Count CNN’s Jack Cafferty among the growing number of reporters who have expressed disdain towards those who criticize the mainstream media. During his 4pm EST "Cafferty File" segment on Thursday's The Situation Room, Cafferty was all riled up to take on those who believe the MSM’s coverage of Iraq has failed to report on progress being made there:
"This is nonsense. It’s the media’s fault and the news isn’t good in Iraq. The news isn’t good in Iraq. There’s violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn’t turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it’s our fault? I beg to differ."
Cafferty’s comments followed a discussion between Wolf Blitzer and CNN's Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz on the subject of Iraq war coverage. He dismissed any question of the media’s role in covering Iraq, and placed all the blame directly on "politicians."
"You know, I just have a question. I mean, part of the coverage, they don’t like the coverage, maybe because we were sold a different ending to this story three years ago. We were told that we’d be embraced as conquering heroes; flower petals strewn in the soldiers’ paths; a unity government would be formed; everything would be rosy; this, three years after the fact, the troops would be home. Well, it’s not turning out that way, and if somebody came into New York City and blew up St. Patrick’s Cathedral and in the resulting days they were finding 50 and 60 dead bodies a day on the streets of New York, you suppose the news media would cover it? You’re damn right they would! This is nonsense, it’s the media’s fault and the news isn’t good in Iraq. The news isn’t good in Iraq. There’s violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn’t turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it’s our fault? I beg to differ..."
Before the segment ended, Blitzer applauded Cafferty for speaking his mind:
Wolf Blitzer: "I love it, Jack, when you tell our viewers how you really feel about an issue, and you just did. Thanks very much."
Cafferty couldn’t resist taking one last shot at critics, by mockingly telling Blitzer that, as a member of the mainstream media, everything in Iraq is his fault:
Cafferty: "It’s all–it’s all your fault, Wolf."
Blitzer: "No, but I think it’s–"
Cafferty: "The whole thing in Iraq is your fault. It’s– you’re to blame for all of this stuff."
Blitzer: "I am the mainstream media. Is that what you’re saying? All right, Jack. Thanks very much."
Cafferty: "It’s all your fault, Wolf."
At 4:30pm, during The Situation Room’s Strategy Session, conservative radio host Bill Bennett took Cafferty and Blitzer to task for their attitude towards Americans who feel the media is too negative in its reporting:
Blitzer: "But you’re not suggesting, and Bill, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, that the media is to blame for the horrible images that are coming out of Iraq?"
Bill Bennett: "No. But I think you and Jack earlier kind of missed what the American people are saying, and making fun of the American people, as if they were castigating the media for being responsible for this war in Iraq, isn’t the point. What the American people are saying is the mainstream media does not properly represent, in a full and fair perspective, the goods with the bads....When you’re trying to make an assessment of where you should go and are you prevailing, are some things going well, if almost all you get is negative, then that, that, that is leading to people’s assessment that the war is going badly, when, in fact, I think the war is going pretty well. It’s not going well, though, in the mainstream media, and certainly public opinion’s been affected by it."