Saturday, November 3, 2007

More Bad News From Afghanistan:
For the Mainstream Media

More bad news from Afghanistan--for Old Media.

[hat tip: Awa Puhi & Pat]

No matter how the mainstream media tries to dress it up, the news coming out of Iraq these days is mostly of the good variety. Deaths down, more territory secured and more Iraqis lining up behind what they can increasingly see is the strong horse: the United States military.

So what's the big mainstream story? Deaths in Afghanistan are up. Newsroom inhabitants at CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, the NY Times and other outposts in the once-monolithic liberal news empire can come out from under their beds. It's not that bad. The reason is simple for anyone who studies both the Afghan situation and Congress: ineptitude.

A look behind the statistics from Christian Lowe at the Weekly Standard:
IT'S TRUE THAT INSURGENT violence is on the rise in Afghanistan, with a surging Taliban taking up tactics first used against U.S. forces in Iraq, including suicide bombs, improvised explosive devices, and vehicle-borne IEDs. Afghan civilians and national security forces are being killed in greater numbers this year than any year since the 2001 invasion. According to an Afghan diplomatic source, 700 civilians have been killed so far this year--some in poorly-targeted U.S. bombing raids--but a large proportion of those have been the victims of insurgent attacks.

The other side of the story is quite different, however. Along with the rise in Taliban--and to some extent, al Qaeda violence--has come a sharp increase in the number of insurgents killed by Coalition (mostly American and Australian) troops and Afghan security forces. The Afghan diplomat said about 3,500 Taliban have been killed this year, and several top commanders captured.
The U.S. commanders on the ground in Afghanistan don't see the same situation as big US media outlets.
"In this type of war, when you mass against forces like us . . . without firepower, we're able to destroy them quite easily and we've shown that over the last six to seven months," said Col. Thomas McGrath, the American commander in charge of training Afghan security forces near Kandahar. "They're bringing in cohorts of young men who really don't know any better and it's been a colossal failure for them."
Rats! Another gloomy war storyline shot to hell. What's a reporter to do? When everything you've learned the last 40 years about spinning the news to the liberal viewpoint turns out not to be working, what's to be done?

Besides commiserate with like-minded colleagues around the Perrier cooler?

Years from now, coverage of the two fronts in the War on Terror will be a textbook case of the factors that sped the demise of Big Media. When there are other outlets for people to turn to for news, they can comparison shop. News consumers are increasingly turning away from the Old Media.

The way the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been covered by Old Media is just one more reason more of them would rather switch.

by Mondoreb


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