Media Cheerleaders for Despair
There are no more Ernie Pyles telling the stories of American grunts from the perspective of the foxhole. Though Geraldo Rivera and other television news stars embedded with American troops in the charge to Baghdad in 2003, reporting positively on the initial blitzkrieg that seized the land with remarkably little bloodshed for a war of conquest, that changed quickly.
During the early days of the occupation the free media attempted to balance the narratives of the conflict "fairly" between the occupier and the occupied. The width of the arrows is intended to represent the amount of copy the media devote to narratives, denoted by color. Compare this to the balance on display in unfree media from Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, and Turkey.
In the initial, quiet months the free media had been influenced by its "peers" in the unfree media of neighboring countries, and had come to believe much of the anti-American propaganda and conspiracy theorizing (about a rash of gang-rapes by American soldiers, random slaughters, white phosphorus and depleted uranium rants, the Plame affair, etc.) that fills Arabic language newspapers of the region. The balance of stories that were allowed through the media filter changed. So too did the stories that were reported multiple times, therefore magnified by media attention.
For a while, the fight had been mostly uneventful except for the looting and all-around lawless behavior from the violent criminals who were loosed from Saddam's jails as the US invaded. Then it changed. Prompted to some degree by US bungling in the occupation, it became more dangerous, more bitter. The Baathist, Sunni supremacist, Al Qaeda, and the Sadrist and Badrist insurgencies had taken form behind the scenes and were ready to strike.
The troubles came.
Then the New York Times put a different Abu Ghraib photo on the front page every day for over a month. The free media gave up and where Iraq was concerned became an English language equivalent of the Gulf state media.
This is where we are now. The counterinsurgent is almost completely unable to get its message into its home-country media. The insurgent gets its message out easily. Because of the influence of supposed peers, even peers who have no freedom to choose stories as they fit, the quislings in the free media have taken the lead of the unfree media and debased their own product until it is indistinguishable from work produced by media who are under the thumb of despots and prevented by terror from speaking or writing freely.