Listen Up, Rumsfeld: “Bad News Is A Service To The Country”

By Brian 

Sunday’s Reliable Sources featured a must-see (well, must-read) conversation about media coverage of the war in Iraq. Here’s an exchange between Howard Kurtz and David Frum:

  KURTZ: Did your trip to Iraq change your view of the coverage?

FRUM: I came back thinking the coverage was better than I thought it was.

KURTZ: Really?

FRUM: I think I’ve become — speaking as one of the (inaudible) that despises bloggers, I have become very impatient with the dynamic that goes on in the way we talk about coverage here, which is that there’s this debate where the people who criticize the war will emphasize the negative and the people who support the war emphasize the positive. And the idea is, that if you support the war, if you think it’s right, if you think the United States needs to win, that you, therefore, have to say, well, all this bad news is unreal, and the real story is one of progress.

I don’t know why it’s not intellectually accurate to say the war is right, it was right to enter it, it has to be won, but it’s not going very well. And, in fact, bad news is a service to the country because it is the way you correct mistakes. One of the things that I was very impressed with when I spoke to a lot of military people there, they actually have now a pretty good military strategy in place. But they didn’t for the first year and a half.