Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free Press

Not only are the US media largely free from any fundamental criticism of the Iraq War (their criticism, such as it is, by and large focuses only on the White House's tactics rather than its goal or even strategy), but they are becoming virtually free from any coverage of Iraq whatsoever. It gives a new meaning to the term "free press."
According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been "massively scaled back this year." Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The "CBS Evening News" has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC's "World News" and 74 minutes on "NBC Nightly News." (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

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Journalists at all three American television networks with evening newscasts expressed worries that their news organizations would withdraw from the Iraqi capital after the November presidential election. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid offending their employers. (Brian Stelter, "Reporters Say Networks Put Wars on Back Burner," New York Times, 23 June 2008)

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