December 11, 2003

Pathetic and Sad

Mainstream journalists are shockingly uninformed about what is happening in the world.

Tim Blair writes about the huge anti-terrorism demonstrations in Iraq and notes that the Washington Postís Middle East editor - editor! - said:

I'm not sure what the demonstration was about.

I just got back from a trip to Central America. I was in the highlands of Guatemala and on a tiny primitive island off the coast of Belize that doesnít even have any cars on it.

Over a sixteen-day period I spent less than one hour (combined) surfing the Web and following the news. And I knew about the upcoming anti-terror demonstrations in Iraq before I got home. I knew very well what they were about.

If full-time professional journalists donít know the first thing about something so significant, how on earth can they justify their salaries?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 11, 2003 10:43 AM

Here's the advice I posted on Hammorabi's blog:

"The press are so lazy and complacent that you really have to do their work for them if you want to get the word out. Next time, send them a press release, so they won't have to write much for themselves, and also supply good-quality photos and video, in case they can't get a good camera crew organized in time. In the press release, list all the sponsors, include nice soundbite quotes from the most well-known leaders, and other such details the press will be too lazy to research on their own. In the video, look for a short clip that gives a sense of the size and a sample of the variety of signs and sponsors. You have to make it easy for them, otherwise they'll just stick to their hotel-bar reporting agenda."

Posted by: Joel at December 11, 2003 11:42 AM

Welcome back. A minor point..the editor in question was an editor for "The Middle East Report." He was taking part in a Post forum. Still, not an impressive grasp of important events.

Posted by: wen at December 11, 2003 12:42 PM

I'm not certain how much of it is NOT knowing ... and how much of it is not WANTING to know.

Iraqis happy about liberation - happy about freedom - happy about Saddam gone - and willing to fight those who don't believe as they do - are all ideas that many on the left and in the press do NOT WANT TO HEAR.

So they don't.

News by wishful thinking, perhaps?

Posted by: peg at December 11, 2003 02:46 PM

Yup. It's a mental and a social thing.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at December 11, 2003 04:32 PM

The press are disgusting on this issue. BUT, it's also a good time to post such jabs at Kevin & Brad & Atrios & Josh, who like to go on about no liberal bias in the news.

SELECTION is usually the biggest bias, not the choice of words when coverage happens. Contrast to the coverage of the anti-Bush mini-demonstrations in London. And to the inevitable body count reports.

Posted by: Tom Grey at December 12, 2003 02:12 AM

...and, again, there was no difference in selection between the theoretically "liberal" outlets and the theoretically "conservative" outlets.

The press was and remains lazy and stupid. Never look for malice . . .

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 12, 2003 02:34 AM

If the protest was against Bush or the occupation, you can bet your bottom dollar he would have known about it.

Posted by: David at December 12, 2003 02:33 PM

I didn't get the impression that journalists "didn't know about it". I'm pretty dam sure they did, they just weren't interested in writing anything about it or publicizing it, aka... New York Times etc...

How did you hear about it on vacation? Which channel or news service there covered it?

Very curious.


Posted by: Mike at December 13, 2003 12:07 PM

How did you hear about it on vacation?

From surfing the blogosphere for about 20 minutes.

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