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September 08, 2007

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But but but… If we could only find Natalee Holloway we cold put it behind us and focus on other things.

At 6.4%, CNN was comparable to most broadcast networks

I’m curious how they arrive at these numbers. Only because I watch a fair amount of news and if you asked me how much of it centered on Iraq, off the top of my head I’d probably say, Oh, 15-20%. These single digit numbers just don’t seem right. I guess I’ll pay more attention…

Speaking of priorities:

U.S. government research money going to defeat cancer next year = $4.7 billion.

U.S. government research money going to defeat I.E.D. attacks on our troops next year = $4.0 billion.

Links at my humble blog.

OCSteve: they separate out "Events in Iraq", "Iraq: Debate", and "Iraq: Homefront." (The last doesn't get much.) One evening cable (averaging all of the major networks), the three combined ran about 15%.

But it's pretty hard to evaluate the debate if you don't have good, consistent coverage of the actual news on the ground. One reason to love the NewsHour: almost every day it has at least one decent-sized story from a reporter in Iraq on the day's news. (Plus: they have an honor roll for those who died, when names and photos become available. The leftist media and its troop-hating ways strikes again.)

(Actually, I have no idea why they do this, but I've always suspected it has something to do with this.)

This reminds me why I don't watch network newscasts anymore. I watch the NewsHour almost every night, and the honor roll ... well, it breaks my heart. I almost wish I could look away, not *know*, but I feel I owe those men and women, at a barest minimum, a moment of looking at their face and reading their name. Some are still kids, some must have families and children at home, and some, God help us, are grandparents. And to know there is nothing I can do to stop them showing up night after night after night. :(

Interesting about Jim Lehrer, I wasn't aware of that. Spent the day with some Marines, actually, helping with their motorcycle club fundraiser for the State Veterans' Home. Not my usual milieu, but they were all very nice and didn't, as it happens, put me in the raffle.

Briefly, my Grand Unified Theory concerning this and the immediately preceding posts (and many other similar ones on many other blogs) is:
-- The war is OLD news, while the media, as a business, are increasingly entertainment-oriented.
-- There is a lot more competition among individuals in the media for status, which Rove et al. have exploited ruthlessly, leading to more risk-averse and pro-establishment behavior.
-- The media as an institution is genuinely divided, just as the First and Third Estates are.
-- The media, not improperly, take their cues from social leaders, and the Democratic leadership is not pushing anywhere near as hard as they could for a withdrawal.

The Democratic leadership, in turn, thinks thus:
-- If they push for withdrawal and lose, they give the Administration another victory, and they play directly into the argument long used successfully against them that they are unreliable in matters of security.
-- If they push for withdrawal and win, they again play into that same argument, and worse, they get blamed for the horrendous carnage that follows the withdrawal (of which you can be sure the Administration would allow copious TV coverage).
-- If they do NOT push hard for withdrawal, the worst of the carnage is put off to another day (and somebody else's plate), and it is the Republicans who suffer a continuing, corrosive loss of credibility and support, which makes the Democratic prospects for the next election brighter.

Now as a matter of opinion, this risk-averse behavior is arguably morally suspect, since by action the Democrats might bring about a faster withdrawal, and thereby reduce needless death, destruction, and waste of resources. However, the moral burden on Republicans, who started this war and are fighting to continue it, is certainly far higher. And there is also some share of blame to be laid on the public, who have for decades supported and encouraged Republican demonization of Democrats as "weak" and who have, happily or tacitly, supported a war that does not require material sacrifice -- personal or financial -- by any but a professional minority. So before one goes blaming the entire state of affairs on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, one should consider what one would be asking them to undertake, and whether one would, in their places, consider the risk worthwhile.

Thanks, bleh. I keep going back and forth over how angry to be at the Democratic leadership versus how resigned to be over the numbers and perceptions game.

But there are issues where the Dems could make a difference without having 60 votes. They set the legislative agenda, and they could simply refuse to let some bills come up for a vote. Surveillance authorizations, for instance: the Dems could simply bottle those up unless they include restoration of habeas. Why that hasn't been done is beyond me.

There's another reason I can think of why TV news slights coverage of Iraq: any in-depth consistent reporting would show the surge isn't working. Can't have that, can we?

