SecDef Rumsfeld blames media for anti-Iraq-occupation feelings among the polled, implies they don’t know the half of it because bad news has driven out good (like bad money). That can’t be, in view of the drum fire of content that emanates daily from Main streamers. Take today’s page one head (below the fold, admittedly) of Chi Trib:
4th paragraph has man who was optimistic a year ago when U.S. transferred authority to Iraqis, now having “lost all hope for his country after living through a treacherous year in the new Iraq.” He “no longer has confidence that the U.S. military can effectively fight the insurgency,” he tells Trib staffer Aamer Madhani and/or his (probably Iraqi helpers) Nadeem Majeed and Zaid Sabah.
"Nothing will change until the Americans leave," said al-Deen, 33, at his home in Baghdad's Saydiyah neighborhood. "The resistance will not stop until the Americans go away. Once they leave, we can then only figure out if there is any hope of the Sunnis and Shiites coming together."
Al-Deen’s troubles are “greater than most,” but his “pessimism reflects a growing despondence among Iraqis” in Baghdad.” Madhani really believes this, we may assume; but we are asked to take his word for it, are we not? That al-Deen “reflects” what (many? most? how many?) people feel? This reminds Chi Trib readers of the Michael Tackett page-one analyses out of Washington — columns given quasi-story (article) status, latter-day Carey Orr cartoons that never failed to depict FDR with a long cigarette-holder in his mouth. Old habits die not easily at the once World’s Greatest Newspaper (WGN, as in radio and TV even now).
We read further of “dour mood” in Baghdad and “frustration” in the U.S., including among “lawmakers” calling for an “exit strategy.” Bush “is expected to point to examples of progress” in his speech tonight, “[b]ut in the streets of Baghdad, sovereignty is still a nebulous idea,” says Madhani, who clearly knows better, having discussed the matter with upwards of two people, including Sarah Abdul Kareem, 21, a Shiite, who says, "This is not a democracy. This is chaos." And that’s the story’s pull quote for sub head, as you noted above.
However, five paragraphs down, Sarah Kareem says Americans should not leave yet! Well! Gen. Abizaid is quoted, ditto Rumsfeld, as confusing Iraqis with “mixed messages.” One paragraph (one!) in the middle of the story allows:
[W]hile violence has overwhelmed hot spots such as Baghdad, Mosul and most of western Anbar province, much of the Kurdish north and Shiite south remain relatively peaceful. In those areas, there were high levels of participation in the national elections in January and greater strides have been made with reconstruction.
The story (analysis? column in article drag?) quotes two (two!) more Iraqis to make its point — “treacherous year . . . not a democracy. . . . chaos,” says the page-one sub head, remember — including a barber whose fellow barber was shot down by Islamic fascists (such a term! I must mean insurgents) who object to certain kinds of haircuts as “anti-Islamic.”
Ah but the corker is the obligatory Chi Trib frantic-victim four-color picture on the jump-page (front section back page), showing two brothers mourning their slain father. Sad, sad, sad. Could moveon.org ask for anything more?