January 21, 2005

A Plea for Iraqi Unity

In the comments box for the post below this one Dougf pointed out that the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has an archive of video clips from Middle East TV. I didn't know this until now. (Thanks, Doug.)

While watching TV in my Tripoli hotel room back in November I saw something I never would have expected to see in Libya: a touching ad pleading for Iraqi unity. It's cheesy, but I don't mean to complain. Iraq needs cheesiness now. (Note: This is not the same ad Doug links to in the comments. This one is better, I think.)

Here's a link to the video. Watch it. And imagine how I felt when I saw this in Libya while I was otherwise surrounded by hysterical totalitarian propaganda. It was an amazing moment.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 21, 2005 08:41 PM
Comments

Oh fine !!

Here I try to help out,and you post a 'better'clip' :-)
I like your choice too,but I still go with the 'simpler'touch of the other video.More individual.

I know I have a bit of a blind-spot on the MSM front,but I have to tell you,if I were in charge for a day,the media landscape would be seriously,and I use that word in all its ramifications,altered.
I consider our media to be crossing that line into territory where it is perfectly legitimate to not only 'question their patriotism',but to actually start doing things about it.
Freedom of the press does not entail 'giving aid and comfort to the enemy',and if that is now considered acceptable ,we need to look into 'freedom of the press'.Period.

MSM Delenda Est

SOON !!

Posted by: dougf at January 21, 2005 09:31 PM

Dougf: I consider our media to be crossing that line into territory where it is perfectly legitimate to not only 'question their patriotism',but to actually start doing things about it.

Don't get too carried away. Posting links to videos like these is a great way to do something about it. I hope you're not thinking of burying guns in the desert...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 21, 2005 09:37 PM

Posting links to videos like these is a great way to do something about it. I hope you're not thinking of burying guns in the desert...--MJT

We don't have desserts here.It would have to be in the Snow,and then it would be impossible to find them afterwards,and if you did,it would take a month to warm them up.
Counter-acting media actions,after the fact,via this medium is not going to be effective.Oh sure,the 'converted'on the net get the drift,but we were 'converted'anyway.The support for the Iraq campaign is now only if you feel that their 'rights'come ahead of societies 'rights'can it be illegitimate to speculate what should be done to instill a more 'balanced'viewpoint,for the general welfare.
As for me,'freedom of the press',looks less and less an absolute 'right'as time marches on.I told you that I had a blind spot,but more 'objective'observers should be looking at this issue,in a more 'tolerant'way BEFORE the train reaches the logical end of the ride.Just my opinion,but I tend towards point "A" direct to point "Z" thinking without too many stops in between.Others need to step up as this is a VERY serious issue.Something must be done.Greater minds than mine will find the answers,but I am pretty sure about the questions.

Posted by: dougf at January 21, 2005 09:58 PM

The support for the Iraq campaign is now only if you feel that their 'rights'come ahead

Curses. Can't type either.Should read:

The support for the Iraq campaign is now less than 30& How do you think that happened? Co-incidence?Only if you----etc etc.

Posted by: dougf at January 21, 2005 10:02 PM

The link below is to a Chrenkoff 'content'anaylsis on the MSM recent coverage in Iraq.I suppose that others will do a more specific anaylsis of these articles,but on the face of it,it seems damming enough.to warrant serious pause for thought.

http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/01/bad-news-from-iraq.html

MSM Delenda Est

Posted by: dougf at January 21, 2005 10:29 PM

The link below is to a Chrenkoff 'content'anaylsis on the MSM recent coverage in Iraq.I suppose that others will do a more specific anaylsis of these articles,but on the face of it,it seems damming enough.to warrant serious pause for thought.

http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/01/bad-news-from-iraq.html

MSM Delenda Est

Posted by: dougf at January 21, 2005 10:30 PM

I hope you're not thinking of burying guns in the desert...

I knew some folks who buried dynamite in the desert back in the 60's. Maybe it's still there...

