The Iraq Not Seen: …
The Iraq Not Seen: This article from the Christian Science Monitor tells (once again) the story of an Iraq full of hope, and a media that are intent on not showing it.

Cpl. Stan Mayer has seen the worst of war. In the leaves of his photo album, there are casual memorials to the cost of the Iraq conflict – candid portraits of friends who never came home and graphic pictures of how insurgent bombs have shredded steel and bone.

Yet the Iraq of Corporal Mayer’s memory is not solely a place of death and loss. It is also a place of hope. It is the hope of the town of Hit, which he saw transform from an insurgent stronghold to a place where kids played on Marine trucks. It is the hope of villagers who whispered where roadside bombs were hidden. But most of all, it is the hope he saw in a young Iraqi girl who loved pens and Oreo cookies.

Like many soldiers and marines returning from Iraq, Mayer looks at the bleak portrayal of the war at home with perplexity – if not annoyance. It is a perception gap that has put the military and media at odds, as troops complain that the media care only about death tolls, while the media counter that their job is to look at the broader picture, not through the soda straw of troops’ individual experiences.

This cover story for the media is preposterous. There have been plenty of “soda straw” stories about the pain and anxiety of some soldiers and their families, as there should be. But Cindy Sheehan’s soda straw, and others like her, have been magnified far above any good news a Cpl. Mayer might like to bring. The much-missed Good News from Afghanistan and Iraq articles that Arthur Chrenkoff used to gather and dispense were huge tomes that would cover just 2 weeks. But from the media, only one side of the broader picture ever emerges; human interest stories, but specifically and almost exclusively the tragic ones.

Indeed, you can find military personnel that are dour about the Iraq situation. They do exist. But there are most definitely in the minority (64% to 32%). You would think that when doing “soda straw” stories from Iraq, about 60% of them would be about good news. But you’d be wrong. Tellingly, the split among news media folks as to whether we’ll succeed in Iraq or not is almost precisely the opposite of the military.

(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out and Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)

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