Since the outset of the war in Iraq, a chorus of GOP lawmakers, right-wing bloggers and talkers, and Bush administration cheerleaders has clung to the refrain that the war was being misreported because the fearful mainstream media was holed up their hotel rooms rather than getting out in the streets and reporting the “good news” about Iraq.

In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this mixture of canards, propaganda and ignorance about journalists doing their jobs and doing them well under horrifying circumstances has died down and now should now cease for good.

On Monday, a CBS cameraman and soundman were killed and a correspondent badly wounded by a suicide bomber while out on the streets of Baghdad doing a story about U.S. troops in Iraq during Memorial Day.

With their deaths, Iraq has now become the deadliest conflict for journalists in modern times with 71 dead, surpassing the 69 killed in World War II and the 63 in Vietnam, according to several journalists’ organizations. And that figure does not include the 26 support staff _ drivers, translators, bodyguards _ who have also been killed.

The three CBS reporters were hardly reckless sensation seekers. All were experienced war correspondents, traveling with body armor in an armored vehicle, in the company of a U.S. military unit and not far from the Green Zone.

The mainstream media journalists and their news organizations are owed an apology by the reckless ideologues who impugned their professionalism. If they can’t bring themselves to apologize, they might try this _ just shut up.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)