Posted by: chuck at January 21, 2005 10:50 PM

Let me get this straight: this fictional TV commercial is what the "MSM" should be showing? Wow, actors and soundtracks are what I want to see to, it's so...Reality-Like.

You do know the difference between movies and real life don't you? Or is that why all you guys love Ahnuld so much?

I'd offer a line to some "real" news, with real people and real blood, but I'm sure "Die Hard" is playing somewhere so you guys are busy...

Grow up.

Posted by: Piano at January 21, 2005 11:18 PM

I'd offer a line to some "real" news, with real people and real blood, but I'm sure "Die Hard" is playing somewhere so you guys are busy...

Damn teenagers. Now, if someone would only take out the garbage we'd have a lot fewer roaches running around at night.

And I thought the SpongeBob thread got out of hand. Jeez.

Posted by: chuck at January 21, 2005 11:33 PM

Time to take out the trash. Piano is banned for trolling.

I've been in this blogosphere business a long time now. And I know he, she, or it will never have anything worthwhile to contribute to any discussion. It's best to get the inevitable out of the way right now for the sake of everyone involved.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 12:59 AM

Michael

Thanks for posting that video. I see what you mean. It is a bit cheesy but I can see how it can be heart warming in a place like Libya.

I like the slogan: "If we are divided we will not rule." Yes.

Remembering how the British used to divide and rule!

Posted by: Benjamin at January 22, 2005 03:04 AM

Let's see:

Acceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"I have to tell you,if I were in charge for a day,the media landscape would be seriously,and I use that word in all its ramifications,altered.
... it is perfectly legitimate to not only 'question their patriotism',but to actually start doing things about it."

unacceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"Let me get this straight: this fictional TV commercial is what the "MSM" should be showing?"

acceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"As for me,'freedom of the press',looks less and less an absolute 'right'as time marches on."

unacceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"You do know the difference between movies and real life don't you? Or is that why all you guys love Ahnuld so much?
I'd offer a line to some "real" news, with real people and real blood, but I'm sure "Die Hard" is playing somewhere so you guys are busy..."

acceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"MSM Delenda Est"

unacceptable discourse in the Tottenverse:
"Grow up"

Let me be completely clear:
dougf is advocating .... what? censorship? loyalty oaths? feelgood makebelieve instead of real news? what exactly? (all I can tell is that it's nothing the US should be involved in) and the person that finds this wrong (in strong terms) is banned?

Color me stunned (and probably next on the blacklist).

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 22, 2005 06:06 AM

The ad showing America moving on and leaving the land to the people of Iraq sure is mud in the face to those who insist upon equating the ideal of British imperialism to the ideal of American liberation.

I also relate to the ad showing the people of Iraq marching forward in unity determined to fight against the terrorists who desire to enslave Iraq. An MLK moment indeed.

Witnessing the seeds of liberty in bloom is beautiful.

Posted by: susan at January 22, 2005 06:06 AM

Old dynamite sweats nitro glycerin, and thus becomes sensitive to shock and high temperatures. I suggest you let buried dynamite stay buried... even if the liberals get elected.

Are you seriously questioning freedom of the press? Well, sadly, it doesn't give immunity to giving aid and comfort to the enemy... it just means that the government can't stop someone from printing whatever they want, though they can arrest them afterwards if they choose to do so.

Since freedom of the press is an inalienable right... and you are questioning it, then I assert you are questioning your own patriotism, in that Point A directly to Point Z kinda way.

Liberty is counter-intuitive. It means you let others do what you'd rather they didn't most of the time, and they let you do what they'd rather you didn't. I prefer it that way. I enjoy my liberty from those more patriotic than myself (which is most everyone).

Personally I didn't want a war anyway, and I think if we're going around the world to secure the freedoms of liberty for others, we should at least be allowed to keep them here. Its only fair.

If its any consolation, the anti-war people feel much they way you do about the MSM (though they'd prefer democritizing the media to policing it, as far as I can tell) and I'd say that generally speaking, the media tends to be conservative (over the last several hundred years, in every country) with rare exceptions like penny presses in the 19th century among the Americans and the British. Maybe thats some consolation.

