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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Good News Is No News For MSM

From Mike Taylor:

… just can’t find any good news coming out of Iraq! The number of items of “good news” collected by a blogger in Australia (ARTHUR CHRENKOFF in Step by Step in the WSJ yesterday) is staggering…

The plain truth of the media is that they WANT to report the negative... For television reporters it is much, much easier to chase ambulances and show video of ANYTHING on fire and consider it NEWS. In Iraq, the MSM reporters don’t even leave their hotels. Quite literally. They rely on local stringers to bring back video of car bombs and (again) ANYTHING ON FIRE because that makes for “compelling” video to put on air.

No stringer is going to be paid who offers video of the local Iraqi city council meeting. The arrival of accurate history books arriving at an Iraqi grade school will never be reported by the MSM. These stringers will be told by the MSM reporter “Go get me something blowing up, smoke billowing, women and children screaming in horror… if it bleeds, videotape it! That’s what we’re paying you for!”

If you were to hang out at the county hospital Emergency Room in any major city you would conclude that the entire population is stabbing each other, shooting each other, raping each other or driving drunk. And that’s exactly what’s happening with MSM reporters in Iraq. They’re hanging out at the morgue and concluding that everyone in the country is dying.

To MSM reporters, and their editors back home, a car aflame is a much more telling story than the last nailed being hammered home in a new Iraqi grade school or the signing of the one millionth Iraqi cell phone customer.

Lazy reporting like this just so happens to fit in nicely with “every American military action is another hopeless Viet Nam quagmire”. Easy money for the MSM. Easy money.

If you’ve ever been interviewed by anyone in the media their first inclination is to look for the most negative slant that can be dug out of a story. Fellow Think Tanker Skip March and I have been in the “ranking” business at a market analysis firm wherein we would collate consumer data to rank companies from top to bottom in customer satisfaction.

Skip can back me up on this, NO ONE in the media wants to talk to you about anyone doing a good job, they only want to know who is at the bottom of the list, who is the worst, who is doing a poor job. They don’t want to know how any one company is pleasing its customers, about their innovative services or how hard a company works to please customers or to retain their loyalty.

For many years, the policy of this market analysis company was to only talk about companies performing “above the industry average”. But this policy limited our media exposure.

I remember one reporter from the NY Times telling me that “If you can’t talk about the bottom of the barrel then I don’t have a story”. I never heard from that reporter again.

Recently, the market analyst changed its policy and now releases data on who is first and who is worst. They get a lot more media attention now.

Neal Phenes adds:

Read Michael Fumento who has been in Iraq and supports Mike's comment. He observed:

[T]roop morale in even the most hostile areas was better than I would have believed. Unless I identified myself, nobody knew I was a reporter; there are civilian contractors everywhere. If the troops had antiwar feelings they didn’t hold them back on my account. Yet I heard none. I also carefully read the ubiquitous graffiti in the portable toilets and only once found a negative scrawling – a Bush bash. But three other scrawlings ambushed that first one.

The only real complaints I’d heard were about “the kindler, gentler military.” Political sensitivity – enhanced by shenanigans such as Newsweek’s – are tying at least part of an arm behind our backs.

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