Friday, February 04, 2005

I Hate To Say I Told You So

Wait a minute... I love saying I told you so!

Turns out the voter turnout in Iraq wasn't anything like what they said it was. I mean, we knew that was coming, right?

From Editor and Publisher:

Everyone, of course, is thrilled that so many Iraqis turned out to vote, in the face of threats and intimidation, on Sunday. But in hailing, and at times gushing, over the turnout, has the American media (as it did two years ago in the hyping of Saddam's WMDs) forgotten core journalistic principles in regard to fact-checking and weighing partisan assertions?

It appears so. For days, the press repeated, as gospel, assertions offered by an election official that 8 million Iraqis went to the polls on Sunday, an impressive 57% turnout rate. I questioned those figures as early as last Sunday, and offered the detailed analysis below on Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday night, John F. Burns and Dexter Filkins of The New York Times reported that Iraqi election officials have quietly "backtracked, saying that the 8 million estimate had been reached hastily on the basis of telephone reports from polling stations across the country and that the figure could change."

Ultimately, this isn't about Iraq per se, but once again the lazy, irresponsible media. It's like they see it as their job to be a cheerleader for Bush, or if you prefer, for the United States' foreign policy. But that's not what the press is for. They're supposed to be the caretakers of truth. And with that duty, they're asleep at the wheel. I could go on, but The Daily Kos says it better than I would:

Ultimately, the war will go on whether 95 percent of Iraqis voted, or 10 percent did. But this is symptomatic of the American press' laziness and willingness to uncritically regurgitate whatever spin "officials" deliver to them.

Perception in this country is now that the elections were a huge success. And after yammering on and on about the great voter turnout in Iraq, none of these media outlets will report the final, actual numbers, in anything more than a back-page blurb.

Once again, Americans will have a distorted view of the actual situation on the ground. And once again, when it comes to Iraq, deceit will be the name of the game.

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