Iraqi protestors get framed
Posted by aogFriday, 12 December 2003 at 09:22 TrackBack Ping URL

Instapundit has a long quote from Susanna Cornett on media framing and why the Iraqi counter-terror protests were so weakly covered:

However, I also think the media reflexively thinks that anti-establishment protest is more “honest” and newsworthy than anything supporting the establishment - and in their view, anything conservative or associated with a conservative administration is by definition “establishment”. I also think they’re suspicious of demonstrations supporting the US or at least tracking a parallel position because they assume the US had some role in setting it up. […]

Essentially, for the most efficient production of news the media as a whole has developed frames, pigeonholes for news, that quickly organize raw information that comes in. They assess a situation, associate it with an established theme, and file it away there. […]

A CNN reporter hearing about this may see “support for US interests” and mentally file it under “administration hype” (shorthand: ignore) rather than seeing “Iraqis freely demonstrating” and “Iraqis rising up against terrorists” and filing it under “Important changes” (shorthand: cover).

While this is likely to be a fairly accurate description of the immediate origin of what we libertarian / conservatives see as media bias, it leaves some big questions unanswered.

For instance, why are these demonstrations ignorable because they’re presumed organized by the ruling power, while previous demonstrations organized by the Ba’ath regime weren’t? It seems that the ignorable box is “USA government propaganda”, not just “government propaganda”. I think it’s legitimate to ask why the USA gets this extra level of dismissal. I have noted before that it’s not holding the USA to standards that is anti-American, but the holding of only the USA to those standards. It’s just stunning (and amazing parochial) that our news media has, as a fundamental part of their world view, that the USA is the only government that is automatically not trust worthy. And they go on about how the rest of the American public is ignorant of the rest of the world!