19 July 2008

Non-stories

I'm sitting here on REDACTED in the midst of a nonstory. At least, checking on the major news organs, there is little to say about REDACTED Province. There's been some sketchy and inaccurate reportage of an incident in Karmah where some Marines died for complacency. The continued efforts of Marines and Soldiers which have made this province dull and boring (as compared to the 'excitement' of my last tour) are not newsworthy.

Few things in Iraq are newsworthy, or so it seems.

CNN decided to creatively arrange facts in order to create a story that fits the narrative of failure they are increasingly desperate to portray. The news story claimed there was a problem maintaining MRAPs and many of them in-country are broken down -- "one in five" according to their story. The story has been refuted--MRAPs consistently maintain 90% or better OR rates. Now, if you look at the wording of their story, it's interesting "one in five has been out of commission." Now that makes it sound like if a unit has 10 MRAPs, only 8 of them work. What is means (if the statistic is not merely invented from a CNN editor's fertile imagination) is that 2 of them have been listed on a deadline report at some time. Not that they have been broken down at the same time, nor is there any implication about how long they stayed on the deadline report. Now, an MRAP is supposed to go out of commission from time to time--the way they work is to sacrifice tires and suspension parts but preserve the crew compartment and the Soldiers inside. They are designed to be fairly easy to fix, so that after losing pieces to an IED it can be back on the road in short order--I've seen them roll out in 24 to 48 hours after being hauled back to base on a flatbed truck.

Or witness the flurry of hysteria regarding IRAMs, said to be a "deadly" threat, never mind that they had killed all of 2 people. Now, I got a chance to look at some pictures and reports on IRAMs, and I'm not impressed. Clever little toys, but there are a half-dozen weaknesses that are easily exploitable. And further, the pattern of attacks clearly indicated they were the work of a relatively small group. Sure enough, after a failed attack yielded an intact launcher for full study, they announced the capture of the cell committing the attacks. And I haven't heard anything on the subject since.

One wonders why they don't run stories on good stuff--like the trend for home-brewed explosives to show up in IEDs rather than military ordnance, or the increase in our found-and-cleared rate, or trends showing both attacks and effective attacks dropping consistently. One wonders.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Bill McD said...

"If it bleeds, it leads."

Seriously, dude, it's not a vast left-wing media conspiracy to suppress good news. It's simply an axiomatic belief among the media that what sell papers, what gets ratings, is bad news. People tune in to be informed about things that alarm them. Good news doesn't grip the attention the way someone screaming "OMG, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!" does.

If it were because they were trying to suppress support for the war, you'd see more positive coverage on Fox. Instead what you see if negative coverage on other topics.

You wonder why they don't run stories on good stuff? Because they don't run stories on ANY good stuff. Anywhere. Happiness doesn't get the green.

Stop for a moment. Look at all the news sources. Don't look for 'good news about Iraq', look for 'good news of any sort'. Other than one or two fluff human-interest pieces, it's not there. That's not what they report. It hasn't been for, well, more or less forever. :/

5:42 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

If you want to be understood by civilians (not an obvious assumption), it would help if you write out an acronym the first time you use it, e.g.,
Instituto Argentino de Racionalización de Materiales (IRAM),
and
Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples (Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples, MRAP)

Otherwise, it isn't obvious what a MRAP is, even to somebody who has recently done some research to find out that a MRAP is quite useless if you step out of it after an attack, and major historical train wrecks may ensue.

Think positive about the IRAMs. If the major news organs report, essentially, "All quiet on the Eastern Front", it's nice that the occasional Stalin organ breaks the silence that might otherwise be unbearable.

cMAD ← No news is good news, I hope.

6:11 PM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 07/20/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

2:26 PM  

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