Posted by: Robert Ellis at January 22, 2005 06:21 AM

P.S. - Don't ban me. TIA.

Posted by: Robert at January 22, 2005 06:23 AM

Time to take out the trash. Piano is banned for trolling.

Michael,

I was going to comment on your itchy trigger finger, but I think you're right. That kind of snarkiness right off the blocks only means one thing-- troll.

Posted by: David at January 22, 2005 07:48 AM

I love those clips, Michael! The acting, music, filmmaking--they deserve a Clio Award.

MEMRI has several others--just do a search for "Iraq Elections." The one about the old man staring down the terrorists is wonderful. I also love the one about the coalition leaving.

Posted by: Patricia at January 22, 2005 08:32 AM

SSG Danielsen is a 6’5” tough guy/goofball who’s only been in the Army 5 years but rose through the ranks fast enough to act as my platoon sergeant during the battle. SGT Bremer is a man we affectionately call “Meat,” mostly because he’s the 230 lb. corn fed Iowa type. He’s a lot like a German Shepherd – big, mean looking, and the most loyal guy I’ve ever met in my life. Anyway, both of them were now stuck behind a berm, separated from the rest of their platoon, and listening to bullets hit the sand all around them. Realizing their situation, Meat looked at SGT Danielsen and said the famous line from the Snickers commercials, “Not going anywhere for a while.” After that, they spent the next two minutes giggling like school girls about their predicament while they waited for help to arrive"

FROM :
http://avengerredsix.blogspot.com/2005/01/11-november-grundle-of-boggiano.html

Posted by: dougf at January 22, 2005 09:54 AM

I'd like to clarify a point or two that may have been missed in my previous effete liberal rage.

I don't think dougf should be banned, though I think his thoughts about the media are scary and/or dangerous.

I don't think piano should be banned since the tone was certainly not that bad, not optimal but far from full-blown trollhood.

If Senor Totten was making a satiric point on the dangers of censorship, then I bow down before the master of nuance.

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 22, 2005 10:17 AM

And, for a change of pace, an on-topic post. The video is nice as far as it goes, but I'm not entirely sure how it will be perceived by Iraqis or other Arabs.

Can anyone around here read the banners or tell me what the two groups represent? Also, is the slogan at all ambiguous in Arabic? (Could it be interpreted as outsiders dividing the Arab world by occupying Iraq?)

Even crude propoganda can work (I still don't litter because of that damned crying Indian) and this is not crude at all. But I've learned that oursider and insider viewpoints often differ in surprising and startling ways.

Posted by: Michael Farris at January 22, 2005 10:26 AM

Those were inspiring videos. It would be nice if our nuanced media could produce something like that, but with the Scott Peterson trial, their investigation of the inauguration costs and their obsession with the war between Brad, Jennifer and Angelina, they hardly have the time.

Another interesting video on the MEMRI site concerned the efforts of London's Mayor Red Ken Livingstone to supress and discredit MEMRI. To Red Ken, freedom of the press doesn't extend to Zionists.

Posted by: mary at January 22, 2005 10:38 AM

I don't think dougf should be banned, though I think his thoughts about the media are scary and/or dangerous.--MF

I guess the important thing is that I really don't care if I get banned.If Michael wants to do so,no hard feelings.I feel that the 'objective'role of this particular media is 'scary and/or dangerous',and I further feel that if we are in a WAR,circumstances alter cases.The current media would not have been tolerated during WW2,nor would it have so behaved by its own choice.The real question is not how I think,but rather the 'true'nature of the current conflict.It is either a serious clash of world philosphies ,or a tempest-in-a-teapot.How you view the media depends greatly upon how you view the conflict.And just to keep my non-fascist credentials in some sort of repair,I am not at all advocating censorship or closing of the 'free press'.I am however fully in favour of a concentrated government critique of the media based upon the stakes involved and the 'content'presented by the 'free press'.Let all the facts be presented on a constant basis and let the chips fall where they may.If the entrenched media chooses to be an enemy of the government then surely the government has the right,if not the duty,to be an enemy of the entrenched media.'Propaganda' is as 'propaganda' does.
Let me assure you that there is really not all that great a leap between 'F*** the MSM'and 'MSM Delenda Est',and the media has made the dis-information system the way it is today.The reason you might find my posing 'scary'is that it is not just me saying that the media is a problem.I don't know what the solution is but 'Houston ,we do indeed have problem',and ignoring it does not improve the situation.

