On Friday’s Fox & Friends, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt rattled off a series of U.S. and Iraqi achievements, then blasted the liberal media for failing to report them. “If you talk about success in Iraq, then you’re somehow giving credit to McCain,” Hunt surmised, “and I think it’s wrong, because it does not give credit to the soldiers who have earned this, and we need to stop it.”
Hunt noted that the Iraqi military and police have become more professional and are acting independently of U.S. forces, putting down a Shiite rebellion in the southern city of Basra; that an Iraqi force is stabilizing the Sadr City portion of Baghdad and the government has achieved a truce with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr; al-Qaeda in Iraq is badly damaged and could lose its last stronghold in Mosul; and the successful campaign against al-Qaeda in Iraq has contributed to a 40 percent decline worldwide in deaths due to terrorism.
Yet, Hunt pointed out, “if it’s not Abu Ghraib with 50 stories in the New York Times, no one in the press that I’ve heard -- besides here -- will even talk about success.”
A number of MRC studies bolster Hunt’s point. In 2005, the big three broadcast networks offered heavy -- mainly negative -- coverage of the Iraq war. But after the 2007 U.S. troop surge began reducing violence and casualty levels dropped, the network coverage of the war dropped considerably.
Going into the Memorial Day weekend, when the nation will pay its respects to those who have lost their lives in the service of their country, Hunt pleaded for the media to also acknowledge their incredible achievements. Here’s a transcript of the May 23 segment that aired at about 8:25 Eastern time:
BRIAN KILMEADE: Coalition forces success, as we see there, in Iraq is growing. So why are so many in the media still focusing on the negatives? And, since John McCain says the surge is working, how does that impact his run for the White House? We're joined by Fox military analyst Colonel [David] Hunt, is still with us. Colonel, right now, when you look at the landscape there -- you're not one to get excited prematurely, especially when it comes to Iraq -- what intrigues you the most? What are you going to be looking for?
COLONEL DAVID HUNT: The success of the Iraqi military and the police. And I've written about it, and yelled about this for five years now, but it's turning around. Basra is safe -- safer -- because as we pulled back, the Iraqi military did not run away, they stood up, and they're continuing to keep Basra safe.
Inside Sadr City, 2 million people, a hot bed of bad guys. Iraq, the U.S. military went in, backed up by the Iraqi military, Sadr City is getting under control for the first time in over five years, and sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr, has signed a peace treaty. And now we're going up to Mosul. Two other things: al-Qaeda in Iraq is really on the ropes. They've been talking -- it's actually happening, and worldwide, 40 percent less deaths due to terrorism worldwide.
The administration has got to get credit for this, but if it's not Abu Ghraib with 50 stories in the New York Times, no one in the press that I've heard -- besides here -- will even talk about success, I think-
STEVE DOOCY: Why is that?
HUNT: -because it's tied to McCain and it's wrong.
STEVE: Why is that, Colonel?
HUNT: I think that there are news networks that are tied to one side, one party, obviously tied to one party -- Chris Matthews comes to mind and others on television -- who obviously have a vested interest. If you talk about success in Iraq, then you're somehow giving credit to McCain. And I think it's wrong because it does not give credit to the soldiers who have earned this, and we need to stop it.
They should stop playing politics with soldiers in Iraq, but it's happening. It's a good story, it's great story.
GRETCHEN CARLSON: And if there was a negative in Iraq, trust me, they'd be the first ones to jump on it. Colonel hunt, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
HUNT: Take care guys.
KILMEADE: Yeah, especially on Memorial Day, Colonel. Thanks for your service, and it's a privilege to have you on.