The public is to blame for bad Iraq coverage

Such is the pronouncement of the New York Times:

Even as we celebrate generations of American soldiers past, the women and men who are making that sacrifice today in Iraq and Afghanistan receive less attention every day. There’s plenty of blame to go around: battle fatigue at home, failing media resolve and a government intent on controlling information from the battlefield.

The media isn’t responsible for their coverage; we have to share in the blame. In fact, their only problem is a “failure of resolve” (whatever that means), not that they’re incompetent and dishonest.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Coverage Index, coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has slipped to 3 percent of all American print and broadcast news as of last week, falling from 25 percent as recently as last September.

“Ironically, the success of the surge and a reduction in violence has led to a reduction in coverage,” said Mark Jurkowitz of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. “There is evidence that people have made up their minds about this war, and other stories — like the economy and the election — have come along and sucked up all the oxygen.” . . .

I see; it’s our fault that the media stops covering the war when we start winning. Do they write this stuff with a straight face?

Television network news coverage in particular has gone off a cliff. Citing numbers provided by a consultant, Andrew Tyndall, the Associated Press reported that in the months after September when Gen. David H. Petraeus testified before Congress about the surge, collective coverage dropped to four minutes a week from 30 minutes a week at the height of coverage, in September 2007.

It was also pointed out that when Katie Couric, CBS’s embattled anchor, went to Iraq to report the story, she and her network were rewarded with their lowest ratings in over 20 years. Hollywood producers who had hoped there would be a public interest in cinematic perspectives on this war have been similarly punished.

It’s the public’s fault for not watching. The fact that Couric and Hollywood were putting out crap played no part in their woes.

The war remains on the front burner for some outlets. On Sunday, The Los Angeles Times gave over much of its front page to chronicling Californians who have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Washington Post continues to personalize the war with a series called Faces of the Fallen.

Honoring the memories of our fallen veterans is great, but if the war were really on the front burner, they might also report the actual events of the war. They know how to do it; in 2003, when they were paying attention, I read the Washington Post daily (or more) for updates on the war. Alas, you can’t get that kind of information from the mainstream media any more. When war reporting contains little to no actual war reporting, you can’t blame people for tuning out.

(Via Countercolumn, via Instapundit.)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: