Saturday, October 02, 2004

When even bad news is bad news (for the media) 

The pollster Harris is disappointed:
"Scarcely a day goes by without some major new story about Iraq. The visit by Prime Minister Allawi, new kidnappings, campaign rhetoric, the release or killing of those kidnapped, attacks on Americans and Iraqis who cooperate with them, new leaks of reports about what has happened or is likely to happen there. None of these seems to have any significant impact on American opinion."
So much bad news and there is still some support for war and George Bush? How can this be? Are people completely dumb, or what? Or has the media overdone it and actually managed to desensitise people to bad news? Or maybe people have some alternative news sources that paint a different picture of Iraq - anything from guys in pajamas to American servicemen and women writing back home?

The general optimism about Iraq and high levels of support for war took a dive in April, when both the Sunni and Shia insurgencies kicked off for good. Since then, the Harris poll results on all the major questions have indeed shown very little change. Overall, people are pretty pessimistic - but as all other polls show, they still prefer Bush.

I guess that means the media will just have to try a little bit harder. I'm far from the first one to suggest that we should prepare ourselves for another Tet Offensive; a concerted insurgent campaign which will prove to be a military disaster for them but which nevertheless will be portrayed as a Coalition defeat.


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