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December 11, 2003

ROGER SIMON:

I don't want to think that Noah Oppenheim is correct in writing that many in the media quite seriously don't want us to win, but tonight of all nights it seems more likely that could be so. As I type these words at ten p. m. PDT... maybe I missed something... maybe I didn't click far enough... but I see no reports of the large pro-democracy/anti-terror march of Iraqis in Baghdad today in tomorrow's New York Times or Washington Post or in the Los Angeles Times(at least on their websites). Or on the CNN site. Or on MSNBC.... Do you think for one moment that if thousands had been marching for Saddam... for the fascists... excuse me "insurgents"... it wouldn't have been front page news? I don't. What's going on?

(Emphasis in original.) I just searched "Iraq" on the NYT website. Not only did I find absolutely no reference to the anti-terror protests in Iraq, the search results brought home to me just how relentlessly negative the spin is on the stories that they do report. This is an absolute embarrassment to the American media -- even Reuters and Al Jazeera are doing a better job! -- but I don't know if they'll even notice.

But we're noticing. And while the story hasn't quite been blacked out, it's close. Readers report that CNN did run clips of the marches, as did Fox (see above). But the biggest story in the NYT on Iraq is that two GIs were killed during a robbery. Roger's basic point holds: Had these demonstrators been marching on the other side, this would have been a big story instead of the closest thing to a non-story. So why isn't it a big story when it's good news? Because they want us to lose? Or at least, because they are, as Noah Oppenheim suggests, consciously or unconsciously seeking "vindication" of their anti-war views?

When you compare what they do report with what they don't, it seems to me that they're either glorying in the bad news and ignoring the good for the reasons Oppenheim suggests, or just lousy at their jobs. Or, I suppose, both. Your call.

UPDATE: One of Roger's commenters points out that the Times did cover the march -- as a single paragraph buried in the story about the 2 GIs:

In contrast, a heavily policed march in central Baghdad on Wednesday, organized peacefully by the country's major political parties, drew thousands of Iraqis to protest attacks by guerrilla fighters, which have injured and killed Iraqi civilians as well as occupiers.

This kind of ass-covering ("See! We covered it!") is almost worse than not covering it at all. Pathetic.