Monday, June 23, 2008

If it Doesn't Bleed, it Doesn't Lead, Give Us Dirty Laundry

It wasn't so long ago that people were all up in arms protesting the war in Iraq and the staggering loss of lives that our troops have suffered (significantly less than any prior engagement that has lasted half this long). Where is the news from Iraq now?
Don Henley had a song out several years back (yes, I know I'm dating myself by using this reference, but it's applicable) concerning the media and how they approach the news. Aptly enough, the name of the song was "Dirty Laundry." In the song there are several situations that are mentioned, such as a plane crash, an operation in which the camera crew wants to film the procedure and the question is asked, "Is the head dead yet?"

In no instance is this attitude of "if it bleeds, it leads" more evident than in the coverage of the war in Iraq. When there was a significant amount of gunfire and conflict, the main stream couldn't get enough of it, to the point of fabricating stories along the way about American troops shooting up places that they hadn't opened fire on (note if you will in clicking the link that the bullets the woman is holding have never been fired, they are still in their shell casing), or about 20 headless bodies being found in a mass grave.

I can't help but wonder if the movie 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag inspired that story.

So I'm guessing that building schools, hospitals, and an infrastructure, along with police operations to mop up the pockets of insurgents that are starting to dwindle, aren't newsworthy now?

I'm guessing it isn't bleeding enough.

Getting a story on the evening news isn’t easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network.

“Generally what I say is, ‘I’m holding the armor-piercing R.P.G.,’ ” she said last week in an appearance on “The Daily Show,” referring to the initials for rocket-propelled grenade. “ ‘It’s aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don’t put my story on the air, I’m going to pull the trigger.’ ”

Ms. Logan let a sly just-kidding smile sneak through as she spoke, but her point was serious. Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever.

“If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts,” Ms. Logan said.

It drives many of us into a state of brain damaged myopia as well

I wonder if a reporter causing a bureau chief to bleed would be bloody enough? It would create a moral dilemma for the dinosaur media, though.

"To bleed or not to bleed, that is the question."

It's a matter of money, and the dinosaur media isn't going to continue investing money in a region that doesn't have enough blood and guts coming out of it to fill the time slots for the evening news. Inside sources have indicated, on the condition of anonymity, that they are concerned that the "big three" would withdraw their organizations from Baghdad after the November elections.

It's at this point that one has to wonder why the November elections are the deciding point for the withdrawal of major media encampment in Iraq. Could this say something to a propaganda factor that the big three have been running against the current Presidential administration of George. W. Bush? It is HIS war, after all, if some pundits are to be believed. How much credibility is lost in close examination of the media and their coverage of Iraq when closely examining how much negative attention has been given to the war during the time period when our armed forces were in the process of bringing stability to the region, and the subsequent lack of information coming out of the area now that the situation is becoming more manageable. Does this show a concerted effort by the main stream media to try to discredit and bring down a sitting Republican President?

Or does there need to be more bleeding involved for them to continue that effort?

As to Lara Logan and others who have come forth, it will be interesting to see what turns their careers take in coming weeks and months.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


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