Posted by: dougf at January 22, 2005 11:07 AM

Michael Farris,

You are not on any banned list, nor do I expect you to be put on one. I know a troll when I see one. Like I said, I've been doing this for a long time.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 11:42 AM

Also, Michael Farris, I think Doug's crusade against the mainsteam media is over-the-top, as I already said. Difference between Doug and Piano is that Doug is interested in dialogue and Piano is not. (You, too, are interested in dialogue. The difference between you and Piano is pretty substantial.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 11:48 AM

Piano : Let me get this straight: this fictional TV commercial is what the "MSM" should be showing?

Funny, you don't seem to mind those comical Osama TV commercials we get every now and then, where he advertises for suicide bombers and global terrorism. You know... the one's that are played over and over on CNN as filler inbetween developments in the Scott Peterson trial. That's the kind of propganda the left likes. Hell, Osama even released a "Vote Kerry" commercial two days before the election.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 22, 2005 12:29 PM

dougf, check this out:

http://www.digitaldeliverance.com/MT/archives/US%20Newspaper%20Circulation.gif

significant decline in newspaper circulation (not big enough to qualify as 'serious' yet, but noticeable and notable none the less). I don't know if the same thing is happening in the broader MSM world but wouldn't be surprised if it were.

While not scientific in any way I know of no one my age or younger who watches the big three (CBS, NBC, ABC) for news. If they get their news from TV it is from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox but more typically they get it from the blogosphere.

Time waits for no one and the clock is ticking. Too early for last rites but their health is failing.

Posted by: too many steves at January 22, 2005 12:40 PM

MisterPundit: Funny, you don't seem to mind those comical Osama TV commercials we get every now and then, where he advertises for suicide bombers and global terrorism...That's the kind of propganda the left likes.

Oh, come on. I realize you were answering a troll, but hardly anyone at all on "the left" has anything nice to say about Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 01:21 PM

Too Many Steves: I know of no one my age or younger who watches the big three (CBS, NBC, ABC) for news. If they get their news from TV it is from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox but more typically they get it from the blogosphere.

Exactly right. My wife very occasionally watches one of the big three, but it's almost always the cable three. Same with everyone else I know if I'm aware of their news-comsumption habits. I don't even know what channels the big three are on.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 01:23 PM

Oh, come on. I realize you were answering a troll, but hardly anyone at all on "the left" has anything nice to say about Osama bin Laden.

Just to clarify... I was referring to the showing of the Bin Laden's videos on the news, not acceptance of the message (or Osama Bin Ladin) itself. There is no doubt that each time a new Osama tape surfaced the left reacted with some glee (it afforded them another opportunity to tell us how wrong the Iraq war is because the "real" enemy is still on the loose, and how incompetent Bush is, and blah blah blah).

And yet, when other video's show another, more hopeful version of events in Iraq, some on the left want to keep it off the air. That strikes me as awfully hypocritical.

I believe that, if the Bin Ladin videos are shown for their newsworthiness (and I think they are newsworthy), then the Iraqi election videos should be shown as well, since they are also part of the overall story unfolding in the middle east. Whethwe they are propaganda or not, should be left for us to decide.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 22, 2005 02:54 PM

"I saw domination grow…
And tyranny increase… "
Loser's Blog links to a very moving commercial which phrases what this conflict is about. Now, we just need to deliver on the hope.

Posted by: lily at January 22, 2005 03:00 PM

MisterPundit,

Okay.

