"Freedom is on the march!" "We're making progress!" "The terrorists will do all they can to disrupt free elections in Iraq, and they will fail."
These are just some of the slogans that U.S. President George W. Bush now spouts, while the American cable channels duly carry his speeches live and the American print media give them front-page play.
Not that they aren't sneaking in a little bad news, mind you. But not much. This week, we learned, mostly via a text crawl at the bottom of the screen, that the milestone of 1,000 U.S. troops killed in combat had been reached.
If you blinked, you would have missed news of a Pentagon "strategic" report to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealing that U.S. actions "have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended."
There was a bit in some newspapers about a damning classified cable from the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad that painted a dismal picture of Iraq's economic, political and security prospects.
And, while it got notice when published in October, there's been no follow-up on a study in an esteemed British medical journal suggesting that up to 100,000 civilians had died since the invasion. No follow-up, that is, except to trash the research.
It figures that, on Tuesday in Camp Pendleton, California, all media eyes were on Bush giving a rousing crowd-pleaser, urging "every American to find some way to thank our military and to help out the military family down the street."
That while yesterday Rumsfeld was in Kuwait, dismissing concerns from troops about a lack of armour. "You go to war with the army you have," he said.
Want to guess whose comments got better play? (...)
Well, here's a positive piece of media news from Iraq: Farnaz Fassihi, the Wall Street Journal reporter whose harrowing private e-mail to friends describing the hazards of Baghdad made international news, is back on the war beat after what many suspected was a month-long suspension. She returns despite vicious criticism from the right that she is too "biased" to work there — just because she felt it was a deadly situation.
But then, what would she know?
She's just there, in very real danger of getting killed. Stateside, she's threatened with being shot down, along with other reporters, just for telling the truth.