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Iraq War Disappears From News Cycle

The Iraq War, which began five years ago today, is not over, despite the fact that the news media has decided not to cover it. A recent report found that the war in Iraq made up 3 percent of total news coverage in America, during the first 10 weeks of 2008. Last year, Iraq got 23 percent of the attention during the same period. It's getting a lot of attention today, but what's with the general blackout?

Well, at first it seemed obvious that the never ending presidential campaign has crowded the airwaves. But, whenever candidates bring up Iraq, it gets ignored in favor of salacious media-made stories about race and politics, "white ethnic" voters, or Hillary's wardrobe. Hillary Clinton made a major speech on her Iraq policy on Monday, but all I saw on TV was a loop of inflammatory YouTube clips from years ago.

So, I tried to think of my own attitude toward Iraq coverage. I realized that I too suffer from Iraq fatigue. The obligatory "Iraq is bad" coverage doesn't exactly keep me from changing the channel. I can just fill in the headline: suicide bomb, surge this, insurgents that. Am I giving the government a blank check by not tuning in as much as I should?

Without a draft, so many Americans are not urgently invested in the Iraq War. News then can take on the role of entertaining, rather than informing. The media is going where the ratings, and the dollars, are — aka not Iraq.

Is the media to blame for our ignorance, or is it self-imposed by the consumer?


