Friday, April 20, 2007

Other Items

Rahid Sabah Abid, a 25-year-old shop owner, left work on Wednesday afternoon and began his homeward journey on a day that seemed then much like any other. He wended his way through the crowded streets of the Shorja market, then boarded one of the minibuses waiting in the Sadriya neighborhood to take him home to his wife and five daughters in nearby Sadr City.
His first hint of trouble was a car racing against traffic toward the line of buses. "There was no warning," he recalled. "I saw the explosion in front of me and felt the pain in my legs. The bus was on fire and I jumped out, then began to crawl. There were five burning cars with people in them. I shouted for someone to help."

The above is from Michael Kamber's "Car Bombs, and Pain, Define a War With No Place to Hide" in this morning's New York Times. There's so little coverage of Iraq, it would be easy to applaud this article. There's so little coverage of Iraq, from Iraq, that features the voice of the Iraqis (once supposedly so important -- if you believed the lies used to sell the illegal war), that it's tempting to just move along. But Kamber (well, the stringer) speaks with Iraqis and the only ones included (spoken to as well?) are men. Near the end, Kamber writes of a "family" and apparently it's some sort of Cartwrights in Baghdad clan because there's no woman to be quoted. How does that happen? And how does it happen day after day?

Now at any outlet, reporters are always jockeying. They're fully aware of what their co-workers do that gets attention and what doesn't. Considering all the attention given to a cover story on a woman who was assassinated, you might think that would lead reporters at the paper to think, "We've left women out of nearly all our coverage!" Thinking that, you might expect that they'd then attempt to rectify it. Not out of any concern for Iraqi women but just to try to grab some of that attention. You would be wrong. To read the Times is to be left with the impression that there are no women in Iraq.

They offer a DC story that some will see as Iraq coverage. What else do they offer? Front page contains another story on the Monday shooting. Inside the paper the story continues along with five more articles on that topic. Fingers are pointing at NBC but the reality is that all the outlets have behaved like vultures and created the feeding frenzy. (To be clear, I don't think NBC made the wrong decision with the tape. They should have aired it in some manner. Not having watched any of their airings, I have no idea how much they showed, how well they handled it. But the videotape they were sent was news.) So the worst bombings in Iraq this year will apparently have to make do with two stories (one yesterday, one today) but they'll keep going to the well, over and over with Monday's shooting. In addition the five articles on the topic, they offer another column on it.

This is from Reuters:

The convoy of the son of powerful Iraqi Shi'ite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim was attacked in the southern Baghdad district of Doura on Thursday and six of his bodyguards were wounded, an official said.
Ammar al-Hakim's convoy was fired on as it was travelling to Baghdad from the southern holy Shi'ite city of Najaf.

You can be sure the Times will not create a special section on that incident. They won't offer days and days of multiple stories. They won't commission op-eds on the subject.

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