Monday, November 19, 2007

Whom to Believe?

Living in the Coachella Valley in Southern California gives a progressive a unique opportunity to view the right wing's media from two perspectives, The Desert Sun, headquartered in Palm Springs, and The Press-Enterprise, located in Riverside.

Here's an interesting juxtapositioning of views: TDS has this main headline today: "Iraq bombings hit GIs, kids." The subhead reads, "U.S. military blames al Qaida in Iraq, maintains violence down 55 percent." (An AP story by Kim Gamel follows--sorry no web link available from the paper's website.)

The Press-Enterprise, on the other hand, has this as its main headline: "U.S. touts downturn in attacks," with the subhead, "Iraq: For the third week in a row, violence nationwide is at levels not seen in almost two years." (A New York Times News Service story by C. Buckley and M.R. Gordon follows.--Again no web link on the paper's website.)

Notice the difference? TDS presents the good news about the downturn in violence, but tempers it with the tragic news of six deaths. TP-E story does not mention the six deaths at all. Nowhere in the print edition could I find any mention of any of the bombings in either Iraq or Afghanistan, although there are mentions of Afghani bombings on the paper's website. Furthermore, the NYT story gives us a favorable quote from one Michael O'Hanlon, a whose recent op-ed piece in The Times about Iraqi "successes" has been called into question because of a certain amount of "truthiness."

In case you haven't figured it out, I think The Press-Enterprise is much more of a Republican Committee house organ than The Desert Sun. But not by much.

It's good to have the number of death-dealing incidents down. It is not good to present them in such a manner that one fails to think of the deaths which are yet occurring.

Trust, but verify.

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