Monday, July 04, 2005

Good news update 

Public service announcement: Because of the Independence Day long weekend, the new installment of "Good news from Afghanistan" which would have normally appear today, will instead be published next Monday, covering five as opposed to the usual four weeks' worth of positive developments from the other front of the war on terror.

But speaking of good news,
Radio talk show hosts will be broadcasting their shows live from Baghdad, Iraq. In an effort to shed light on the "whole Iraq story," seven radio talk show hosts from across the United States are traveling to Baghdad from July 7 to 17, 2005.

Move America Forward, a non-partisan not-for-profit organization, is coordinating the trip for the talk show hosts with the U.S. Armed Forces Central Command...

Talk show hosts who will be making the trek to Baghdad include nationally syndicated talk show host, Dennis Prager (based at NewsTalk 870 KRLA - Los Angeles, CA); nationally syndicated talk show host Lars Larson (based from NewsRadio 750 KXL in Portand, OR); Melanie Morgan of powerhouse KSFO 560 AM (San Francisco); Mark Williams of Sacramento, CA's #1-rated radio station, KFBK 1530; Michael Graham of NewsTalk 630 WMAL (Washington, DC); Martha Zoller of Newstalk 550 WDUN (Atlanta-Gainesville, GA) as well as the RighTalk Radio Network; and Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson, host of "The Buzz Cut" on the RighTalk Radio Network.

"We're looking forward to taking our medium to Baghdad and blowing the lid off of the other half of the Iraq story that the mainstream media refuses to cover - success, progress, democracy and freedom," said Morgan.
Sort of like Chrenkoff Radio. And the left doesn't like it, either (hat tip: Tony in Boulder):
"This is the most pathetic thing I've heard in a long time. They should be ashamed of themselves," Peter Beinart, editor of left-leaning The New Republic magazine, said.

"They have no idea what journalism is, and to pretend they are journalists is laughable," Beinart said. "You do not achieve victory by not facing reality. I think these are the kinds of people that will lead us to lose there...

Steve Rendall, senior analyst for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and author of "The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error," said with an attitude like that, the trip will probably be useless in terms of real news-making…

"If these talk show hosts are going over there to find good news no matter what, their trip is useless," he said. "It would be laughable if it wasn't as troubling as it is when they call it 'The Truth Tour.'"

Rendall said that such a pro-Bush administration mission might be inappropriately supported by taxpayer money, considering the delegation will be hosted on bases and brought over on military transport.

"If they were actually reporters out to tell the story, good, bad, warts and all, than it wouldn't be entirely objectionable," he said. "But if they are acting entirely as government propagandists, which seems to be the case here, it's improper."

Rendall noted it "bears comparison to the Armstrong Williams and the other instances" of government payment for good news, referring to conservative talk show host Williams, who was paid by the Department of Education to pump up school choice on his radio show in 2004.
There is only one way to find out the worth of this exercise - and the proof will be in the pudding - or baklava. If the assorted radio hosts go to Iraq and start reporting doom and gloom, then their credentials as "real journalists" will not be in doubt. If, on the other hand, they start reporting good news that no one else is, then the onus will shift onto "real journalists" - why aren't you? So "real journalists" shouldn't really feel threatened, should they?


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