After President Bush made a surprise visit to Afghanistan yesterday, putting it back in the news, the question became how long would it be before the media would try to frame the war in Afghanistan in a negative light? For CBS, the answer was this morning as reporters on "The Early Show" sounded almost like Taliban cheerleaders in their attempt to undermine President Bush’s credibility and tout bad news coming out of Afghanistan. For instance, Julie Chen introduced a report from Sheila MacVicar:
Julie Chen: "Julie Chen: "Before India, the President's first stop was Afghanistan where despite his reassurances that things are going well, the Taliban are, in fact, staging fierce new attacks."
Sheila MacVicar’s report was not much better. She focused on a tape released of a Taliban attack on a school, and declared security in Afghanistan had declined and touted the resurgence of the Taliban:
Sheila MacVicar: "The Taliban were forced from power by the U.S. led invasion, but they are making a comeback."
And a few sentences later:
Sheila MacVicar: "Shocking pictures equally shocking evidence of how much the security situation in Afghanistan has declined. The Taliban are resurgent and officials and elders say they are targeting civil servants, doctors and teachers. And, in many places where there are still schools to go to, it's too unsafe. Sheila MacVicar, CBS News, London."
Later in the broadcast, Harry Smith interviewed Michael O’Hanlon from the Brookings Institution. Most of the interview dealt with President Bush’s trip to India and Pakistan, but towards the end, Smith found time to bring up Afghanistan. Again, Smith touted the negative, even seeming doubtful that democracy can survive in the Afghanistan.
Harry Smith: "Let's talk about Afghanistan for a moment. The President goes in, supports Karzai. Wants to sort of wave the flag there a little bit and say things are going well. But the fact is, attacks are up. Heroin sales are way up. The Taliban is up. We just showed this very dramatic tape there a minute ago of these schools that are being attacked by the Taliban all across the country. What are democracy's realistic chances in Afghanistan?"
The Early Show’s reporters offered no numbers or context to back up their claims that things are worse in Afghanistan, such as comparative statistics, they just want us to take their word for it, and that is something I can not do.