On the Situation Room, Jack Cafferty just smacked down Howard Kurtz after Howie agreed with the GOP talking point that the press is too negative in its coverage of Iraq. Cafferty came on immediately and was livid, saying that was ridiculous.
I'll update the post as I go along.
Kurtz tells us that it's so dangerous in Iraq that reporters can't cover all the stories they would like and they are frustrated, yet he defends the negative reporting argument. If it's too dangerous to cover stories for journalists doesn't that tell you something? Earth to Howie.
Kurtz: Wolf, as I know you know, is that it's very dangerous for journalists in Baghdad. We've seen that with some of the deaths and injuries of journalists there. Most recently ABC's Bob Woodruff. And so journalists are frustrated that they can't tell more of the story of ordinary Iraqis and what they think about the U.S. presence there because they have to curtail their travels or travel with security details.
So when you add that to the natural tendency to play up violence, the dramatic pictures that television, of course, loves, I do think we are seeing more negative coverage now. And, obviously, it's in the political self-interest of George Bush and Dick Cheney to highlight that because they are trying to make the case that things are not as bad as they seem in Iraq and the media are a handy target.
BLITZER: Very briefly, is there any sign of a backlash against the mainstream media because of our coverage of what's happening in Iraq?
KURTZ: Yes, among conservatives, among military family members and others. A lot of people, as we saw that woman from West Virginia, blaming us for the situation there.Kurtz: Yes, among conservatives and military family members, a lot of people-as we saw that woman from WV, blaming us for the situation there.
Cafferty:..You know, I just have a question. I mean, part of the coverage, they don't like the coverage, maybe because we were sold a different ending to this story three years ago. We were told that we'd be embraced as conquering heroes, flower pedals strewn in the soldiers' paths, a unity government would be formed, everything would be rosy this -- three years after the fact, the troops would be home.
Well, it's not turning out that way. And if somebody came into New York City and blew up St. Patrick's Cathedral and in the resulting days they were finding 50 and 60 dead bodies a day on the streets of New York, you suppose the news media would cover it? You're damn right they would.
This is nonsense, it's the media's fault and the news isn't good in Iraq. The news isn't good in Iraq. There's violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn't turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it's our fault? I beg to differ.