State Dept. Spokesman on the Media and Iraq's 'Two Realities'

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack offered a defense of news media coverage in Iraq at his regular briefing yesterday.

QUESTION: Sean, the administration -- President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, the vice president -- in recent days have sort of tried to lay blame on the media for not covering more of the good stories in Iraq. And I'm just wondering if you would agree that it's often hard for reporters to get out into the field because of poor security, threat of kidnapping, that sort of thing? Is that something the administration would agree with?

McCORMACK: I think I've seen this interpretation of the remarks of various officials.

Q: You disagree with that interpretation?

McCORMACK: There are very tough things going on in Iraq; certainly we see those.

We see those on our television screens, and we see those things reported.

There is also another reality in Iraq, and that is a country and a people that are pushing forward on the pathway to democracy. It's tough work, but we're there to help them out.

Now, there are many brave men and women from various media outlets that are telling the story of what's going on in Iraq. They are working under difficult and oftentimes dangerous conditions. You see a lot of reporters getting out and actually embedding with the military, actually getting outside of Baghdad to tell the real story of what is going on in Iraq.

But I think it is important for everyone to understand that there are those two realities in Iraq at the moment. You see a lot of the very difficult, difficult stuff. You see the results of terrorist acts, the IEDs [improvised explosive devices], the bombings, the killing of innocent civilians. But there is also another story to tell as well, and we see many reporters on the ground telling that story.

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