February 10, 2004

Television Media Watch

Remember, what seems like many moons ago, when Saddam's two sons were killed in a firefight? I then wrote about the French media's treatment of the story (they buried the story 31 minutes into their main television broadcast) in critical fashion.

Fast forward a half year or so. I'm here in London on a Tuesday night watching Fox (the "Big Show" with John Gibson?). I believe it was at least a full 35 minutes before the anchor finally turned to the mega-suicide bombing in Iraq today.

Yeah, I know no Americans died in the attack. But it's still a huge story.

We are training Iraqi police forces who are being decimated in the hundreds by now by such attacks. Baathist dead-enders, along with al-Qaeda and affiliates, are shifting from attacks on coalition forces towards a strategy of stoking a civil war by attacking Kurds, Shi'a and, of course, "collaborators" like the dozens of Iraqi police felled today (btw, crowds afterwards seemed to believe an American missile was responsible for the carnage--not, er, helping community relations).

Are we getting too obsessed with force protection and pulling back too much into our bases? And thus letting the local security forces we are training (too quickly, it would appear) get mowed down in worrisomely large number?

What does this portend for provision of a secure environment in advance of general elections or sovereignty handovers? (answer: nothing good).

Are television journalists even digging into this story? It's a big one--and merits much more attention. More, say, than Janet Jackson's breast, grainy footage of Hilton sister romps, or Martha Stewart's secretary tearing up in court. Or am I out of touch 'over here'?

P.S. Forgive me a (tangential) mini-rant. Am I the only one who finds the Fox tag "We Report, You Decide" moronic and pitiably grasping in its faux 'democratic' bent?

It reminds me a bit of literary grad students at places like Brown going on about hyper-text and being able to choose 'alternate' endings. (Dostoevsky, this isn't. A sample. Opening line: "The gigolo I hired tried to trash the apartment." Wowser! Pray tell more?!?)

So why let the text/footage dictate? Pick your own ending--so as not to be dominated by the (white, male) author/anchor.

You are in power (not ye olde canon or Shepard Smith).

Yawn.

Posted by Gregory at February 10, 2004 10:41 PM
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