In a potential sign of the changing tide in the media, the New York Times published an article at its website late this evening entitled “Sunni Bastion Now Turning to Ballot Box.” In it, Edward Wong depicted pre-Election Day Iraq as being almost a shining example of democracy in action.
Wong began optimistically: “Along the main boulevard here in Saddam Hussein's hometown, hundreds of campaign posters have flowered where insurgents once tossed homemade bombs at American troops.” By the third paragraph, he was almost exultant: “But turnout in the parliamentary elections on Thursday is expected to be high, reflecting the shift in attitude of many Sunni Arabs toward the American-engineered political process.” By the fourth paragraph:
“‘Last January, the elections were quite different than they are now,’ Wael Ibrahim Ali, 61, the mayor of Tikrit, said as he strode Tuesday along the grounds of the palace where Mr. Hussein used to celebrate his birthdays. ‘The people refused to vote, and now they see it was a wrong stand or wrong position.’"
As the article continued, Wong made the case that Iraqis are beginning to understand what democracy is all about, and that those who choose not to participate end up worse off: “The Sunni Arabs know, too, that Thursday's vote is for a full, four-year government, one whose reach will be far greater than that of the current transitional one.”
For quite some time, the American media have been pessimistic toward events in Iraq. They have continually reminded the citizenry of the importance of winning the peace, which, in their view, is not being accomplished. Yet, in the past few days, one of the major broadcast networks (ABC News) appears to have seen some rays of sunlight in this embattled country. Is it possible that a strong result from this upcoming election on Thursday will sway more press naysayers?