Jason van Steenwyk believes otherwise:
You could just feel how badly the media wanted to believe the President's videoconference with 10 U.S. soldiers was "staged." And dammit, if the media wanted it to be staged, then staged it will be.
WASHINGTON - It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.
Of course. And I have an agenda, distributed in advance, listing what I want to talk about when I hold a company level training meeting. These guys understand that. I understand that. The AP, apparently, doesn't. I guess none of their reporters ever interviewed a source and told them what they were interested in discussing.
Oh, and here's the scuzziest bit of all:Paul Rieckhoff, director of the New York-based Operation Truth, an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, denounced the event as a "carefully scripted publicity stunt." Five of the 10 U.S. troops involved were officers, he said.
If Operation Truth is simply "an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan," then I'm the Queen of Sheba. Their website says they're "nonpartisan." But look who's doing the fundraising: Randi Rhodes, Jenine Garofolo, Al Franken, Air America, and Tim Robbins.
It's amazingly brazen for the MSM to decry what many of us would call show prep and to instead use words like choreographed and staged when their own reporting of what is happening in Iraq must pass the template litmus test.
A new study released today by the Media Research Center, TV’s Bad News Brigade, reveals the three commercial network nightly news broadcasts have been overwhelmingly biased in their coverage of Iraq. The MRC analyzed all broadcasts of ABC’s World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, and the CBS Evening News from January 1 through September 30 and found 61 percent of the stories were negative or pessimistic while only 15 percent of the stories were positive or optimistic – a four-to-one ratio. The trend in coverage has also become increasingly negative during 2005, with pessimistic stories rising to nearly three-fourths of all Iraq news by August and September. The MRC will release a study on cable news coverage early next year.
- Network coverage has been overwhelmingly pessimistic. More than half of all stories (848, or 61%) focused on negative topics or presented a pessimistic analysis of the situation, four times as many as featured U.S. or Iraqi achievements or offered an optimistic assessment (just 211 stories, or 15%).
- News about the war has grown increasingly negative. In January and February, about a fifth of all network stories (21%) struck a hopeful note, while just over half presented a negative slant on the situation. By August and September, positive stories had fallen to a measly seven percent and the percentage of bad news stories swelled to 73 percent of all Iraq news, a ten-to-one disparity.
- Terrorist attacks are the centerpiece of TV’s war news. Two out of every five network evening news stories (564) featured car bombings, assassinations, kidnappings or other attacks launched by the terrorists against the Iraqi people or coalition forces, more than any other topic.
- Even coverage of the Iraqi political process has been negative. More stories (124) focused on shortcomings in Iraq’s political process — the danger of bloodshed during the January elections, political infighting among politicians, and fears that the new Iraqi constitution might spur more civil strife — than found optimism in the Iraqi people’s historic march to democracy (92 stories). One-third of those optimistic stories (32) appeared on just two nights — January 30 and 31, just after Iraq’s first successful elections.
- Few stories focused on the heroism or generous actions of American soldiers. Just eight stories were devoted to recounting episodes of heroism or valor by U.S. troops, and another nine stories featured instances when soldiers reached out to help the Iraqi people. In contrast, 79 stories focused on allegations of combat mistakes or outright misconduct on the part of U.S. military personnel.
- It’s not as if there was no “good news” to report. NBC’s cameras found a bullish stock market and a hiring boom in Baghdad’s business district, ABC showcased the coalition’s successful effort to bring peace to a Baghdad thoroughfare once branded “Death Street,” and CBS documented how the onetime battleground of Sadr City is now quiet and citizens are beginning to benefit from improved public services. Stories describing U.S. and Iraqi achievements provided essential context to the discouraging drumbeat of daily news, but were unfortunately just a small sliver of TV’s Iraq news.
When it comes to so much of the MSM's reporting on Iraq and on President Bush, the motto is clearly "we stage and choreograph, you gullibly believe".
Open Post: Linked at the Political Teen who celebrated his 1 year blogiversary yesterday. Stop by and wish him a belated congratulations.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has much more with lots of links:
I'd also add that NBC's news division in particular has some gall making such a big fuss over anyone else staging things.
Same goes for the rest of the MSM.
Fake news? They know whereof they speak.
(Can you say "projection?")
Look for the talking heads to hype this story all weekend. I have no doubt the news producers will be prompting political commentators to, you know, "Get angry."
But that's not "staging." It's their therapy.
Today's timing couldn't have been worse. A preceding segment focused on the incessant rains and ensuing flooding in the northeast. For days now, beautiful, blonde - and one senses highly ambitious - young reporter Michelle Kosinski has been on the scene for Today in New Jersey, working the story. In an apparent effort to draw attention to herself, in yesterday's segment she turned up in hip waders, standing thigh-deep in the flood waters.
Taking her act one step further, this morning she appeared on a suburban street . . . paddling a canoe. There was one small problem. Just as the segment came on the air, two men waded in front of Kosinki . . . and the water barely covered their shoe tops! That's right, Kosinski's canoe was in no more than four to six inches of water!
An embarrassed Kosinski claimed the water was deeper down the street but that her producers didn't want to let her go there for fear she'd drift away. But Katie and Matt, perhaps peeved by her attempted scene-stealing, couldn't resist ribbing her.
Matt: "Are these holy men, perhaps walking on top of the water?"
"Gee, is your oar hitting ground, Michelle?" inquired Katie, as she and Matt dissolved into laughter.
Moral of the story: people in canoes in a few inches of water shouldn't throw video-stunt stones.
AND MORE: The Wide Awake Cafe serves up some more MSM staging:
One day as my husband and part of his battalion was out in a convoy he saw a CNN newscrew near a group of Somalis. The crew and the Somalis were blocking the road that my husband's convoy was attempting to go down so my husband checked into what was going on.
What he saw upset him so much that he called me that very day the first chance he got. He was livid.
He told me that blonde haired white people who were obviously working for CNN were making and handing out signs to the poor Somali people and having them pose for the camera with the signs which said stuff like, "Go home U.S. military."
Now the news media is claiming that the Bush administration and the U.S. military are "staging" good news about Iraq? Give me a break.