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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Cherry picking negativism from the good Iraq news

Preliminary poll results released four days ago found that optimism has turned dramatically upwards in Iraq since the January elections. 62% of Iraqis now say that the country is headed in the right direction, up from 42% in September. Only 23% say it is headed in the wrong direction, down from 45% in September. Ranting Profs notes a story in yesterday's New York Times that follows the Times's usual strategy when poll results don't fit its preferred narrative. Just pretend you haven't seen the poll results and publish anecdotal evidence of unrelieved negativism.

Today our local champion of left-wing disinformation, the San Francisco Chronicle, employs the same ruse. In "Young Iraqis cast doubtful eyes toward their future," Chronicle reporter Colin Freeman quotes a grand total of THREE pessimistic Iraqis (only one of whom, on close reading, actually seems to be pessimistic) in support of his conclusion that: "What few Iraqis doubt, though, is that compared to the same time 12 months ago, things seem notably worse."

One can see Mr. Freeman (or his stringers) prospecting Baghdad with their picks and sourdough bread, searching-searching for that special ore hidden somewhere beneath all the proud purple fingers: that elusive Iraqi who thinks that things were much better a year ago, and maybe even better under Saddam Hussein. Alas, all that they can come up with is a neurotic artist who finds his sensitive nerves too frayed for painting when terrorists are killing people. Freeman's two other interviewees seem to be plugging along just fine. One's tale of woe is that his chance to get rich off of a pop tune went bust thanks to passport difficulties. The other is woman who goes to college and has a job. "Security does worry me," she says, and she carries a knife in case she gets attacked. "I'm thinking of buying a small ladies' .22-caliber pistol, too. Many other girls I know already carry them."

The fact that she is armed ("distinctly unladylike") is Freeman's justification for characterizing her as a pessimist, but a more optimistic bit of information is hard to imagine. Apparently Iraqis have gun rights. Expect Iraq to very shortly have a lower crime rate than any of the thirteen American states that still guarantee their criminals a safe working environment.

In addition to these three pseudo-pessimists, Freeman cites three negative indicators:
Iraqi security forces, hunted endlessly by insurgents, now patrol the streets in sinister-looking balaclava masks for fear of being recognized. Most foreign businessmen have fled, save for a few selling armored cars and flak jackets. And the mobile phone system has become virtually unusable after being massively overloaded.
A year ago there were no Iraqi security forces for the insurgents to attack. The idea that there ever was an influx of foreign businessmen (save a few selling armored cars and flak jackets) is absurd. And can any sane person really think that the growth of Iraq's wireless industry to the limits of its capacity is worse than the previous condition of NO wireless industry?

That's it. That is his roundup of evidence. Not a single hint that anyone, anywhere, might think that things are getting better. Pure, relentless, disinformation.

Re the Eason Jordan scandal: anyone who reads the mil-blogs knows that many of our soldiers in Iraq, seeing this kind of disinformation reported in the American press every day for the last two years, see the left wing press as literal traitors, doing their absolute best to serve the enemy's cause and to undermine ours. Perception is clearly a large part of this war, when the confidence of the Iraqi people is crucial to our winning their cooperation in finding and eradicating the terrorists. In this battle for hearts and minds, the press treats every nugget of bad news--every bomb blast, every cry of Iraqi despair--as a nugget of gold, to be separated from the overwhelming dross of daily progress in rebuilding Iraq and killing its tormentors. That Colin Freeman is on the side of the terrorists is an undeniable fact. His dishonesty is an undeniable fact, and it is blatantly in the service of the terrorist cause.

So of course Jordan assumes that the soldiers are shooting reporters on purpose. After all, that is how the Jordan and his ilk act. They are not bound by any rules of reportorial integrity (not the reporters who Jordan identifies with), and he cannot conceive how someone else's mind could be so different from his own. How could a man with no integrity possibly conceive of a person who does have integrity? It is impossible, and this in general is how the press can be so shameless, populated by hundreds of Colin Freemans. They do not comprehend that there is such a thing as moral and intellectual honesty. The official moral philosophy of the left is postmodernism: the neo-Marxist conceit that there is no such thing as truth, only power. That is the culture of our left wing media. They cannot be shamed because morality is inconceivable to them.

Previous posts on Chronicle malfeasance:

Freedom of speech for churches?

Got full information?

Lying that Bush lied

Kerry, Bush on same page militarily?

Chronicle logic: redundant resolve = lack of resolve

SF Chron buries Australia, slanders Afghanistan

Did Chronicle editors turn a Sadr City report into a characterization of all Iraq?

Reporters favor "stingy" interpretation

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