remedios remedios 9 years
Well I do need to know whether Heidi and Spencer are going to make it another week.
I was just noticing a couple months ago that the nightly news no longer ends the night telling us how many of our soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I want to give all of you a hug! Group hug!
rpenner rpenner 9 years
mandy it broke my heart too. and don't feel the need to justify. either way it is completely wrong that that child has to live like that.
syako syako 9 years
Wow, I think you took it a little more harshly than I intended. :? Your heart breaks for that child (which is honorable) piper's heart breaks for the soldier and my heart breaks for the fact that we live in a world where terrorism is becoming a norm. We can all have broken hearts, can't we? And I don't think I'm desperately trying to get my voice heard - if I were I could think of much better platforms than the comments of a half day-old post.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
REALLY, people? Really? Someone can't say they feel sorry for a child for having to live life at such a young age in a war without people turning it into a platform for their political beliefs? I didn't say I didn't feel sorry for the solider or that I'd rather a terrorist be there with the child for goodness sake. I said I feel sorry for a child--an innocent victim who will never get to enjoy a childhood like I had. I said that as a human with a heart, it aches when I look at this picture. Period. It has nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats or people so desperately trying to get their voice heard that they take any chance they can to say something against the war or for it.
syako syako 9 years
it is heart breaking, I guess, but I think it's better to have a soldier than a terrorist with a machine gun next to him - just saying...
piper23 piper23 9 years
Yep, that would be nice. I want to hug the soldier and tell him that his country hasn't forgotten about him and that they appreciate what he's doing. They appreciate the sacrifices he's making so that that little boy can have a better life.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
No, he's not pointing the gun at the child but that doesn't make it any less heart-breaking. A child, an innocent little boy having to live with war in his home and walk his city where soldiers with guns are commonplace. I just want to hug him and give him a good, safe home.
syako syako 9 years
:highfive: I got an agreed with Jill! Best. Day. Ever.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"All the media are giving us is these stories from the day to day that really don't tell us anything about the overall picture." Agreed!
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"And people think that this is the candidate that will handle our war on terror the best? He is just like Bush....making up any links or connections he can think of to justify agressive actions against another country. Terrifying." Good point, Juju. I was REALLY surprised to hear McCain speak as if he had no idea what the basic loyalties were in the region. The fact that he started off saying, "it is well known, common knowledge" and then had to be corrected in order to see his blunder really scared me. That is basic information.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
syako - I agree. Plus the message hasn't changed from the white house, we've been at "stay the course" for how long now? Bush never did a good job of explaining this war.
syako syako 9 years
and really the overall picture won't fit nicely into cnn headline news, would it?
syako syako 9 years
I don't think it's that "we're sick of being lied to" more than we're sick of hearing day in and day out that such and such people died from another car bomb today. All the media are giving us is these stories from the day to day that really don't tell us anything about the overall picture. But obviously, covering and reporting the overall picture would take a lot of time and money and smarts... and mandy, the soldier isn't pointing the gun at the kid... :?
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
That picture makes my eyes sting and my heart ache. :(
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
I think it's a combination of both. The media has become so bias that most of us are completely disillusioned with what either side is trying to sell us. Personally, I haven't spent near the time keeping up on Iraq that I did five years ago, but that's because at this point, it's the same thing over and over and over. The Bush administration is feeding us crap about how wonderful it is (romantic, even), and what we're seeing elsewhere is basically the same thing we've been hearing for years: our soldiers are dying, civilians are dying, an estimated one million Iraqi's are dead.....I don't call that progress, and I think the Bush administration is out of their minds. Not to mention the fact that even though it's basically been proven that every reason Bush ever had for starting this war is a load of crap, he's still trying to feed us a load of horse *#$@. Days after the Pentagon announced no connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, he's STILL spouting off about Iraq training al Qaeda and training terrorists and how the war in Iraq is "keeping America safe". America doesn't feel any safer. We're more paranoid and wading through more bureaucratic red tape, maybe. But that's about it. So, if I'm any indication, then it is partially consumer based. We're sick of being lied to.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I feel like I have read this before :ponder: That's right! It was in Conservative Sugar! Thanks 3M ;)
juju4 juju4 9 years
Also, I am very surprised that Citizen hasn't reported on John McCain's major flub on Tuesday (and also in an interview on Monday). From CNN: "He said several times that Iran, which is mostly a Shiite country, was training the predominantly Sunni militant group al Qaeda. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, whispered in his ear. Moments later, McCain responded, "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda." And people think that this is the candidate that will handle our war on terror the best? He is just like Bush....making up any links or connections he can think of to justify agressive actions against another country. Terrifying.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I feel like the news has become too biased. One side is going to tell me things are going great and the other side is going to say that people are dying and nothing is being accomplished. I find there are very few news sources nowadays that are reporting just the facts on what is going on in Iraq. I don't want to base my opinion on someone else's opinion without seeing the full picture.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
3M, that was one of my thoughts. No one wants to hear that things are improving. I don't know whether that's because "good news doesn't sell" or whether the news folk are mostly liberal and don't want to report anything good about the GWB administration. It's really shameful, with the increase in the number of news outlets has come a massive reduction in the quality and extent of actual news reporting. Even the cable news channels seem to run on a short cycle and include too much of what I would call "fluff". The infotainment industry is feeding us what they *think* we want. And, because that's what we're being fed, it's what we're consuming.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
"It's possible to pinpoint the exact week that the switch turned off. The war averaged 30 minutes per week of coverage last year on the three network evening newscasts up until Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. forces, testified in September about the surge's progress, according to news consultant Andrew Tyndall. In the last 15 weeks of the year, the broadcasts collectively spent four minutes per week on the war." - Isn't there a saying that goes something like Good news doesn't sell......
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I think you're right about the blackout being self-imposed by the consumer. News, especially cable news channels, are about viewership, which means they have to compete to entertain viewers and keep them watching, which is unfortunate for "real" news. I think it's important to remember that even if the media doesn't want to cover it, the war is still going on over there. What I'd like to see more of are hard facts and statistics about the money spent, the money continuing to be spent, where it's going, and how many people have been lost on both sides.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
When the war started, I saved so many newspaper articles tracking everything that went on. But then it turned into the same thing over and over. Now, I really only pay attention to the news if it's from an area where people I know are or if it's news about local soldiers. I do still like to read reports from Iraq that aren't just about the day to day news, like the Atlantic article about how the middle east will look down the line. Stuff like that still fascinates me. It's kind of like following the Israeli-Palestinian relations or the peace process in Northern Ireland. Unless something big happens it's just too exhausting!
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
Ignorance is self-imposed by the consumer.
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