2008 June 29 Sunday
Americans Do Not Want To Hear About Iraq War

The press has reduced coverage of Iraq and think the public does not want to hear about it.

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.

Paul Friedman, a senior vice president at CBS News, said the news division does not get reports from Iraq on television “with enough frequency to justify keeping a very, very large bureau in Baghdad.” He said CBS correspondents can “get in there very quickly when a story merits it.”

I write about Iraq a whole lot less than I used to because I feel like I've said almost anything worthwhile that I can think of to write about. If war supporters can't see by now that the war was a big mistake I seriously doubt that any additional argument can persuade them.

People do not want to hear about the war. Iraq is a bummer. Thousands of Americans dead. Probably at least tens of thousands of Americans have gotten brain damaged by concussions which have very long lasting effects. So it is not surprising to hear that journalists find Americans do not want to discuss it.

On “The Daily Show,” Ms. Logan echoed the comments of other journalists when she said that many Americans seem uninterested in the wars now. Mr. McCarthy said that when he is in the United States, bringing up Baghdad at a dinner party “is like a conversation killer.”

Next President Barack Obama will try to pull out US troops. But I expect a few arguments will be used against this move. First, some nuts will claim a withdraw will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. John McCain, incorrectly trying to apply lessons he thinks he learned in Vietnam, will continue to argue that withdrawal will make our enemies more powerful. McCain wants to show strength in Iraq. Whereas I think spending one or two trillion dollars on a waste and getting a lot of our soldiers damaged and killed makes us weaker.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 June 29 12:44 PM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate

Audacious Epigone said at July 2, 2008 11:01 AM:

Some of the blame rests with the major media itself, I think, not just the disinterested public.

(From a couple of months ago) Pew Research has a feature called "The top story index" on the right side of its homepage. Pew, in conjunction with the Project for Excellence in Jounalism, tracks what percentage of the public follows a story or subject most closely as well as what percentage of media coverage is devoted to each story or subject. For several months, the percentage of the public following Iraq most closely has been in the teens, even while media coverage has consistently been in the 2%-4% range (it has just recently shot up after what took place in Basra).

That variance, where media coverage doesn't keep up with public interest, is usually relegated to financial concerns or sporting events (for example, 9% of the public shows the most interest in the NCAA tournament, but only 1% of news stories are devoted to it).

So why the near-silence on Iraq after it had been pervasive in the news since the invasion began back in March of '03? US soliders haven't been dying as rapidly as they had been from '04-'06. Iraqis haven't been dropping as fast, either.

From the beginning of '07 when the surge was announced, through the funding victory the administration received in May of the same year, to the present Shiite central government's attempt to take control of Iraq's most important commercial city, fatalities and coverage have trended in the same direction.

The correlation, by month, between media coverage and American soldier deaths is .63. For media coverage and reported Iraqi deaths, it's .68.

Jack Acnic said at July 4, 2008 2:00 AM:

Well the amount of responses this thread validates the war fatigue theory.
But like any 'good' over-indulgence the hangover will linger long as they bills have to be paid.
And that dear folks is why we have oil @$150/barrel and rising.

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