That’s the question I ask in
my Dallas Morning News piece this
morning. That headline runs under a
photograph of a US soldier standing in an Iraqi classroom. The answer, which
is in the next headline, is this: “It’s the only one like it we could find.”
It seems that we went looking for wire service photos of U.S. soldiers in
Iraq doing good things to help the Iraqi people. There’s no shortage of good
news to report from the rebuilding, though little of that news seems to make
it into the American news media. Our photo department did a search of the
wire archives for the past month to six weeks, and found only one
photo that fit our broad description. The photo desk said that if these
photos aren’t being shot in Iraq, it’s because there’s no demand for them
from papers and magazines back home.
This doesn’t necessarily tell us that there’s a problem of media bias
against the war. It’s extremely dangerous to be in Iraq covering the war
right now, and newspapers are going to send their photographers and
reporters to the bigger news events of the day (e.g., battles, gunfights).
Few papers are going to risk the lives of their journalists to cover a
school opening. But schools are opening, and Americans are not
getting the full picture.