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Rumsfeld Cites 'Gap' in Media Reports on Iraq

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

SINGAPORE, June 4, 2004 – The real situation in Iraq and its depiction in the media are two different things, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

Rumsfeld, here to meet with Singaporean officials and attend the annual "Shangri-La Dialog" conference of Pacific nations, made the comment during a town hall meeting aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

Responding to a question from a Marine assigned to the 3rd Marine Division about when he might get a chance to serve in Iraq, the secretary expanded on his explanation of deployment policies to comment on the work service members are doing in Iraq. He said he visits Iraq every few months, and the success stories and progress he sees and hears about aren't reflected in the media coverage he sees back home.

"I come back to the United States, and I see in the press the difficulties only the difficulties, the hardships, the ugliness -- and goodness knows it's there, and the reality that people do get killed and do get wounded," he said. But a "gap between what you see out there and what you feel" and the media coverage of Iraq is something, he said, he can't explain. "I suppose that for whatever reason, people seem to think that news isn't news unless it's bad news," Rumsfeld said, "because that's essentially what's getting reported."

With the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy approaching on June 6 and invasion that turned the tide of World War II -- Rumsfeld recalled the carnage of the D-Day assault. He wondered aloud what would have happened to Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had the landing been reported by today's media, with so many outlets covering events 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I suppose they would have been calling General Eisenhower back for congressional hearings," he said.

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