Tuesday, April 20, 2004

On CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, anchorman Mike Wallace belittled President Bush and his goals to free, stabilize and democratize Iraq. “Who gave George Bush the duty to free people around the world?” he asked condescendingly. Bob Woodward, who was on the program to promote his new Bush-bashing book, responded that Mr. Bush’s global agenda “will cause many people to tremble.” In ridiculing White House war aims, neither Mr. Wallace nor Mr. Woodward seemed interested in the fact that Mr. Bush deposed a ruthless dictator and is fighting terrorists who want to destroy America. This is typical of today’s slanted journalism that tends to show the worst side of the United States.

American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Ledeen recounted a fascinating story of media bias in Monday’s National Review Online. After being taken hostage near Fallujah, Italian security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi was forced to dig his own grave before his execution by terrorists. With his last breaths, he struggled to rip off the hood over his head and yelled defiantly to his captors, “Now I’ll show you how an Italian dies.” Mr. Quattrocchi, a volunteer in Iraq, died without being submissive to terror, without cowering in the face of evil. His mourning fiancee said proudly that “her only consolation is that he died with honor.” Arab news network Al Jazeera did not air the tape of this execution because it sends the message that the West — including Europeans — are angry and determined not to allow Islamic radicals to undermine our civilization and dignity in the face of unjust attack.

What is equally interesting about Mr. Quattrocchi’s powerful resistance is how few people know about it. The major network and cable news programs did not run tape of this act of bravery over and over again as it does with film that shows scared and submissive hostages. Exhibiting the Italian hero’s resolve would help undergird the civilized world’s resolve against terror. It’s curious that the Western press largely spiked the story.

A majority of Americans still believe the president did the right thing by going to war to liberate Iraq. In an ABC News/Washington Post survey released on Monday, 57 percent said “the war has increased the long-term security of the United States.” That high level of support comes after an increase in U.S. casualties. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted over the weekend pegs Mr. Bush’s approval rating for fighting terrorism at 60 percent. No one would know any of this from turning on the television and watching news programs and their onslaught of doomsday stories. The same goes for the depth of Western resolve to fight terror. That is because many U.S. media outlets are playing from the same sheet music as Al Jazeera and the terror propagandists.

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