Friday, June 17, 2005

Psst...Did you hear the good news?

Not if you've been reading the mainstream media apparently.

NPR correspondent David Folkenflik noted in a report this morning that most U.S. news organizations failed to report on positive developments in Iraq, such as the introduction of new currency, the resumption of mail service and the restoration of cell phone service.

That nugget was tucked into his report on allegations that management at U.S. government-run Voice of America is asking reporters to *shudder* inject more balance into their coverage.

One former VOA employee interviewed expressed her shock -- SHOCK -- that the VOA board of directors are actually giving direction on how VOA should be run.

Um...isn't that what they're supposed to do?

Gosh, reporters being expected to do balanced reporting. Media managers actually providing direction on how things should be done. What is this world coming to?

These are not surprising developments -- we all know reporters list toward stories about things that are bleeding or on fire.

But someone in those news organizations has an obligation to step back and make sure that coverage is balanced and provides an accurate picture of what's going on -- seeing the forest for the trees, as one of my own editors used to say in a not particularly original but illuminating way.

Columnist John Leo noted Afghan media reported recent rioting that killed 17 people was not in protest of alleged Koran abuse at Gitmo, but rather was stirred up by Al Qaeda and Taliban agitators as show of force. But no U.S. media picked up on that.

He also noted that the U.S. media has been largely silent on reporters' union President Linda Foley's unsupported accusations that U.S. soldiers are deliberately targeting and killing journalists -- only the Chicago Sun-Times has reported on the issue, and Boston Globe technology columnist Hiawatha Bray has blogged it.

Why aren't the New York Times, CBS News and the Associated Press reporting on these issues?

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