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


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:

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

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.


  • Alan

    This whole vicious hate cycle started from the middle east war of the 1970’s when jews defeated the arabs nations, unable to fight a coventional war like a man, the extremist started to hijack flights, kill civilians, plant bombs and hate mongering. This fanatics maniacs call themselves jihad holy war soldiers but they are actually mentally sick cult followers. After rounds of earthquake, tsunami and bombs, these fanatics still strongly believe that they are the chosen ones by heavens and the only way to get there & end their suffering as human beings is to kill the infidels.

  • Alan

    These are the same groups of stereotype people who wear the white robe, smash the glasses of playboy magazine office in indonesia, ( while allow a man to keep three or more wifes with age of 8-16 years old, I don’t know what they do in their private room, but the girls finally get pregnant, must be something immoral ? )

    The same stereotype also kill innocent monks in southern thailand, kidnap the rich in philippines, kill foreign workers in pakistan, bomb the mosque go-ers in iraq, smash hindu temples, drive the plane to WTC on 11/9, kill the police in Urumuqi in china, and dreaming of building an empire span from indonesia to kosovo.

    oh, forgot to mention that, before they dissappear in China, they were kept in chinese version of guantanamo bay too. You know how is it like.

  • Alan

    three hundreds kids were killed in Beslan school hostage, many more was murdered in Chechnya, the same thing is happening in southern Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, India, all in the name of jihad holy war.

    Don’t forget the bali bombing, who on earth is sick enough in their mind to kill innocient civilians just because they are westerners ? who will not hesitate to bomb disco and bars ? who on earth is sick enough to kill school children and teachers ? what kind of man will seized hostages in the Moscow theatre ? target at civilians ? or the mosque go-ers in iraq ? world civilization and peace is not going anywhere with this type of mentally sick maniacs living among us.

    The urgency to clean up this maniacs in their door steps and in their hide outs in iraq or any prt of the world, is such an urgent issue that all other issue mentioned here and above becomes not important anymore.

  • Alan

    United effort needed to combat terrorism

    (China Daily) Updated:2005-07-25 09:51

      Evidence of a link between the fatal explosions in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday and those in London since July 7 is lacking.

      But the short interval between the incidents alerts us to a new upsurge in acts of terror, and reminds us of our collective vulnerability when terror attacks.

      We send our deepest condolences to those killed or wounded in the deadly attacks. We denounce the evil-doers, whoever they are, whatever excuse they have, in the harshest words our language offers.

      Terrorism is a heinous crime against humanity. Its extremely damaging potential lies in the fact that we never know when is the wrong time, or where is the wrong place to be.

      As with the carnage in Sharm el-Sheikh, it is not yet known what the intended target was. All we know is that the victims include not only Egyptians but also foreign nationals who happened to be there.

      Who, apart from the terrorists themselves, could have ever anticipated the popular destination for holidaymakers, venue for major international conventions and host of the historic Middle East peace talks five months ago, would become a killing ground in the small hours of an otherwise peaceful morning?

      The international nature of the casualty list is a fresh reminder that no country and its citizens can claim immunity from the threat of terror in our increasingly globalized world.

      Terrorists’ repeated success in sowing fear and panic makes us appear helpless before those shooting from the dark.

      We will be helpless if we do not jointly act, or we attempt to confront the threat single-handedly.

      As long as terrorists can find havens in any corner of the world, the web of terror will keep regenerating after any setback. We have learnt this from the gains and losses of the world’s anti-terror campaign after the September 11 attacks.

      But are we capable of weaving an all-inclusive safety net for collective defence? That is a question all countries and their leaders should ask themselves.

      The post September 11 war on terror has uncovered the conspicuous limits of individual countries’ initiatives. A lack of consensus on defining terrorism, as well as countries’ diverging agendas, for instance, has sometimes rendered strategies for combating terrorism ineffective.

      The United Nations may well be the sole body capable of managing a meaningful joint defence. A divided UN will be a lame duck. Unless all member countries unite, speak with one voice and act in concert, no promises of peace will bear fruit.

      When the UN was conceived, it carried humanity’s aspirations for development in a peaceful environment. These dreams remain unchanged.

      Reform of the UN is necessary not because any specific nation should have a louder voice on the Security Council, but because it should be more efficient when facing today’s challenges, among which is terrorism.

      It is hoped this session of the UN General Assembly will finally iron out disagreements on the definition of terrorism and pass a practical and comprehensive programme of action to deal with it.

      It will prove detrimental to all if its agenda of reforms continues to be hijacked by the private interests of any one country.

  • […] From Global Voices – 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). […]

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