McQ at QandO notes some deficiencies in the Iraq coverage, but I think he's being far too kind to the media.
There is tons of good news about what we're accomplishing in Iraq; you can find it here and here and here and here -- but almost never here. It's not like the media are prevented from accessing any of those sources. I think it's self-evident the media is deliberately accentuating the negative in Iraq, just as deliberately as they misreported the Tet offensive. Why? Because, deep down, though they'd never admit it, most in the media would prefer that we lose.
Now, I’m not saying the media hates America or supports the terrorists or anything silly like that. Far from it. As in Vietnam, the press’ treachery is quite noble and well-intentioned. Most of them believe that losing in Iraq will teach America a lesson it badly needs to learn for its own good. From their perspective, Iraq (like Vietnam) was always an unjustified, "unwinnable" lost cause, so by helping us to admit defeat sooner they’re actually saving lives -- and besides, nothing short of a humiliating withdrawal will provide the necessary impetus to fix the horrible militaristic flaws they perceive in our foreign policy.
That's why you see the American casualty count being focused on to an extent that is almost comical. As far as the media is concerned, casualties are the news and any progress is a meaningless non-event since we're inevitably going to lose anyway; the only question from their perspective is how many lives will be wasted. Most wire stories on Iraq are written about American casualties, and all of these pointedly mention the number of American casualties to date. Economic progress and infrastructure improvement goes almost completely unreported. A tiny anti-war protest in Crawford draws an incredibly disproportionate media frenzy. It's all part of the pre-written narrative of defeat.
Fortunately, the liberal media monopoly on news has been broken, or we'd be in much more serious trouble. The MSM can still set the tone, but can't completely control the coverage anymore. Between news/opinion/analysis-aggregation bloggers like Drudge and Instapundit, military sites, milbloggers, independents like Michael Yon, and Fox News, news consumers have far more choices than they did in the 1970s. Which is a very good thing. Because as General Giap already understood and America learned, journalists don't just write the first draft of history: sometimes they make it, too.
UPDATE: Think I'm exaggerating? Think again:
UPDATE 2: I swear, I did not read this New Yorker piece until after I wrote the above. But the match... perfect! It's so uncanny it's almost scary.
Someday, as a fragmented Iraq spirals further into religious madness, terrorism and civil war, there will be a bipartisan inquiry into this blundering intrusion into another people's history.
Thirty-odd years ago, it didn’t require all that much perspicacity to see that the Vietnam War could not be won