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Chaos or Democracy?

Reported by Judy - August 16, 2004 -

In a case of the "Happy Iraq" spin that Fox News puts on reports from Iraq, Fox and Friends co-hosts today (August 16) downplayed reports of chaos at the Iraqi conference designed to elect commissioners to plan the country's elections.

Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade (8:08 a.m. EDT) asked Fox Baghdad correspondent John Cookson about the conference, saying, "The New York Times says it was chaos. ... Others say it was democracy in action."

Cookson said, "It's right on both. It was chaotic, but it's the Arab way. That's how things happen in this part of the world. ... Yes, it was democracy. It was a noisy democracy" and Westerners are not used to that style of politics.

In his report, Cookson said that delegates to the conference chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and soul for you, Iraq" and called on al-Sadr to withdraw. Cookson neglected to mention, as The New York Times did, that at least one delegate "stormed the stage before being forced back, shouting, 'We demand that military operations in Najaf stop immediately.'" Nor did he mention that after Prime Minister Allawi's opening speech, "delegates leapt out of their seats demanding the conference be suspended" and that "in speech after speech on Sunday, delegates called on Dr. Allawi to stop the fighting" in Najaf.

Overall, Cookson presented a picture of a chaotic conference where the dominant theme was Iraqi nationalism and opposition to al-Sadr. Since Fox is on round the clock, it seems like the network could have spared a few more seconds for Cookson to provide a fuller picture.

As an aside, co-host Kiran Chetry noted the "noisy democracy" in Iraq and said Americans are even shocked by the British parliament where members "get up and yell" if they disagree with Tony Blair and that politics in Washington are more subtle and buffered by layers of spokespeople.

Not to mention the outrage and slurs on dissidents' patriotism if they dare to disagree with Bush.