The general consensus by journalists and residents alike is that while the FREQUENCY of violence is down, the reasons for it and the attacks that do occur still make Iraq one of the most dangerous places to be right now. It doesn't matter that the series of bombings killed 22 or 222 during Gates' visit: the danger is still there, and as the British forces demonstrated in Basra, the reason that danger exists is primarily due to the occupation forces in place. They continue to fight because we're there, and unless we're prepared to place permanent "surge-level" forces on the ground to kill every single resident, it is simply not going away.
It's disingenuous to blame the media for terrorism because the media has reported on terrorist activities. Somehow, a media blackout will make the terrorists lose heart and go away? Do terrorists count on media exposure for their deeds? To some extent that may be true, but these are not propaganda specialists. These are a little more than bullies, and far more complex. They're jihadists, they're patriots, they're men and women with families they're trying to protect in a land where everyone is against his neighbor, and all the neighbors are against the occupiers.
We are already defeated in Iraq. The media has refused to say it, even John Murtha won't admit it, but a majority of Americans have a clue because they want our troops home. We were defeated the moment we defied the UN by forming our own coalition and occupying the country. Trying to shift the blame to anyone but our own government and those dittoheads who cheered them on is pointless.