Media Security

Fred Barnes has a good report on Leadership and the media in Iraq. At the end, he makes a good point:

IS THE AMERICAN PRESS CORPS in Iraq obsessed with security? I’ve only been here a few days and I know I am. After all, civilians are being targeted by terrorists. So when I went to a youth service at an American-style evangelical Christian church outside the downtown area last evening, I wore a bullet proof vest. Don’t laugh. Some of the press, many CPA officials, and all of the military wear them routinely. Why take a chance?

The question is whether the fixation on security skews the coverage of terrorist attacks here, giving the attacks too much prominence. Maybe, but I’m not so sure. For one thing, sudden violence is always news, especially in a zone of maximum media attention such as liberated Iraq. For another, military and CPA officials take the terrorist threat very seriously and see it as the major impediment to Iraq’s emergence as a stable democracy. Finally, the ABC News poll found that “regaining public security” was far and away the top national priority of Iraqis.

Still, to the extent the press creates the impression that terrorist bombings have halted all progress toward a free society in Iraq and that the country is as unstable as it was a year ago–well, then a false impression is being created. And this happens from time to time.

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Erick Erickson

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