CaseyL: I am much, much more angry about the earlier capitulations than I am about any that follow. (This is, of course, not to say that I am not angry about the one that seems to be in the works. "Not as angry" covers a lot of turf.)

As of now, if we pass a bill calling for withdrawal of all troops, it will (I assume) take a couple of months for the military to figure out how this withdrawal is going to happen, and more time for it to actually occur. Significantly more time. As it should: I don't want to see us do this badly. If we don't, we're going to have to start pulling troops out in April in any case, and may end up pulling out significant numbers of them. Or rather: Bush is, with or without our forcing his hand.

The closer we get to that point, the more I can imagine Democrats thinking: why should we take the hit? Why not let Bush withdraw the troops, and when everything goes all to hell, he can take the blame. I don't buy this line of argument now, but there would come some point -- maybe when we could speed up withdrawal by only a week -- when I would.

This just makes me angrier about the earlier capitulations, though. Because this was completely foreseeable. As, of course, was the fact that the surge would not produce the political progress that was its alleged point. And to yield to an argument that goes: ooh, but we haven't given it a chance yet, when you are convinced it wont work, and people will die as a result -- that's just reprehensible.

But but but… If we could only find Natalee Holloway we cold put it behind us and focus on other things.

Ha! The other day I was reading something on Yahoo! News, and saw a link on the sidebar to an ABC News story titled, "Search intensifies for missing BYU student." I didn't even need to click the link to know I'd be met by a picture of a blonde white girl, but I did, and I was. Quelle fncking surprise.

The news business is just that and only that nowadays in the minds of many of its executives. And they control the budgets that pay for the travel to the places that news is happening, the salaries of the reporters and anyone else (cameramen, etc.) that needs to get there and anything else required for reporting. If the time or the pages can be filled with something cheaper than real news about Iraq or anything else important overseas that will still attract eyeballs then the cheaper story wins.

Some news.

More news.

Surge news.

There's another reason I can think of why TV news slights coverage of Iraq: any in-depth consistent reporting would show the surge isn't working. Can't have that, can we?

The press are tired of being castigated by the wingnuts for reporting "bad news" from Iraq. The solution: don't report any news from Iraq. Clever, eh?

This is the purpose of the Right Wing Noise Machine: to cow the press into only reporting what the wingnuts want reported.

The lack of media coverage would explain things like this:

According to one widely disseminated account of their meeting, Bush acted shocked when Abu Risha complained about Sunnis being killed in Baghdad because of their names, claiming he had never heard of such things.

The comment by bleh included something that we hear over and over...that we ignore Iraq because we have no personal or financial stake in it, i.e. it doesn't affect us.

That is simply, and profoundly, not the case. Furthermore, a loyal opposition would be hammering home the point relentlessly.

In order to prosecute this military action, we must borrow something on the order of $2.5B a day...mostly from the Chinese. Not only does this inflate the supply of dollars, and hence erode the value, it also gives more and more control of this country into the hands of other nations. To wit, when Congress started mumbling about tariffs related to the yuan's undervaluing, the Chinese threatened to dump their dollars. If you fear a recession from sub-prime lending, think about the bottom dropping out of the dollar overnight...picture 1930's Germany and buying bread with wheelbarrows full of money.

Iraq most certainly does affect every one of us, and the above is one of many possible examples. It does not affect the daily lives of the political elite, and that is why it continues along its present course towards utter disaster.

The comment by bleh included something that we hear over and over...that we ignore Iraq because we have no personal or financial stake in it, i.e. it doesn't affect us.

That is simply, and profoundly, not the case. Furthermore, a loyal opposition would be hammering home the point relentlessly.

In order to prosecute this military action, we must borrow something on the order of $2.5B a day...mostly from the Chinese. Not only does this inflate the supply of dollars, and hence erode the value, it also gives more and more control of this country into the hands of other nations. To wit, when Congress started mumbling about tariffs related to the yuan's undervaluing, the Chinese threatened to dump their dollars. If you fear a recession from sub-prime lending, think about the bottom dropping out of the dollar overnight...picture 1930's Germany and buying bread with wheelbarrows full of money.

Iraq most certainly does affect every one of us, and the above is one of many possible examples. It does not affect the daily lives of the political elite, and that is why it continues along its present course towards utter disaster.

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