Still, I'm not sure if even one stupid troll counts as "some on the left." I'd be shocked if any substantial number of people thought that ad was objectionable. My wife is a Kerry-voting Democrat and she likes it as much as I do. Benjamin here seemed to like it, too, and he ain't exactly a neocon.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 22, 2005 03:03 PM

I'll put in my two cents about media.

Yes, the mainstream media is on its way out. Politics and bias are just spice on the real meat of the subject, though. Their business model is what will kill them. They pick (and compensate) their key personnel based on a balance between credibility and celebrity, with the massive weight tilted to the celebrity end of the scale.

Then they try to market their product on their schedule, on their terms, and expect a wired world to accept their version of events.

How ludicrous is that? Time is money. One, two, three, or more demonstrated failures on the part of say, CBS, to adequately (forget honestly) cover a story that I made time in my day to watch is annoying.

Being told that that's my problem is a quick way for CBS to find themselves without a home on my remote. (Disclosure: I haven't watched a full edition of the CBS evening news since sometime in the early nineties. Life's too short, etc.)

I used to write about "tipping points" in reference to MSM. I've stopped wasting my time. "Brutal Afghan Winter". "Baghdad Stalingrad". "Worst Economy Since Hoover". "No Mandate". "Afghan Refugee Crisis". "TANG Memos".

The federal government is running a surplus this last month; corporate tax receipts. Afghanistan has had elections. Iraq will have elections next week. And social security, taxes, tort abuse, and judicial appointments are going to be addressed in the next two years.

Excepting the Great Depression and World War 2, I cannot think of a single administration that has confronted more critical, bedrock challenges than this one has, since at least Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush has evolved from unintelligible Jeebusland rube with a silver spoon in his mouth into some sort of political Darth Vader/Professor Moriarity( sp?) avatar... if you accept the enlightened word of those who purport be the arbiters of truth.

I do not think that there are as many citizens wholly ignorant of history as the media or political elite have so obviously convinced themselves to be the case. They fail to report the news, and they have failed even more abysmally in their attempts to MAKE the news.

We might celebrate scoundrels more often than we should. Our last president was a cad and enjoyed the wall- to- wall support that only a monolithic media can provide. All Bush has done is pick up the challenges before him and he's been fitted with noose by the same people.

I'll put my money on Bush as far as history's eventual judgement is concerned. In a heartbeat.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 22, 2005 06:03 PM

I'd like to see some unity in this country on the Iraq issue, but frankly there isn't any to be found.
I saw two veterans just back from Iraq, one with a broken leg, get bottles thrown at them by anti-Bush protestors and shouts of 'send them back'! Some nation we're turning into.

Posted by: orily at January 22, 2005 08:01 PM

FWIW, I stopped watching network news during the first Gulf War. And any story that makes me too happy or too upset, I look for antidotes in the usual places.

Cynicism is the only rational approach to the news.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 22, 2005 08:18 PM

What I like about the video is its implication that children don't necessarily carry the bitter memories or the hatred of their parents. They just see other kids to play with (unless they are specifically taught to hate). It seems to imply that the real hope for Iraq lies in the next generation.

One aspect of the MSM's coverage of Iraq that I really hate is the almost weekly (it seems) polls asking whether the war was a mistake or not. I have an anti-war coworker who gloatingly asked me a few weeks back - "So, do you STILL think going into Iraq was a good idea?" I responded, "Ask me in 10 years". If 20/20 hindsight is supposed to pass for wisdom on this issue, then I'll choose my own timeframe for exercising that hindsight.

Posted by: Caroline at January 22, 2005 10:06 PM

I can't stand gloating, I remember how Aaron Brown gloated about Saddam being caught, I get sick of the liberal media that way.

Posted by: erin at January 22, 2005 11:20 PM

Erin - I'm not sure whether you accidentally ommitted a smiley face at the end of that post but generally it makes more sense to gloat over your enemy's defeat than it does to gloat over your own.

Posted by: Caroline at January 23, 2005 06:42 AM

It's acutally not a bad ad at all, especially when you purge the political realities (read: autocratic background) of the region.

