Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nightly News To Me.

Let it never be said that the NBC Nightly News is not educational. I learned something from it tonight. They had a story based on a New York Times report on the reconstruction in Iraq. In fairness, they did mention that there were 1300 projects completed (by who and how big they were and what they were doing was left up to the imagination because this piece of info went by so fast that I am not even sure about the accuracy of the 1300 number). This bit of news was buried in a story that effectively claimed that the entire reconstruction was a cross between a fraud and a boondoggle. A froondoggle.

I have no doubt that there are a lot of screw ups in this project. After all, there has been a lot of government involvement (and terrorism which may be even worse than government involvement). But NBC and others have been creating a portrait of a complete lack of progress. Now it is up to people like me to explain why we have been deceived by the claims that there are many successful reconstruction projects going on in Iraq. How could I have been so naive?

Well, and I mean this as an explanation, not as an excuse because I should have been more skeptical on my own, I made an unwarranted assumption. I felt that if organizations like USAID and the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United Nations and other respectable and semi-respectable groups and charities were going to put out information about their work in Iraq that was false, media organizations would have bothered to seek out the heads of these organizations and ask them why they were lying. At the very least they would air the reports and mention that the chairmen, commanders and so forth of these organizations refused to comment when given the opportunity.

You see I thought the media was not doing its job by not reporting on any reconstruction but I guess the reconstruction really was fiction and they were really not doing their job by not reporting on this huge and strangely ineffective campaign to distribute false information about projects that they were not really getting done. I should thank NBC for helping me clear that up.
On a side note, several days ago Brian Williams had an ventriloquist dummy expert pundit on the show to verify the continued media assertion that it is too dangerous to report from Iraq (except when there is a bomb going off). Interestingly enough, the report on the reconstruction hoax had quite a bit of video footage from inside Iraq including someone building a wall (likely for Americans to hide looted reconstruction funds behind). They were able to get this footage quite quickly after the New York Times story. I wonder what the pundit has to say about that.

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