Tarry for the Nonce

August 17, 2005

Where Is the Happy Talk?

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:19 pm

The AP is in a bit of a stew:

Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

“Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?” the anonymous polemic asks, in part. “Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?”

“Of course we didn’t know!” the message concludes. “Our media doesn’t tell us!” . . .

Ms. Goudreau’s newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context . . .

Mr. Silverman said in an interview that he was aware of that perception. “Other editors said they get calls from readers who are hearing stories from returning troops of the good things they have accomplished while there, and readers find that at odds with the generally gloomy portrayal in the papers of what’s going on in Iraq,” he said.

Mr. Silverman acknowledges the problem, but declines to do anything about it, saying that “it was much easier to add up the number of dead than to determine how many hospitals received power on a particular day or how many schools were built.”

Excuses. Excuses.

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6 Comments

  1. Oh…I thought the title was Where is the Hippy Talk

    Looks like a conspiracy to me. Good to know the AP actually cares about truth and reporting the facts, over their agendas. (oh wait, my bad).

    I plead the fifth.

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 17, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

  2. Again, this is about the selection of facts, not ignoring “truth.” Unfortunately, if it bleeds, it leads. In any event, no “happy” facts will make the bad facts untrue (and, from my perspective, there are a lot of bad facts coming out of Iraq).

    Comment by Troy — August 17, 2005 @ 2:46 pm

  3. [I]f it bleeds, it leads.

    That is thoroughly quotable. May I?

    Comment by laura — August 17, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Although I wish that I could claim credit for the line, Laura, it is not mine. With a quick Google search, I did not find the origin, but it was described in some places as “an old news media axiom” and a “glibly accepted axiom of modern journalism.”

    Comment by Troy — August 17, 2005 @ 6:38 pm

  5. Troy is quite right.

    Consider your local TV news. Whenever I’ve watched, it always goes something like this:

    Commercial runs all day: Could your children’s toothpaste GIVE THEM CANCER?? Action 5 investigates at 10!

    10:00: Story of some grisly murder

    10:04: Story of a robbery gone bad

    10:06: Corruption at City Hall

    etc. etc.

    Watching that, it makes you wonder what kind of idiot actually lives in this city. Same model applies to Iraq “coverage.”

    Comment by Toly — August 19, 2005 @ 6:29 am

  6. ummmmmmmmmm………..

    Isn’t this exactly why Al invented the internet?

    Comment by auntlori — August 20, 2005 @ 6:36 am


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