Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Hate The War

"What happens when the US abandons some good friends?" Katie Couric asked that at the start of yesterday's CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, The footage of the assault was shown. Footage. What other network newscast made time for this story? And while you're checking that, step on over to PBS and find out if The NewsHour made time for the story. (Answer: No.) Footage of the assault. Footage and violence supposedly drive TV news so what's the excuse for the silence from others on Camp Ashraf?

That was in today's snapshot leading to an indignant drive-by (who works for PBS) who insists that The NewsHour did a segment on the assault just like CBS. No, Lara Logan had a segment. (See the snapshot if streaming isn't an option for you.) Gwen Ifill offered a headline.

Let's break down PBS' one hour news program. 21:01 were spent on Bernake and the Federal Reserve. (More than anyone needed and this was another chapter in the multi-part segment for the week.) Health care was 12:26. Iran was 6:24. "So why are you complaining? Right there, they're covering the Iranians at Camp Ashraf in Iraq." No, this was on turbulence in Iran. 7:46 was Elvis Costello discussing his new album. (It's a good album, I recommend it. But I don't know that was news or news worth seven minutes plus.) And?

They did headlines. 5:02. That was their entire hour. Plus telling you who underwrote the show -- commercials, but don't call them that, PBS doesn't like it when you do.

Now the PBS-er (how appropriate) wants me to know they did a segment just like CBS News did. No, they didn't. They touched on it in headlines. They offered a whopping 39 seconds. Color us underwhelmed.

There was no segment on it. It got a tiny mention in headlines. It wasn't even the lead headline. It wasn't even the lead headline on Iraq.

That's disgusting.

People are dead, people are wounded. And viewers heard about Elvis Costello's new album.

Now it's a great album, I like Elvis, I know Elvis, I think it can lift you up on a really bad day and I think it can provide you hours and hour of enjoyment. But I don't really think that it couldn't have been trimmed to cover the assault on Camp Ashraf.

Although honestly, the Bernanke segment's what should have been ditched.

It's nonsense. It's worship the way Alan Greenspan was worshipped -- and don't we all know where that got the country?

This wasn't a probe. This was let Bernanke pontificate and, again, I believe that's part of the reason the US is in so much trouble. Not just Alan Greenspan's actions but the lack of a critical press when it came to economic issues.

We didn't Bernanke's oratory from the mount and it never qualified as news -- let alone TV worth watching. (Snooze time.) So that segment could have been ditched completely. It certainly didn't deserve 21 minutes last night. And that's before you factor in how many minutes they gave to Bernanke yammering away already this week.

That's not news. And it's not probing. It's a static talking head (bad television) and he's being allowed to pontificate (one source) about complex issues with no real check on him (no other guests, no debate). It was boring as hell and it didn't qualify as news. Next up, we'll be calling the speeches aired on CSPAN news? Is that how it works?

Bernanke got tons of time from PBS this week to try to sell a plan. Well it's not news. News is an examination of what he's selling and, guess what, you can't do that with just Ben as the expert.

There's nothing wrong with Bernanke. There's nothing wrong with Alan Greenspan. Both have economic ideas and if the press wants to do their jobs then the American people can decide whether they like an economic theory or not and they can hear what might and might not happen as a result. But when you do what PBS did, you've left hypothesis and theories and turned Economis into a field with no margin of error and no disputes and it's gospel. That doesn't inform anyone and it just creates the same He Can't Fail image that they did for Alan Greenspan. And that didn't help Greenspan and it certainly didn't help the country.

PBS, an informercial -- for any product -- is not news.

But the worship of officials, always PBS biggest journalistic crime, helps get the country into one huge problem after another. Two that easily spring to mind: The economic crisis and the Iraq War. And, uh, no, neither's ending.

And both were sold to you by an industry that didn't want to inform you, by an industry that wanted you to just take the word of officials. There was no skepticism, just more worship of official-dom. And look where it gets us? PBS has no excuse, public television, for airing the Bernanke nonsense. And it's nonsense. It would be nonsense if it was Hillary talking about foreign policy (while Secretary of State). It is nonsense to hang on every word of any official without challenging it. That would be state TV, not public television. It's nonsense and its hurts the country.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4327. Tonight? 4328.

The e-mail address for this site is

the cbs evening news with katie courickatie couric
lara logan