Why so negative about Iraq?

Question: Why do you constantly pick the most negative headline you can about events in Iraq? Have you ever ran a big bold headline stating: "Power Restored in Baghdad Suburb"?

Iraq is a semi-lawless place and every day someone is probably going to die. Why do you need to make that your headline almost every day? Why don't you pick Oakland, Calif., where if you look at the Oakland Tribune.com you can usually find some particularly gruesome murder or gang shooting. For what Iraq has gone through the level of violence is not really as disturbing as the level of violence in many of our own cities. -- Dennis McManus, Mead

Answer: Contrary to your opinion, we don't intentionally seek to write the most negative headline about events in Iraq. However, we do look for the most important developments in Iraq each day and, unfortunately, the civilian and military casualties often are the dominant story.

I certainly agree that the level of violence in America's cities is alarming, but I don't think we should be comparing violence here with the situation in Iraq. The United States has sent thousands of its men and women into a hostile and tense environment and the military situation there is of extreme importance and interest to our readers. We have hundreds of military personnel from the Washington and Idaho region who are in Iraq and it's our duty to report on the dangers and obstacles they face.

Our editors do look for stories from the wire services (Associated Press, Los Angeles Times/Washington Post and Knight-Ridder) that report on the improvements and progress being made in Iraq, but frankly, those stories aren't showing up very often. We are solely dependent on the wire services for our international coverage, as are most newspapers in this country. -- Gary Graham, managing editor

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