humanity of its people, are directed at a single mission or task. Chinese political and other prisoners can testify about live harvesting of organs for internal use and international export, for profit. Absolute and total control can look mighty attractive, when state control eclipses and renders meaningless or invisible, the price a society pays for that efficiency.

Hitler did indeed make the trains run on time, particularly those carrying his victims to death camps.

Can anyone imagine how NPR would be reporting on a US Government program to “resettle” New Orleanians to higher ground?

The NPR reporter suggested, “The Government has realized, that in disasters, a free press can hardly have any downside,” or words entirely to that effect. The same feature acknowledged that if remains to be seen if this same “openness” will apply to Chinese political reporting. Are they kidding? I hope they’re not holding their breath.

But with NPR, when it comes to China, it might be hard to tell the difference between them holding their breath, or merely struck breathless in adoration.

(Via Instapundit)

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