The Bush people, from the president to Rummy on down, insist the U.S. media just aren't relaying all the good news happening outside the shooting zones in Iraq. To help do my small part, here's a tidbit gleaned from the press office of the Coalition Provisional Authority:
"In support of the national holiday honoring the birthday of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Coalition Provisional Authority is giving more than 950 soccer balls to Iraqi children, schools, and sports clubs in South Central Iraq." [That soccer pitch in Fallujah that the natives have turned into a cemetery for people killed during the current siege is probably off-limits to games right now, though.]
I checked to see whether any of the naysaying mainstream media have picked up on the prophet's birthday balls. None have, so far as I can see. But The New York Times was actually ahead of the curve, with a piece from sports columnist George Vecsey on a Long Island soldier who's gotten a kid's soccer league together. Vecsey even alludes to the kill-joy media:
"The smiles. You rarely see smiles like these on the 6 o'clock news or on the front page. Alex Fyfe gets to see Iraqi children with a happy look on their faces, as they kick soccer balls on the dust and rocks."