The Rise And Fall Of Iraq

Have you found yourself watching
the nightly news or browsing the
news feed on your homepage lately?
If the answer is yes, have you
noticed the war in Iraq is seldom
reported? Seems strange doesn't
it? After all we have been at war
for six years now, where did all
the news go?

As the war in Iraq rages on,
steady and reliable coverage of
the war seems to be disappearing
from network and print news.
According to Andrew Tyndall of
the Huffington Post, "We owe
both Iraqis and our troops more
than 181 weekday minutes for all
three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS).
That's about two minutes of Iraq
coverage per network, per week.
And that's far too little." Yes, you
heard right, only 181 minutes of
coverage, compared to the 1,157
minutes in all of 2007.

It turns out that this demur of
coverage is nothing new, the Project
for Excellence in Journalism claims
that the US coverage of the war in
Iraq has been steadily declining
since January 2007. This claim
can be directly correlated to the
start of the 2008 elections process,
naturally, the networks focused on
the primaries and debates, which
were historically dragged out in
the past election. Lara Logan,
chief foreign correspondent for
CBS News stated, "Coverage is
cyclical," we get it, the election
comes around and Iraqw is put on
the back burner, but the election
is over now... (should this be left?
A complete ending would be: but
the election is over now, so what's
the excuse?

One theory about this lack of
coverage is that several other
pressing issues that have kept
Iraq on the back burner for longer
than expected have disrupted the
"cycle" of the news. Those issues
being: health care, gay rights, and
most notably the recession. Issues
that are affecting more Americans
than the war in Iraq appears to be.
Right now Americans are more
focused on what is happening to
their money, the job market, and
how they can avoid falling into
the rapidly growing unemployment
gap. And now that health care
reform is causing such a buzz,
good luck finding any recent news
about Iraq when you enter it in to
your Google search bar or turn
on the nightly news. Unless you
have a family member over seas,
you probably don't give the war in
Iraq much thought anymore, that's
because you have been conditioned
not to hear about it these days.

Another theory, according to the
blog, Powerline, is that media bias
plays a role in the loss of coverage.
Powerline argues, "the change
may be due in part to the fact
that network executives are more
excited about the apparent failure
in Iraq, than success there." Thus,
the decline in the relative amount
of violence in Iraq (civilian deaths
down 75 percent since 2007) is
taking the appeal out of coverage.
Expense is also an issue in the
current state of our economy.
CBS no longer stations a single
full time correspondent in Iraq;
this has become a bigger trend in
other networks as well. Coverage
is enormously costly, due to travel
and security expenses. And with
other issues on the forefront in our
national community, why bother to
pay to travel overseas?

Whether the lack of coverage is
due to the distraction due to current
issues, media bias, or our economic
decline, Iraq is not on the forefront,
and don't expect it to move off the
back burner any time soon. And if
you are looking for coverage, you
may just have to dig a little deeper
than the nightly news.

But as the saying goes, sometimes
no news is good news...right?