The Keyhole Effect
Once again, we're being subjected to hysteria in the media. It's not quagmire anymore, it's worse--failure, defeat. The Iraqis hate us. Bremer is alienating everybody and is sitting on his trunks. Chalabi is being accused of blackmailing people involved in the UNSCAM scandal and/or spying for the Iranians. We're bungling everything possible and killing celebrants at a wedding party, or were they part of a terrorist underground railroad? On top of all that, we're not killing fast enough.
Of course, we're not seeing the whole picture, because of the preference for graphic violence, scandal and conflict. It would be interesting to pull back from some of these video clips of riots, gun battles, the aftermath of car bombs to show a larger setting.
Television and news reporting in general give us a narrow view of what's going on and we tend to generalize from that view. It's the same effect that Newt Gingrich used in the early days of C-Span when he was speaking on the floor of the House but viewers couldn't see that there were no other representatives in the chamber with him until Tip O'Neill ordered that the cameras pull back. By focusing on the neighborhoods where violence is occurring, our media give the impression, without affirmatively saying so, that what we see reported is happening everywhere throughout Iraq because we can't see the size of the country and all the peaceful areas. This is why people can get away with complaining that we haven't found WMD stockpiles. If you've ever seen the movie "Holes," you may get my point.
Anyway, it would be nice if any of the news organizations would try to add some perspective to their reports to really give us a true picture. It's understandable that the picture changes as more facts accumulate, but that makes it all the more important for reporters, producers and editors to follow up and makes it clear when the facts aren't clear. The Middle East is not an area where all is as it seems, yet our press seems almost eager to disbelieve whatever our military says,