While NBC and MSNBC have been touting how the last combat troops have left Iraq - telling us exactly what the administration would like us to believe - the AP is more interested in the truth.
Yesterday, however, the Associated Press' Standards Editor, Tom Kent, issued a memorandum to AP editors and reporters instructing them not to use this White-House-created formulation that "combat operations in Iraq are over," on the simple ground of inaccuracy:The whole thing is interesting as it spells out how MSNBC is turning into the propaganda arm of the Obama Administration, how they got the gig and why, and the few things they were trying to sweep under the rug.Whatever the subject, we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.
To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials. The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months.
The 50,000 US troops still in Iraq will be taking part in combat. To say otherwise (whether the Pentagon, President Obama, or MSNBC) is disingenuous. News organizations are supposed to do more than "uncritically repeat" statements made by those in power, even if they like the people in power.