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George W keeps telling us that America is at war. But if were at war, he
wouldn’t need to tell us, for we’d be fully engaged in the national effort.
In fact, America is not at war. Oh, our troops and their families most
certainly are deep in the hell of George W’s war, but 99 percent of us have
no personal involvement in it. We are making no sacrifices whatsoever, not
even being taxed to pay for it. We’re at beaches, bars and barbeques this
summer – not at war.
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Neither is America’s media establishment. Media monitor David Carr
reports that coverage of the war has fallen to a mere three percent of print
and broadcast news, down from 25 percent as recently as September.
Collectively, network TV is now devoting only four minutes a week to a war
that already has killed 4,100 of our soldiers and is draining $12 billion a
month out of our national treasury.
Why this big media yawn? Some publishers and editors have decided that
the “story” isn’t that interesting anymore (of course, if their families were the ones at war, they undoubtedly would find the story riveting). Also, conglomerate owners are cutting newsroom budgets to jack up their profits, so they have fewer reporters to bring us war news.
But perhaps the biggest reason for the drop in coverage is this: the government does not allow it. At White House insistence, the Pentagon has so severely restricted the movements and freedoms of reporters and photographers in Iraq that most can’t do their jobs. Frustrated, many media outlets have simply withdrawn, choosing not to pay for reporters who aren’t allowed to report. I can certainly appreciate their frustration – but, wait a minute, isn’t this government lockdown of our media a rather huge story in itself? Surly that’s worthy of intensive reporting?
Meanwhile, people keep dying in a war that practically no one supports.
“The Wars We Choose To Ignore,” The New York Times, May 26, 2008