Remember the war in Iraq? Last year, we were bombarded with stories--all negative--about the war. When President Bush announced the surge strategy, TV pundits and Democratic politicians alike denounced it as "too little, too late."
But, as Newsbusters points out, as the surge began working, fewer stories out of Iraq were put on the nightly news.
MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas helped tabulate all ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Iraq since the beginning of 2007, just as the surge strategy was being implemented. After heavy coverage of the shift to a new Iraq policy in January and February 2007, the TV coverage began to closely track the rising and falling death rates for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. When the number of U.S. fatalities jumped in May, TV coverage jumped, too. When U.S. casualties began to steadily decline, TV coverage of Iraq dramatically decreased.
While the amount of coverage has shriveled, the tone remains more negative than positive. So far this month, the three evening newscasts have aired just 41 items on Iraq, most (23) just brief items read by the anchor. A mere seven stories were field reports from Iraq. Only ABC’s World News (February 13) noted the passage of key legislation by the Iraqi parliament, followed by a unique story the next evening on the success of the surge. The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News offered no such stories in February, but NBC did find time to report a visit to Iraq by actress Angelina Jolie.
Back in December, NBC’s Tim Russert conceded that the media were less interested in covering a successful U.S. mission in Iraq, telling anchor Brian Williams that “with the surge in Iraq and the level of American deaths declining, it is off the front pages.”
Surprising? Not really. Journalists like reporting disasters, death, and despair. They will tell you that good news doesn't sell. But the truth is, when your country is at war and winning the war, you should play that up at least as much as you played up body counts and Democratic demogogues.
I suppose the hope is that if our successes aren't reported, then people won't know about them and will vote for Mr. Hope & Change, who, laughably, promises to pull our troops out of Iraq so we can lose. Then he plans to put the troops back in when things are really bad. Good plan, Barry!