TalkLeft: Iraqi Election Blog Coverage

January 28, 2005

TalkLeft comments on Iraqi blogs:

Many are skeptical the Iraqi elections are a sign of positive reform. The most insightful blog on the war in Iraq is Informed Comment by Professor Juan Cole.

Two Iraqi blogs I read are:

Otherwise, there’s pretty slim pickings if you’re looking for blogs
that don’t sound like they are receiving an honorarium from the Bush
Administration.

I often like reading TalkLeft’s analysis of crime-related stories, but I think this post is pretty weak. Here’s the basic argument being made: those on the left should only read Iraqi blogs with which they already agree; any Iraqi blog that has a positive perspective on the U.S. or the future of Iraq should be discounted. Why should it be discounted? Because it holds opinions similar to those of the Bush Administration and therefore must be wrong. This sounds like a great way to perpetuate your thinking without having to confront any scary dissenting opinions. Way to go!

I also think the statement that "many are skeptical" is not much of an argument (if indeed it is meant to be an argument rather than a throwaway introduction to the real topic). Why should it matter what "many" think? Doesn’t this imply that at least "some" think the other way? Why should we believe one group over the other? Incidentally, here is a list of the skeptical "many" from the linked article:

– Gaza City resident Hassan Sarhan
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon’s most senior Shiite cleric
the MF Dnes newspaper in the Czech Republic
The Independent (columnist Rupert Cornwell)
Olivier Baudry (a "passer-by" on the streets of Paris who says, "It’s a
very good thing, but at the same time I
don’t think it’s possible to export democracy from one country to
another like that.")
a commentary in the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung

For those keeping track, the opinion of "many" on which we should base our own skepticism of the Iraqi elections is derived from comments made by one Palestinian; one Lebanese cleric; one newspaper each from the UK, the Czech Republic, and Germany; and a passer-by in France. Points to the Associated Press for making the effort to search all these countries to find people skeptical of the elections, but I tend to think they would have a stronger argument if they had bothered to include the thoughts of even one Iraqi citizen.

Regardless, I’m sure TalkLeft merely meant this post to be a suggestion to read some recommended blogs, so I will suggest the same. Please read the Iraqi blogs to which TalkLeft links (Raed in the Middle and Riverbend), and while you’re at it, go to Healing Iraq (suggested by a commenter to TalkLeft’s post) and peruse some of the blogs listed on the right. I like some of what I’ve read from Iraq the Model and the Mesopotamian (which, strangely, seems to have an extra "s" in its url but not in the title), but you may find several others you like.  If you don’t like a blog, don’t read it, but please do try to get some variety.

UPDATE: Another great source of info is Friends of Democracy.
UPDATE2: More skepticism from TalkLeft. It must be tough to always look at a particular issue through a fatalistic and negative lens. This post reminds me  of Eeyore or Dolorous Edd (points for anyone who gets the latter reference).
UPDATE3: Chris Muir points out something interesting about one of the people quoted in the AP article.
UPDATE4: TalkLeft posts more links to Iraqi blogs, and this time at least one doesn’t necessarily present an anti-US view. This leads me to believe that my charitable view of the original post as an attempt to provide useful information was correct.
UPDATE5 (hopefully the last one): Powerline chimes in on the AP story and its preferred sources for opinions.
UPDATE6 (ok, I lied, but this has a bearing): Talkleft has a slightly snide post that suggests people read middle eastern sources in addition to US-based writers in order to "get both sides". Good suggestion, but the fact that she doesn’t include a link to anyone who might have a positive position kind of undercuts the point.

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3 Responses to “TalkLeft: Iraqi Election Blog Coverage”


  1. Jake Savage

    Jake Savage does an excellent job showcasing the results of a collecting information from a biased viewpoint in this post.

  2. Derek Kaufman Says:

    It is amusing to see Harvard President Larry Summers ( good Democrat that he is) caught in the bear trap of politically correct speech on his school’s campus. At a time when we are debating the censorship promoted by the FCC (which I believe is both wrong and dangerous) the truth is that our colleges and universities have done more to limit an individual’s ability to voice an opinion than any amount of censorship sponsored by Conservatives in this country. Mr. Summers is simply reaping what his Liberal compatriots have sown.


  3. FROM THE ARCHIVES: TalkLeft: Iraqi Election Blog Coverage (Jake Savage)

    Around the time of the Iraqi elections, several on the left decided to scoff at the concept of democracy and the idea that it could flourish in the Middle East, a method of thinking that continues to this day. Of

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