Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NYT: Iraq coverage slips right out of the paper

So nothing happened in Iraq on Tuesday, according to the New York Times, except for Saddam. Paul von Zielbauer offers the court recap and we don't cover court room dramas. The Times has no choice but to cover it because if they didn't they leave their ridiculous John F. Burns hanging. Those with longer memories will remember how he disgraced himself with his it's-personal coverage in the lead up to the war. Having had a hand in the (press) creation of this 'new Hitler,' Burns uses his off-stage role (and considerable heft) to dictate that any day Saddam's in court, there's a story.

Considering all the ink wasted on this trial (which has surpassed Michael Jackson for column inches long ago), it's amazing how poorly they've covered the trial. Who backed Saddam? Who put in him power? Who looked the other way when not encouraging?

The problem isn't that Saddam's on trial, the problem is that a lot of others aren't. Something to remember ten or twenty years on down the line when the next US-backed Saddam, Pinochet, go down the list, is held accountable for their crimes but treated as though they acted in a vacuum.

So the Times covers the trial like a show trial because it's a purge intended to purge every rational person of the history they damn well remember.

In the meantime Cedric's put the count of some of the reported dead on Tuesday at 25. John F. Burns needs his show trial so that's what passes for Iraq coverage today. (He's not the only one who needs it -- at the paper or elsewhere.)

The whole thing has as much bearing on reality (or today) as the 'success' of the crackdown. Micah notes Arianna Huffington's "From the Dept. of Perspective (Iraq Bloodshed Division)" (The Huffington Post):

It says all you need to know about the horrific state of affairs in Iraq that 22 people dead and over 300 wounded during an attack on Shiite worshipers is considered "an extraordinary success."
But that's what it's come to. After gunmen perched on rooftops, hidden in buildings, and standing in the streets of Baghdad opened fire on religious pilgrims walking through Baghdad on their way to a major Shiite shrine on Sunday, killing 22 and injuring over 300 others, an Iraq Interior Ministry official labeled the outcome "an extraordinary success," and the general in charge of U.S. forces in the besieged capital said Iraqi security forces had done "an excellent job of preventing more needless loss of innocent civilian lives."

As the Washington Post reported yesterday, the death toll rose to 26. It's probably risen again.

As Kat noted, today "on KPFA's The Morning Show, after the 8:00 am news (second hour), Bob Watada will be the guest." 8:00 am is PST.

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