CNN invited two heroes from the Kentucky National Guard who just returned from Iraq to tell their stories on “Live From” today. The segment includes the story of how one of them earned a silver star and some comments on how rewarding it was to make friends with Iraqis who are helping rebuild the country. But most relevant to my beat were these comments on the media’s coverage of the war from Capt. Todd Lindner:
KYRA PHILLIPS: Now that you’ve come home, and you’re seeing the news, and you’re sort of seeing how things are portrayed — I want to get both of you to respond to this — are we getting it right, Todd?
LINDNER: Um, you know honestly I haven’t watched the news since I’ve been home. I’ve only been home for about 12 hours, so…
PHILLIPS: I don’t blame you, I’d rather hang out with the family too.
LINDNER: But, uh, we did watch the news when we were back in Baghdad, and we had AFN, and we were able to watch CNN, but I don’t know that they always had it right, and I don’t know that it’s anybody’s fault, but for us, we understood our purpose for being there, and we just wanted to make a difference and have an impact, and we definitely did that. But it is kind of disheartening sometimes to see everything focused on just the, the death and destruction and the IED strikes and not focused on how well the U.S. and coalition forces are doing building up the Iraqi police services and the Iraqi army. It really is a tremendous effort being put into that infrastructure and building a self-sufficient government over there. And they’re absolutely making progress.
I’m glad to see CNN asking the soldiers for their opinions about the coverage of the war, and Lindner’s take seems fair to me — especially since the discrepancy between the number of stories about the 2,000th casualty and the Iraqi constitution was so vast even the normally left-of-center CJR Daily took note.