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\n at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

Actually, on the radio this morning, I heard the news of firemen going to rescue cats from trees. In this case, a pregnant cat had climbed 40' off the ground to give birth in the tree. Neighbors called and the ladder truck came 'round to save the fuzzy kitties.

pete at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

To think of it another way, generally the bad news in on the front page. What do you think is in the rest of that 1 inch think paper? Given the amount of time you read an entire newspaper, you probably only spend 1/30th of the time actually reading about bad stuff.

Chuck4 at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

"I can only conclude that the caller, like others holding this belief, is so pro-Bush that they're willing to say absurd things, or that this fellow has no idea how media works."

I hadn't realized that wanting to hear everything that's going on in Iraq made me either a Bushie or an idiot. Tell me Alan, which am I? I'm really curious.

"I've give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's simply ignorant."

A fine typo, in grand Usenet tradition.

I wish that news media wasn't split up along bad news=left, goon news=right lines. I don't like having to pick apart hidden bias to see what's actually going on somewhere. Forgunantly, we have blogs. Now, if I don't want to listen to Fox or NPR report from the hotel bar, I can read commentary from a Blackwater contractor or a Bagdad student.

Alan De Smet at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

In general few people make consistent complaints about the lack of news about progress. Sure, there is the occasional article bemoaning the media's behavior, but certainly not a steady stream of people calling to complain on talk radio. No, the bad news from Iraq has spawned a new wave of callers insinuating that there is an intentional pattern of omitting positive news. That's clearly bullshit. There is lots of bad news coming from Iraq and most people would consider it more newsworthy than reports of a bridge being rebuilt, power being restored to a neighborhood, or an oil well returning to production. Stories about people being killed certainly draw better ratings than news about schools reopening. This isn't a bias, this is the news the public wants.

When a caller hints at some bias influencing the dearth of positive stories I see only a few reasonable possibilities. One possibility is that they are hypocrites looking to spin bad news. Another is that something about the Iraq news has shocked them into awareness that bad news gets more coverage than good news. To go from that step to suggesting that the lack of good news is because of bias suggests a lack of knowledge about how modern media works. Simple ignorance.

Should we have more coverage of progress in Iraq? Perhaps. Do we need more positive stories in the news? Maybe. Every once in a while some think tank issues a paper grumbling about exactly that. No complaints from me either way. What pisses me off is suggesting that lack of positive news is proof a bias. In the case in question the caller clearly insinuated that there was some sort of active effort to hide the good news. This provoked my rant. Perhaps I wasn't clear about the target of my irritation, but I stand by it as written. I don't believe there is anything in it that you should take as an insult.


If you've got a link to a Blackwater contractor's blog, I've love to see it, it sounds interesting! (No <a href> style links, but just dump the link into the page and it will be marked up. If the link is long and ugly, consider using .)

On the topic, for anyone not familiar with it, you might want to check out the blog ( It purports to be the blog of a Baghdad resident. It was fascinating during the build up to the US invasion. I haven't really followed it since, so no promises.

pete at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

I remember when google used to simply have a gigantic page of every major online newspaper there was from every country. Man, I loved that thing since I could follow the slanted news reports from every culture, eventually factoring out the bias and figuring out what really happened. It pissed me off to no end that they replaced it with a moon's shadow of itself. I wish someone would dig around for all of those links and set it up again. I WANT to sort through the special interest stories of other cultures. It amuses me.

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