Sunday, March 19, 2006

changing the storyline

abc news washington correspondent jake tapper discussing charges of media bias in the persistently bleak coverage of iraq with howard kurtz, host of cnn reliable sources, march 19 2006:

kurtz: jake tapper, in this morning's washington post, donald rumsfeld, the defense secretary, has an op-ed pieces which says, in part, "history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on web sites, or the latest sensational attack. history is a bigger picture."

now, since you are just back from iraq, do you believe the journalists provided a distorted picture, or did it seem different to you when you got there than you might have expected?

tapper: it's a very complicated question, obviously. what journalists, when, who, what are you talking about specifically?

i think that there is a lot of violence still in iraq, and i think that if you listen to commanders on the ground and if you go to iraq, you'll see that that security situation is an incredibly important one. and as much as the pentagon may not want to talk about it or may want to talk about the positive, the parliament and the elections and the things that are being achieved, which are tangible achievements, the violence makes it very difficult to get past, you know, the daily boom.

let me just — one quick story.

we wanted to do a story about the freedom of the press in iraq, and we went to the set of a new iraqi sitcom that they're filming, because there's been — there's all this entertainment now, and it's one of the things that the ambassador there has trumpeted.

kurtz: so what happened?

tapper: we got there, and the guy who had set it up with us — we shot — we shot for a little while, and the guy who had helped us arrange it was assassinated the very morning while we were there on the set. and so our cameras were rolling while the director and the producer and the cast and crew found out that the guy that had green-lit the show and the guy that had set up our being there was killed.

so no matter how hard we try to cover the positive, the violence has a way of rearing its head.

kurtz: talk about changing your storyline.

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