Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Conversation with a new friend

Yesterday, while awaiting the use of the dentist's implements of torture, I met Rick and his wife in the waiting room. I'm sorry to say that I've forgotten his wife's name because soon after I sat down she was called to the sound-proofed chamber to lie upon The Rack. So Rick and I got to know each other a little bit.

Rick and his family, you see, had just returned from Iraq. Yes, he and his wife and their three children. The oldest boys are now on their way to college and the younger girl is 15. And they lived in Iraq for some three years building schools and helping small communities. This was, of course, a startling introduction to this fascinating gentleman.

My first question was something to the effect of whether they had been subjected to episodes of warfare and violence. His answer was they had not because they were living in Northern Iraq, the Kurdish region. The Kurds, it seems, are very appreciative of Americans and the assistance provided by Rick and his family and other Americans. They were regularly invited into the homes of local families and the hosts imposed many favorable impressions; he came away with some wonderful stories. And it was just Rick and his family. He doesn't belong to a larger international organization. Through conversation, I found that he and his wife started a non-profit organization many years ago and have since travelled through much of the far and near east: Philippines, Mongolia, Jordan, Israel. I also discovered that he's a preacher, so I presume he has the financial support of an organized church in the area. No, I didn't pry.

In the Kurdish area Rick was able to travel freely without worry of danger. He explained that there are many firearms and munitions openly displayed wherever he went, but the purpose of such an arsenal is to keep out foreign Arabs and infiltrators. Terrorism, it seems, is a small problem in Northern Iraq.

But Rick was quick to point out that a big problem over there is the media. I was expecting him to complain about Al Jazeera. No. He has a lot of problems with CNN International's regular television broadcasting there. Rick explained that the people in front of the camera are a mix of different nationalities and ethnicities. And their bias against Americans was obvious. He explained that when a reported event was to the benefit of the U.S., that the reporters with palpably disheartened, almost depressed. But when a terrorist attack or a setback for the U.S. was reported, it was done so in the exact opposite - a positive - manner. At that moment I was thinking to myself that it seems to be the terrorist's Fox news.

He described interviews of so-called Iraqi insurgents, hooded and anonymous for the camera, that call for jihad and the destruction of all Americans in Iraq. Local Iraqis see these interviews and denounce them as fakes because the terrorists have foreign accents and mannerisms. This is but one of several examples he cited.


Now, Rick seems to me to be an intelligent and sincere fellow. The fact that he's a preacher elevated his credibility factor in my eyes and I have no reason to doubt his veracity. So I take this at face value. And now I wonder if CNN-I has ever been publicly examined. My first thoughts were to explore Freeperville, TownHall, FrontPage, AEI, etc. But I get tired of wading through their BS. It's almost like visiting the hack&crack sites: you go in with your shields up, trusting no one, accepting nothing.

But I still wonder if the biases CNN International's television broadcasts have ever been brought to the light of day.

Update: My good friend Bob did the research for me so that I wouldn't suffer from soiled fingers. Mark D. Roberts has a piece from personal experience. FrontPage, ignoring the personal insults and apparent slander, has got some good background as well.

Thanks, Bob.

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