MORE DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS OF CONGRESS are calling press coverage of Iraq unduly negative:
Journalists are giving a slanted and unduly negative account of events in Iraq, a bipartisan congressional group that has just returned from a three-day House Armed Services Committee visit to assess stabilization efforts and the condition of U.S. troops said.
Lawmakers charged that reporters rarely stray from Baghdad and have a “police-blotter” mindset that results in terror attacks, deaths and injuries displacing accounts of progress in other areas.
Comparisons with Vietnam were farfetched, members said.
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the committee’s ranking member, said, “The media stresses the wounds, the injuries, and the deaths, as they should, but for instance in Northern Iraq, Gen. [Dave] Petraeus has 3,100 projects — from soccer fields to schools to refineries — all good stuff and that isn’t being reported.”
Skelton and other Democrats on the trip said they plan to reach out to all members of their caucus and explain what they observed. . . .
The lawmakers said they worry that the overall negative tone of American press outlets’ reports did not do justice to the progress being made by an occupying force reconstructing a country after years of neglect and in the face of remaining hostile elements that profited under the old regime.
There’s plenty of criticism of the Administration’s postwar policy, but it’s constructive criticism, not faux-Vietnam cut-and-paste carping.
UPDATE: This post by Jay Rosen seems fitting somehow:
Many journalists have stopped kidding themselves about their ability to remain completely detached. But this thought is rarely developed because it might lead to asking: what kind of attachment to the republic—or local community—should journalists be developing today, given everything going on around them? Existing press think does not cover this ground, which is more important than ever. You can call the press a player, but what you cannot do is ask: what’s it playing for?
(Emphasis added.) Criticism’s fine. It’s even useful, when it’s specific and factual rather than atmospheric and theatrical. But as Lileks notes, you’d just like to hear ’em say “I hope we win.” Or at least not sound like they hope we lose.
UPDATE: Here’s a John Leo column on the media and Iraq, too.