Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Deadliest days of the year in Iraq rates little TV coverage

Yesterday was the deadliest day of this year in Iraq as the country was slammed with attack. When the snapshot was being dictated -- before the evening news began airing on the east coast -- the death toll had already reached 102. Saad Abdul-Kadir (AP) reports today that the death toll has reached 119. Around the world, the violence is covered. Russia's Pravda, for example, All India Radio, South African Star, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation . . . In fact, pretty much every country and every outlet reported on it. The only news consumers who might not know about the violence would be . . . US news consumers dependent upon commercial, broadcast TV to provide them with news on what passes for news shows. Three evening news broadcasts and two offered blink-and-you-miss-it 'coverage' while the third offered . . . as Heart once sang, "Nothing At All."

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer served up 19 seconds and, as Sawyer read the following, they had a graph of numbers:

Overseas as America continues to draw down troops in Iraq, more violence there. Suicide bombers, heavily armed gunmen, launched a wave of attacks that touched nearly every part of the country. At least 80 people were killed and more than 200 injured in the attacks in market, a factory and police checkpoints.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams offered a few seconds more -- 28 seconds total -- and ran video of the aftermath of attacks while Williams read the following:

We have an update today on Iraq where the American presence is now winding down but as we saw dramatically today the violence isn't -- quite the opposite. Some two dozen attacks across that country left more than 90 people dead, hundreds more injured. Coordinate attacks by suicide car bombers targeted workers at a textile plant. Then the emergency workers who showed up and came to their aid were targeted. It was the bloodiest day there all year so far.

Two offered headlines. And then CBS Evening News with Katie Couric continued it's slide into obscurity last night with no news on Iraq. CBS was among the first to bail on the country and it continues to avoid the topic. Let's be really clear, when you've got time to cover the 'announcement' that Barbara Walters will have heart surgery -- not that she had it, which would be news, but that she will have it -- and you've got time to offer bulls**t on Tiger Woods, you've got time to cover the deadliest day of the year in Iraq. Unless you're just not really in the news business. CBS viewers were treated to a story on heartburn medicines. And didn't that make for a better world and a more informed citizenry?

If it bleeds it leads. Maybe the refusal of all three broadcasts to grasp that accounts for why network news continues to bleed viewers?

PBS didn't have much time for Iraq either. More than CBS but you're local town gossip has more time for Iraq than CBS. The NewsHour reduced it to a headline as well (link has text, video and audio option):

Hari Sreenivasan: A series of attacks across Iraq made today the deadliest day of the year so far. At least 99 people were killed in violence that began in the early morning and continued into the night. Hundreds more were wounded. Nearly half of the victims died in a pair of car bombings outside a textile factory in Hillah. As a crowd gathered to help those victims, a suicide bomber blew himself up. The violence also included coordinated shootings targeting Iraqi security forces at six checkpoints in Baghdad.

In terms of print, Steven Lee Meyers (New York Times) has the best article:

A member of the departing Parliament's security committee, Bahaa al-Araji, pointedly blamed the security forces for unclear loyalties and for "the arrogance" of the generals because of improved security that, he emphasized, the American military had achieved and Iraq’s military was squandering.
"The top military leaders are preoccupied with the political situation," he said in a telephone interview. "Each is affiliated to a party or a bloc, and some have participated in the election, and so their priority is no longer security."
The attacks began as the nightly curfew lifted in Baghdad at 5 a.m. and continued relentlessly through the day.

That is an update (and much more in depth) than the article he posted early yesterday. Prashant Rao (AFP), citing UNHCR's Daniel Endres, reports that the trend is . . . increased number of Iraqi internal refugees in "squatter camps" -- a 25% increase since last year. Meanwhile Fars News Agency reports Iran has "confiscated 6 Iraqi boats and 12 sailors after they crossed the Iran-Iraq borders and entered Iran's territorial waters illegally." In the US,
Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) reports on the ongoing Warrior Games taking place in Colorado: "The weeklong games are a joint venture between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Department of Defense, with support from the USO and several corporations such as the Deloitte accounting and consulting firm. Organizers hope it will become an annual event."

And the Senate Democratic Policy Committee continues to highlight the economy and finances in a number of videos this week. Click here to be taken to the DPC video page. We'll note this video featuring Senator Chris Dodd which was posted yesterday.

Amped Status Report notes two articles:

High Frequency Terrorism: How the Big Banks and Federal Reserve Maintained Their Death Grip Over the United States

The stock market plunge on May 6th was an act of domestic financial terrorism in America. A day that will live in infamy. [Read More]

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy's Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

Democracy is devolving into fascism before our eyes, the "iron law of oligarchy" is once again asserting itself. You cannot have a concentration of vast wealth and Democracy at the same time, and we currently have the greatest concentration of wealth in history... [Read More]

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