Monday, January 31, 2005

AFTERMATH OF IRAQ VOTE

Been reading the blogs about the news media coverage of the Iraq vote and the reaction from this one really sums it up, from PoliPundit. This is in reaction to the overwhelmingly negative tone of the coverage coming from the international news organizations, particularly CNN International which seemed to be reporting nothing but doom and gloom about the election. I've watched some of CNN International's coverage on the Internet and man was it ever downbeat. And BBC World's newscasts are all doom and gloom every night. (Reminds me of when Barbara Frum was hosting the Journal on CBC; she was all doom and gloom as well. But she was still more upbeat than either the BBC and CNN International were in Iraq.)

In sharp contrast, Fox News sent over Geraldo Rivera, who, say the TV watchers, seemed really moved about all the Iraqis who were bravely going to the polls to cast their ballots for the first time in their lives. A lot of people are joking about this, about Geraldo's over-the-top performance, but the truth is that there's a lot of viewers out there who have a warm, mushy feeling about democracy and elections. I know I do. It's just when the voters make a hash of things and elect the wrong people that I get discouraged. But I'm a big believer in democracy, and more importantly, in freedom. If I was over there in Iraq seeing these people voting for the first time in their lives in a free election, doing something we Westerners take for granted, I'd get choked up too.

You know, I think it's great that some reporters got all emotional about these Iraqi elections and were telling it like it is about how great it was for these people. And that's the truth; these elections were great. These Iraqis who suffered for years under Saddam Hussein and his totalitarian dictatorship were now able to share the same freedoms that Canadians and Americans have enjoyed for years- freedoms that eventually came to eastern Europe, to South Africa's black majority, and to Afghanistan. No wonder some of these reporters felt like they were witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall all over again.

But I will say this, though- the conduct of a lot of the reporters over there who were trashing the elections and reporting nothing but doom and gloom, and zeroing in on casualty counts and chaos, was pretty dismal to say the least. I mean, this has really turned me off international journalism. If I ever do news in the future, I'm better off going the tabloid route--- just like Geraldo Rivera! Really, he's the only one of these reporters who gets it! Democracy is GOOD NEWS but these international reporters have been treating it as if it were BAD NEWS. Maybe these correspondents have had their world view all twisted up because of the dead body counts they've seen over the years in Iraq, in Yugoslavia when that war was going on, in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Haiti and Chechnya and throughout the Middle East. Someone please tell these foreign correspondents that there is good news out there to report. But these folks wouldn't be able to recognize good news if they saw it.

These foreign reporters would find a negative angle to the arrival of the Messiah! Really.

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