If a war was going on and the media is not covering it, is there truly a war?
One of the greatest disconnects in America today is how conservatives and liberals view the traditional media and its influence on public opinion. Conservatives have for years rightly called out the established news outlets for having excessive biases against conservatism, whether it be cultural or economic issues. Foreign policy often times is a third wheel but that does not mean the traditional media will not use an issue to harm elected Republicans and conservatives.
A huge case in point is the War on Terror coverage by the media, especially in 2004-2007. After the spectacularly successful military campaign in Iraq in 2003, the traditional media slowly began its own counter-offensive. Who can forget the daily drumbeat of military casualties and the almost gleeful attitude of reporters when the numbers of Americans killed reached 1,000. Now, anyone who is remotely aware of military history knows the US has lost more men than that in training exercise accidents over the years. This does not belittle the deaths of the men lost in Iraq, but a modest dose of perspective is helpful.
The daily barrage of negative coverage had an impact on public opinion and coupled with the egregious media coverage of Hurricane Katrina sapped support for former President George W. Bush. Reduced favorability eventually translated into the GOP losing control of the Congress in 2006, but it did not force President Bush to lose his focus in winning the War on Terror. His steely reserve and bold move with General Petreus to support the massive surge in 2007 will likely go down as one of the greatest decisions in US military history.
Somewhere in 2007 the traditional media decided to ramp down coverage of the war in Iraq and expedited this even more so after the 2008 elections. We can speculate all sorts of reasons (financial crisis being the main one) for this but an obvious answer is that now Democrats were in control of funding and executing the War. Newsrooms dominated by old line Democrats naturally do not see much political advantage in hammering President Obama, Senate Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What other realistic explanation can a thinking person possibly come up with here? Funding for the War by Democrat-controlled Congresses continues, President Obama authorizes further troop surges, and our armed forces continue to serve valiantly with causalities every month.
Although I know the list of the fallen has grown in recent years, I cannot recall seeing or reading a story about the casualty total in many years. Enter Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post, pillar of the center-left foreign policy establishment in DC. Writing earlier this week, he expresses “deep” concern about the apparent disconnect between the policy decisions in Washington regarding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the American people. Well, perhaps he and his ilk have something to do with this disconnect. I mean heaven forbid the media’s coverage would be in one direction for President Bush but something entirely different for President Obama. Trees have been falling in the forest since 2007. The traditional media have chosen not to report this information and then they openly speculate why a disconnect exists. Is it any wonder their readership continues to fall off the cliff?