But to keep my cynical side up, I seem to remember a recent TCS article by this guy from Oregon who commented on the son of the Libyan leader talking about "Direct Democracy" where unity rules, because there is only one way to go (no opposition parties, no opposition, period.)

Likewise I recall the beautifully shot "Hero" where the "misunderstood" emperor of the Qin only wants unity for all of China (right down to one character set) -- All under him, of course.

And then there is the chattering class's view of Multilateralism - as long as it agrees with the UN-ocrats. And Rush's (like him or hate him) dig on "bipartisanship" which means agreeing with the Democrats (and you can turn it around for the other side too).

Unity is great, especially when you can agree to disagree agreeably. But for some, there is only one acceptable form of it - theirs.

Posted by: Bill at January 23, 2005 11:09 AM

We have an unprecedented amount of civil liberty considering we're at war. It doesn't have to be that way.

Clinton missed a bet there. If he'd just started a war and gotten congress to go along at the beginnin, he could still be president today. And there wouldn't be anything you could do about it.

Posted by: J Thomas at January 23, 2005 11:22 AM

(In 30-second retrospect, I apologize for sounding too down on it, but I have to recognize that for some cultures, even our two party system can seem too "chaotic" and "un-unified" for some corners of the world. Consider the number of parties that now exist in Iraq. I for one think it's great, given that such expression has been banned so heavily before now. But even around here, there are comments saying that the elections are already a disaster due to the number of parties alone - but the clique in question already has members that were bitten by the "direct democracy" bug for some time now. Like I said, I'm hardwired for cynicism.)

Posted by: Bill at January 23, 2005 11:25 AM

MEMRI has the problem that their propaganda videos need to appeal to their sponsors, when ideally they'd appeal to their target viewers. Most advertisers have that problem. There's no obvious solution.

Posted by: J Thomas at January 23, 2005 11:26 AM

dougf: "I know I have a bit of a blind-spot on the MSM front,but I have to tell you,if I were in charge for a day,the media landscape would be seriously,and I use that word in all its ramifications,altered."

The time is coming when the MSM will be forced to change or crumble. As of right now, the only thing we can do to help speed up the inevitable is blog, blog, blog.

At one point I thought the blogshpere was merely an effective watchdog against the lies and elitism of the MSM. However, with the events of our last election, I foresee something even better. One day the MSM will be wiped out, replaced entirely by the blogsphere. The wheels of change are in motion; it's only a matter of time. I just hope and pray that it won't be too late.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at January 23, 2005 12:52 PM

Here's a link to lots of happy Iraqis registering to vote in Irvine.

article

Posted by: PJ at January 23, 2005 01:03 PM

There is plenty of bad news to report from Iraq. But the MSM dwells exclusively on the bad news, and scrupulously excludes any hint of progress in the anti-terrorism war, progress in reconstruction, or progress in the growth of courage and determination on the part of freedom loving Iraqis.

Leftists would lay down and die if they had half the obstacles in their way that the anti-Baathist Iraqis have. Most Iraqis say they want to vote even if it kills them.

Posted by: Bill Funt at January 23, 2005 01:37 PM

Some boarded buses in Modesto at midnight to get here. Others flew in from Seattle, or drove six hours in the family car.

Not Suad Aleshaiker of Irvine. All she did was persuade her doctor at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center to let her sneak out of bed about noon Saturday - three days after stomach surgery.

"I said, 'No matter how many tubes are coming out of my body, I have to go register!'" she said from a wheelchair at the former El Toro Marine base, where she registered to vote for Iraq's first free election in decades. "This is the biggest celebration - like the wedding of Iraq. If there's a wedding, you have to come no matter where you are or what shape you're in."
-------------------------------------------------
This is an excerpt from the article posted by PJ,above.It requires registration but it is uplifting.Almost like reading a PATRIOTIC media for a change.Do yourself a favour and see what it should feel like if we actually had a media that was worth anything at all.

Posted by: dougf at January 23, 2005 02:14 PM

I did email the writer to say thanks for the good news, even tho it was buried on page 19. :)

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