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Asking the Blogosphere: Is the media telling the real story on Iraq?

Newsmaker_screenshot

Is the media telling the truth about Iraq? Do you have an opinion on this issue? How does the nature, quality, and content of media coverage of the Iraq war ultimately impact the lives of people in Iraq, the Middle East and around the planet?

In your country, how does the media’s Iraq coverage rate? Fair and balanced? Biased? Which way?  How about bloggers’ reporting and discussion of the issue? Have blogs helped clarify things or added to the confusion? We want to bring the opinions of the world’s bloggers on this issue directly into the debate.  Please join us for a live discussion on Wednesday at 22:00–24:00 GMT (6–8pm EDT).

Here’s the plan: Reuters will be hosting a panel discussion which will be videocast and audio cast via this link: http://reuters.com/IraqNewsmakers

Several members of the Global Voices community will be live-blogging the event: Middle East/North Africa Editor Haitham Sabbah, Iraq contributor Salam Adil, Iraqi-Australian blogger who now lives in the U.S., Fayrouz Hancock, Omar of Iraq the Model blogging from Baghdad, and Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar (who will be present in the room in New York).

Panelists in the room will include CBS’s Lara Logan, independent Iraqi photo journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Reuters’ Iraq Bureau Chief Alastair MacDonald, Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, Chief of Strategic Communication, Combined Arms Center, U.S. Army, and others. 

We will have a live IRC chat which you can join (via the link above or on Freenode at #globalvoices. Read here for more instructions for getting on IRC, or you can use the client on the Reuters event site.). I will be present in the room as “IRC ambassador,” representing your questions and comments in the room and making sure that the panelists address as many as possible.

If you have views in advance, you can start sharing them now in several ways:

- Write a comment on this post.

- Write your views on your own blog and trackback to this post.

- When you find blog posts and articles related to this issue that you want to share please tag them “gv-iraq” in Technorati or del.icio.us.

Feel free to tag your own posts that way too so we can find them easily and re-blog them for the world to see.

More links and background:

The ongoing debate about media coverage of Iraq has flared up again recently in the U.S. Last month Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asked: Have the media declared war on the war?  Others think the Bush Administration has declared war on the media.  Lara Logan of CBS recently did an interview on CNN in which she responded to critics who think she and her fellow journalists covering Iraq are biased against U.S. efforts there. Her response angered supporters of the U.S. Iraq policy. (Click here to watch the video clip on YouTube.) The experience of kidnapped journalist Jill Caroll also highlights the risks journalists face in covering Iraq.

In the U.S., the right-wing thinks the U.S. media is biased against the war, and the left-wing thinks the U.S. media was too unthinkingly supportive of the war. There is a real question about whether the war would have happened or unfolded differently if the press had reported different facts. In 2003 a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that an American person’s support for the war had a strong correlation to what media organizations they relied on for their news. After the war started, analysts point out that depending on whether you were American, European, or Middle Eastern, you got a very different view of the war through your media.

Some U.S. media organizations have concluded that their prewar coverage may not have been vigorous enough. The New York Times said in its mea culpa of May 2004: “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.” Such conclusions are unacceptable to those who think the Times was too biased against the war in the first place.

We’d really like to bring your opinions on these issues to a global audience beyond normal blog-readers through this online and offline forum. If you aren’t available to participate in the live online discussion on Wednesday, don’t worry. The Reuters web team will archive the video and make shorter highlights and quotes available as well. We’re also hoping to have a transcript of the IRC discussion. We will summarize, quote, and link to your reactions and opinions here on Global Voices in the days following the event. We’re looking forward to some lively comments threads and trackbacks!

FINAL NOTE: Global Voices participation in this Reuters’ Iraq Newsmaker event is an experiment in figuring out how to create positive interaction between mainstream media and bloggers – with the goal of bringing voices from citizens’ media to a wider audience. For more information about our relationship with Reuters, please see our FAQ.

15 comments

  • […] Great project underway at Global Voices Online: In your country, how does the media’s Iraq coverage rate? Fair and balanced? Biased? Which way? How about bloggers’ reporting and discussion of the issue? Have blogs helped clarify things or added to the confusion? We want to bring the opinions of the world’s bloggers on this issue directly into the debate. […]

  • Asking the Blogosphere: Is the media telling the real story on Iraq?

    Let’s have good news from Iraq, please. No! Not possible? Why?
    Rebecca MacKinnon – Global Voices: How does the nature, quality, and content of media coverage of the Iraq war ultimately impact the lives of people in Iraq, the Middle East and a…

  • Barone on the press and its proclivities

    He absolutely nails it.

  • […] […]

  • DHH

    Is the “mainstream” media telling the real story on Iraq? I don’t think so. If they were, they would tell you that:

    1. Corporate America identifies it’s national interests (a euphemistic term) in the natural resources of Iraq;

    2. To have these national interests in their possession would need the co-operation of the top man in government, usually a corrupt dictator, which was Saddam Hussein;

    3. But with Hussein biting the hand that feeds him — he was put there by America (ie, by planning to switch from dollar to euro), Corporate America had to have him removed;

    4. the CIA found it difficult to have him assassinated (they did that easily with Allende);

    5. So Corporate America, via Cheney, Rumsfeld and the figurehead GWBush came out with the flimsy WMDs story as an excuse, which they later renamed as “the war on terrorism”;

    6. Israel, through Mossad, helped them along the way with the Trade Center Twin Tower collapse (seeing that they shared the same objective, with the Arab world as Israel’s enemy, it would help them to have the mightiest military power have the Arabs as a common enemy);

    7. America invades the non-threatening sovereign nation of Iraq in order to assure that they have in their control, that nation’s major natural resource;

    8. but Iraq is no threat to the world except America’s national interests.

