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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Sunday, March 21, 2004

ABC Finds Nothing Positive in Liberation of Iraq 

Many media outlets attempt slant a story in a particular direction while appearing neutral, by selecting positive and negative arguments designed to guide the reader to a particular conclusion. When presented as 'news' this is, of course, insidious dishonesty.

However, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation doesn't bother with such niceties when commenting on the war in Iraq. This piece on the anniversary of the war in Iraq presents the story in purely negative terms, as if there was not a single positive thing to be said about the unseating of a brutal dictator by a broad-based international coalition.

Take the "then and now" picture portrayed in the two introductory paragraphs:

A year ago this weekend, bombs began dropping from the sky over Baghdad and "shock and awe" stormed into the lexicon, as the US-led war in Iraq began.
Today, the bombs are detonated from inside Iraq, the targets are unpredictable and the carnage indiscriminate.

The first sentence implies that bombs were randomly 'dropped' over the capital (rather than guided by satellite into government targets on the western side of the Tigris). The second sentence is similarly desolate.

All indications are that Iraqis support the toppling of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath regime, but somehow the ABC didn't think this was worth mentioning.

If you're not convinced that the ABC is systematically biased, take a look at Hope and Realism in Iraq by Mark Bannerman.

In order to present a picture of everyday life in Iraq, Mark Bannerman interviewed ordinary Iraqis from all walks of life. Actually, only a policeman and one ordinary Iraqi. Actually, the 'ordinary Iraqi' was a Ba'athist whose job in the State media "disappeared with Saddam Hussein." (Apparently the new independent media in Iraq actually want to find out what is happening and report it, rather than operating as the mouthpiece of State intelligence).
"For the Younis family, it is fair to say the departure of Saddam has been a mixed blessing. Food and many other essentials are much easier to come by but they have come with a price"
- namely, that they no longer enjoy the status that comes with being employed by a totalitarian state.

The other stories in this feature are unrelentingly negative, from the hostile interview of Richard Armitage to the exchange of cliches between the 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien (ABC) and ABC foreign affairs editor Peter Cave.
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