- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2005

This is a monumental week in Iraq. On the heels of the country’s historic constitutional referendum, the trial of Saddam Hussein for his role in the 1982 massacre of 140 men and boys in the Shi’ite town of Dujail begins. For the Iraqi victims’ families, it is a reckoning they never expected to see. You might think this would be a moment to give the victims and their families center stage. Think again. The victims of Saddam are overshadowed by media reports of terror-apologizing “human rights” activists decrying the “show trial.” Meanwhile, journalists complain about courtroom security. “I’m not even allowed to take a notebook and a pen with me into the court,” CBS correspondent Lara Logan told “The Early Show.” And The Washington Post’s reporter Jackie Spinner is irked by accusations of bias. “When you’re the media in Iraq, [American readers] don’t believe what we’re telling them,” Miss Spinner told the Decatur (Ill.) Herald and Review. “They think we are distorting the picture. We are not telling the truth. They think we’re against the American soldiers.” Wherever did we get that idea? Let’s revisit the mainstream media brouhaha last week over President Bush’s question-and-answer session with some of our soldiers in Iraq. The Associated Press, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell and others in the Bush-bashing press corps accused the White House and 10 soldiers from the Army’s 42nd Infantry Division of “staging” the event. (This are the same hypocritical media that eagerly abetted the staging of antiwar agitator Cindy Sheehan’s Endless Summer tour of discontent.) Vicious antiwar activists smeared the soldiers as “stooges.” Sgt. Ron Long, an Army combat medic, was a participant. He gave his side of the story (which the media has chosen to ignore, of course) on his personal blog (https://278medic.blogspot.com/). “I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us not to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the president,” Sgt. Long noted. He explained: “We practiced passing the microphone around to one another, so we wouldn’t choke someone on live TV. We had an idea as to who we thought should answer what types of questions, unless President Bush called on one of us specifically. “President Bush told us, during his closing, that the American people were behind us. I know that we are fighting here, not only to preserve our own freedoms, but to establish those same freedoms for the people of Iraq. It makes my stomach ache to think that we are helping to preserve free speech in the U.S., while the media uses that freedom to try to rip down the president and our morale, as U.S. soldiers. They seem to be enjoying the fact that they are tearing the country apart. Worthless.” Sgt. Long is dead-on. The smearing of our troops, who were accused of helping stage Saddam’s capture and now of staging their support for Mr. Bush’s goals in Iraq, especially galls military family members who have seen the media shamelessly manipulate and fake the news with impunity for years. Indeed, as NBC News indulged in its Bush-deranged feeding frenzy over the “staged” talk with the troops, an NBC reporter, Michelle Kosinski, rowed a canoe in a few inches of New Jersey water to create the illusion of dangerous flooding. The illusion was comically destroyed when two men walked in front of the camera with water barely reaching their ankles. NBC News, of course, knows all about staging (remember those faked GM truck crash tests). The rest of the mainstream media know whereof they speak as well — from Cokie Roberts’ faked U.S. Capitol backdrop on ABC News to CBS’ manufactured National Guard memos on “60 Minutes” to the bogus reports of Jayson Blair, Mike Barnicle, Janet Cooke, Diana Griego Erwin, Mitch Albom, Stephen Glass, Eric Slater and Jack Kelley. As they spin the Saddam trial and deride our soldiers in Iraq, the lesson is clear: These media theater masters cannot deliver real drama and good news unless they control the script. Fortunately, you control the remote. Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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