    But instead, the news we get is:

    1. We have identified the Terrorist and it is Iraq (with no evidence whatsoever that links them with the Trade Center Tower collapse);

    2. Along the way, they blurred Arabs and Islamists, lumping all of them under the T-word;

    3. Americans are still searching for WMDs.

    Why is the mainstream media not reporting the facts? Because they have been threatened not to. They have been told that if they value their life or their source of income, they should steer clear away from reporting what is not officially sanctioned by the American government’s propaganda machinery.

    You will find this information on the Internet, via the non-mainstream media, no-hands-tied-behind-their-backs independent reporters and leaked memos. It’s the bloggers who see these (and sees thru the propaganda), and they create one voice against the mainstream media’s biased reporting on Iraq.

  • DICK PEARSALL

    SPEAKING AS AN AMERICAN AND A VIETNAM VETERAN , SOMEONE WHO WAS BROUGHT UP TO RESPECT THIS COUNTRY AND ITS LEADERS WHETHER RIGHT OR WRONG IN THE CURRENT POLITICAL VENUE, AS ONLY TIME WILL TELL THE TALE IN HISTORY AS TO THEIR BEING RIGHT OR WRONG IN THEIR DECISION MAKING EFFORTS. I FEEL THAT I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT THE ONLY THING THAT FEELS LIKE “VIETNAM ALL OVER AGAIN” IN THIS CURRENT CONFLICT IS THE TYPICAL LEFT WING BIASED NEWS REPROTING, THE SAME UN AMERICAN PROPAGANDA THAT THEY (BEING THE SAME PEOPLE THAT RAN THE NEWS THEN ARE RUNNING IT NOW, AT LEAST IN THE REALM OF LEFT WING THOUGHT PROCESS) USED THEN ARE STILL USING IT NOW, THE ONLY THING THAT HAS CHANGED IS THE ARENA OF CONFLICT AND THE SOLDIERS NAMES. THEY ARE STILL OVER THERE FIGHTING FOR THEIR COUNTRY, NO THEIR NOT FIGHTING IN THEIR COUNTRY BUT THE ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR COUNTRY AS IN TEHY CHOOSE TO BE IN THE MILITARY OF THIS UNITED STATES AND DID SO VOLUNTARILY, WITH FORE THOUGHT AND ACTION ON THAT THOUGHT. YES MANY OF THEM WISH THEY WERE NOT THERE, BUT THEY WENT ANYWAY, THE MEDIA TALKS ABOUT MORALE AND THE SOLDIERS THAT ARE COMPLINING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN AN ILLEGAL WAR, WELL WHERE ARE THEY , FUNNY THING i DONT SEE THESE MASS’S OF COMPLAINERS GETTING OFF BACK HERE IN THE STATES AND HOLDING NEWS CONFERENCES TO MAKE THEIR COMPLAINTS KNOW IN THE PUBLIC EYE, ITS BECAUSEITS ANOTHER IN A LONG LINE OF POLITICAL INVENTINONS OF THE LEFT WING LIBERAL RUN MEDIA TO CONTROL THE MASS’S THROUGH THEIR OWN AGENDA AND THE USE OF PROPOGANDA VIA THEIR NEWSPAPRES AND RADIO AND TV STATIONS. ANOTHER VIETNAM, LOOK IN THE MIRROR, BEFORE YOU BLURT OUT SUCH FOOLISHNESS.

  • My God! In which world do the american people live? “Fight for their country”? “left wing liberal media”? hey, for decades the american people has been living in a dream where they think they are a nation of “Rambos”, “Superheroes”…All their culture (movies, books, Tvs) shows that USA alwyas has an enemy, and they are the nice guys against the bad guys. And they truly believe that their children go to the battlefield fighting for freedom, for their country, for the american way of life. I don’t think so….All those words about left wing, war on terror..is only a matter of those boys and girls are fighting for the big companies interests…economic interests. For years the politicians have been sending kids to death to attend their purposes, making them believe they are fighting for a honorable cause. Please folks, return to reality. Your kids are dying in Iraq and you are completly blind. There’s no honor in dying for falsities and lies.

  • matthew vezina

    STATE OF THE NATION

    Haliburton is for certain
    as evil as a corporation can be.
    Making more billions buying and selling
    the destrucion of foreign countries.

    That Dick Cheney is really so zany
    wanting a world power of one.
    Strong and free, dumb as can be
    imposing democracy at the end of a gun.

    And Condi Rice is oh so nice
    a token for the minority.
    As for George Bush Jr., it is only a rumour
    that he cares for the poor and unfree.

  • Alan

    Those damn extremist in the middle east, need a force to balance them, i can only see US armed forces as the one, who can do it to neutralise the treats, I see them as treats, as they are the one who will kill innocent peoples on the street, kill families for revenge, or kill the civilians and citizens of a particular country, in more accurate terms, they are the terrorist.

    One day if one island republic offended the terrorist group, they will not hesitate to kill everyone on the island, including children, women and babies, similiar to what they will like to do to US citizens or Chinese workers in Pakistan.

  • Alan

    Those maniac i mentioned, do not fight like a man, face to face with you, they will shoot a bullet at your back, hide behind the crowd, use children as human shield, dress up like a black robe women, tried to kill everyone holding american passport, fanatically sick in their mind, strongly believe that they are fighting a holy war, that killing every infidels will make them going to heaven, like a cult members, who are willing to sacrifice their life at a blow of whistle.

    In China, if they tried to bomb the police station, they don’t get lock up in nice places like Guntanamo bay with beds and toilet bowl, and gets media attention or sympathy, like what they get in the west. they just dissappear.

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