Good Morning America Viewers Want to Hear the Good News from Iraq
On Wednesday, Good Morning America asked viewers to go online and vote on which Iraqi story they thought should lead the news. The results were revealed on Thursday’s GMA and as Diane Sawyer said after a segment by Dan Harris, "And we’ll be back to Dan a little bit later in this half hour. He has the news on what you voted about what you wanted to hear from Iraq and it’s a surprise."
What surprised Ms. Sawyer? GMA viewers agreed with President Bush that more positive stories should make the broadcast. At 7:08, Charlie Gibson introduced Dan Harris for his second story of the day, "This morning we want to return to the question that the President has been emphasizing and that we discussed yesterday morning on this broadcast. And the question is: whether the media is only showing negative news from Iraq?
"We asked you, yesterday, to tell us what stories you're interested in. And your response was huge. So we're going to go back now to Dan Harris in Baghdad with the results. Dan, again, good morning."
Dan Harris: "Charlie, again, good morning. Given the vehemence and the volume of the response we got, this is clearly an issue that provokes strong feelings among many Americans.
"In the past 24 hours hundreds of you logged on to our web site, posting more than 1,800 messages on the media's coverage of the war in Iraq. Some were positive."
Woman reading email: "The only way we can remain a democracy is if we have a free press."
Harris: "But the vast majority of postings echoed the sentiments of this woman in West Virginia, who shared her concerns with President Bush on Wednesday."
Gayle Taylor: "And I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, for a solution to this because it seems that our major media networks don't want to portray the good. They just want to focus (interrupted by applause)."
Harris: "Teena from Wisconsin agrees. She writes, 'If we have the capabilities of the media and we can see the blood, bombs, killings, and horror, shouldn't we also see the teaching, clean up, building, training of soldiers...and the many other great things I know our soldiers are doing for us?'
"Many of the postings expressed a desire to get a better sense of the reconstruction effort and the improvements in daily life for Iraqis.
"Renee from Kirtland Air Force Base writes, 'I think you should cover how many women are now allowed to work, how many kids are now enrolled in school and excelling.'
"Mary Muchler's (spelling?) son is a U.S. Navy corpsman. She wrote to us from Oregon."
Mary: "We need to hear about the deaths and what's going on as far as that's concerned, but we also need to hear what's going good, also."
Harris: "The latest national poll says 31 percent of Americans believe the media make things in Iraq sound worse than they are. But some of our viewers, like Deborah from Texas, say delivering the bad news serves an important purpose, 'It is the job of the media' she writes 'to report what's happening on the war front and that means insurgent attacks and sectarian violence.'
"Now, while most of the people who wrote to us said the media is not doing a good enough job of exposing the good news here, I have to say quite often when we go out and speak to Iraqis, they emphasize the bad news. The lack of electricity, the lack of drinkable water and most importantly the lack of security. Charlie, already today in Baghdad five deadly explosions."