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LA Times Saturday: Blown Opportunity
Otherwise Excellent LAT Iraq Report Misses Critical Element
12/16/2006 09:36 AM ET
The LA Times has an impressive collection of Iraq coverage today, as usual.

Just two days after First Lady Laura Bush ripped the news media for not reporting positive Iraq news more prominently, specifically citing what she said was the great but under-reported progress with Iraq's schools, the LA Times provides a timely, tragic, detail-rich Baghdad-datelined story whose third and fourth paragraphs say this:

But today, across the country, campuses are being shuttered, students and teachers driven from their classrooms and parents left to worry that a generation of traumatized children will go without education.

Teachers tell of students kidnapped on their way to school, mortar rounds landing on or near campuses and educators shot in front of children.

I wish I could provide the entire story here, but I don't want to hear from cranky LA Times lawyers. It's a must-read.

My gripe is this: Why wasn't Laura Bush's controversial statement about the media's coverage of Iraq's schools noted in this otherwise excellent piece of reporting by Solomon Moore? The First Lady is more admired, trusted, and respected than any top member of the U.S. government. She speaks frequently about Iraq's schools and children, and she's a big booster of an NGO called Operation Iraqi Children, which has done heroic work in Iraq. What she says about Iraqi schools, and what she says about the media's coverage of Iraqi schools, matters and carries weight with the American people. Yet Laura Bush isn't mentioned in this report. The LA Times missed an ideal opportunity to tie the two stories together.

The rest of the LA Times's Iraq reporting:

1) A battlefield called school (Solomon Moore)

2) Asian Games soccer final serves as a diversion, if only for a moment (Borzou Daragahi)

3) 2 Marines slain in western Iraq (Molly Hennessy-Fiske)

4) Rumsfeld parts with a warning (Peter Spiegel)

5) New manual at odds with key Iraq tactics (Julian E. Barnes)

6) Deployment may signal Iraq push


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