Rich, I thought your column yesterday made a very important point. The letters you post today make valid points as well. Media coverage of Iraq has been biased, and that bias has indeed helped to shape events there for the worse. At the same time, conservative distrust of the media’s very real bias has inclined us to dismiss reports about problems in Iraq that are real.
In the end, I think the media bears fundamental responsibility for this. Had they been less biased–had they reported acts of heroism and the many good things we have done in Iraq–I think conservatives would actually have taken their reporting of the problems in Iraq more seriously. In effect, the media’s consistent liberal bias discredits even its valid reports.
But you are right that MSM’s failings place a burden on smart conservatives not to be too dismissive, just because of the bias. We wish the media were more balanced, and therefore more believable. But we only hurt ourselves if we automatically dismiss anything MSM reports. Again, I think the media bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for this problem. But conservatives still need to be smart about this, or we only end up hurting ourselves.
The other day. In “PR Grand Slam,” I called attention to an excellent article by Robert Zelnick, “Iraq: Last Chance.” It’s a powerful piece, by an former ABC news reporter, now Hoover Institution fellow, who is most definitely not liberally biased. I recommend Zelnick’s piece on Iraq as an example of how even reporters who do not share the media’s liberal bias see serious problems in Iraq.
But it’s a terrible shame that we’ve come to the point where our ability to believe news reports hinges on a those rare cases where the record shows freedom from liberal bias. The media has discredited themselves, making it tough to take them seriously even when they are right, and that has hurt us all.