Iraq coverage: trying to separate truth from political spin

Question: I think it is appropriate that you give considerable coverage to the service men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq. However, conspicuously missing is any significant coverage of the substantial progress that is being made daily in Iraq, including things such as schools reopening and admitting both girls and boys, hospitals reopening and being made better than ever, sanitary water supplies and sewers being brought up to date and improved for the first time in 20 years, etc.

To intentionally ignore the progress being made at the cost of American lives is to suggest that they died in vain and made no difference in the lives and freedom of the Iraqi people. Why do you exclude stories of progress in Iraq from your daily news coverage? (These stories are available from national and international news wires and sources.) -- Scott Schmidtman, Spokane

Answer: We don't exclude stories about progress being made in Iraq. Those stories appear from time to time. And if they don't make Page 1 it's because we have pledged to report military fatalities on the front page whenever possible lest we forget the sacrifices of our service men and women.

I think the real issue is trying to separate the truth of events on the ground from political spin. There have been some steps forward in the war zone, and I believe we have reported those, relying on the respected national and international wire services and syndicates with reporters in place. But comprehensive reading of dispatches from Iraq will tell you the situation is far more complex and even desperate than the writer's description. We would not be serving our readers, particularly those in the services or those connected to them, if we replaced fact with spin. -- Steve Smith, editor

Useful links
About Steve Smith
About Gary Graham
About Ken Sands
About Doug Floyd
About Carla Savalli