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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If You Cannot Get it Right, You Won't Get it At All...

That is the message I get when I read this post from Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee. He has a memo posted on his site from the al-Maliki government in Iraq directing “official speakers or the media advisors” within the Defense and Interior ministries to no longer speak with the media in regards to security issues.

Bob Owens does not see this as a good thing... I am going to respectfully disagree with him on this issue. I love his blog, I read as often as I can and I generally agree with him. I respect his analysis on many subjects and will continue to do so. On this issue, I see things a bit differently though.

I have said quite often that if the Press Corp cannot get the information right, if they are going to use stringers or misquote the members that are allowed to speak to the media, or if they are only going to print half of what is said to deliberately make things look worse than they are, then perhaps the media shouldn't HAVE any access to security information. Especially if the media cares more about milestones and headlines than they think about our soldiers, the coalition forces or the Iraqi Army or police lives.

Many will cry out, this is not a democracy, where is the freedom of the press or freedom of speech... I would remind you, a democracy in Iraq, Israel or any other country is NOT THE SAME as a democracy in America. They do not have the same laws or constitution, they are a"different" country and are not to be held to OUR sense of freedom but to theirs.

Perhaps the media needs to take a share of the responsibility for al-Maliki's decision....they were warned to get the whole story, to stop relying on rumor and reporting it as fact as in the case of Jamil Hussein, who perhaps exists, perhaps doesn't, Hussein isn't his name and his information has been proven to not only be flawed but completely untrue in the matter of the mosques and the burning six.

The Jawa Report also sees this as something neccessary for the Iraqi's and has stated so before.

Hmmm, very interesting. It looks like the al Maliki government is shutting down communications from the various ministries to the press. It should be remembered, that as a coalition government, Sadr's party controls various government ministries. I've always argued that controlling the message is half the battle, and that censorship is not a problem in a war zone, but we'll see if this has any effect. May be too little, years too late.


From Protein Wisdom:

I can’t remember where, but someone yesterday raised a hypothetical in the comments that I’ll paraphrase this way: what is likely to save more lives in the long run and help bring stability to the war-torn country—a redeployment of our troops to the Iraqi borders, so that the “civil war” within Iraq can play itself out? Or a press blackout that lasts for a few weeks?

Process is indeed important. And war crimes need to be exposed—which is one of the reasons we value transparency in the media. At the same time though, is it possible the Maliki government has become aware of a propaganda effort within those ministries that is helping to sow dissent, weaken support for a unified Iraq, and undermine efforts to disband militias and fight the insurgents effectively?

The fact is, if I were al-Maliki, I would see the media bias that our media has shown and I would find it unacceptable also.

All that is shown, in our media, is the deaths and a sick desire to somehow see al-Maliki and our soldiers and coalition forces fail.... would YOU be happy with that type of distorted coverage? How would you fight it?

Do I see any downside to this latest development? Oh yeah. The people that read the news or listen to it will now ONLY be given rumor and unreliable news....and believe it or not, many still believe the propaganda they are being fed.

Time will tell whether this has been done for good reasons or bad but for the moment, I see it as a good step if it is not being done for the wrong reasons.