My addiction to war coverage runs deep. After a long day of backbreaking academic work, it’s such a soothing release to turn on my television and let the moments of intense violence, followed by hours of talking, just wash over me. In light of this satisfaction, I felt it was fitting to deliver this, my tribute to the media’s coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, directed expressly to them. The rest of you can read it, I suppose.
First off, none of this would’ve been possible if it weren’t for your brave decision to all but ignore any view that didn’t see the war as inevitable and necessary. Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting did a study on the sorts of people you brought on your programs to discuss the war during the weeks surrounding Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N., and it’s findings just increase my admiration of your journalistic ethic.
Of the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq, 76 percent were either current or former government or military officials. Of these sources, only one, Senator Edward Kennedy, questioned what the human and monetary cost of the war would be. Overall, 68 sources represented skeptical positions on the U.S.’s war drive, whether they were the 20 Iraqi officials brought on-air or people who simply questioned the timing of the attacks.
Voices representative of the anti-war movement were nearly non-existent, thank God. Of those 393 sources mentioned above, only 3 represented anti-war activism, two of which were from overseas. Therefore, only one un-American protester made it into our living rooms at a time when 61 percent of U.S. respondents were telling pollsters that more time was needed for diplomacy and inspections. Your current approach – asking protesters on the streets their opinions of the war rather than the organizers and others with educated arguments – is ingenious.
The way you prepare us for bombings is second to none. For example, the constant questioning of why pesky Iraqi TV continued to exist. Sure, it’s against the Geneva Conventions to target civilian structures, and the International Federation of Journalists has called for an investigation as to its legality, but why let them continue broadcasting propaganda? Everyone was happy after it was rubble, like Aaron Brown of CNN, who stated that “a lot of people wondered why Iraqi TV had been allowed to stay on the air.” Aaron Brown: You may look like a dentist and you may fake emotion, but you still rock.
Not a thing gets past your steel-trap minds. When the President mentions the U.N. resolution that demanded Iraq to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction – Resolution 687 for the record – it’s great that you didn’t mention that the resolution also speaks of establishing the Middle East as free from such weapons. That included Israel’s 200-plus nukes, Syria and Egypt’s apparent chemical weapons programs and our own nuclear capabilities in the region. Definitely un-American talk right there, especially during a time of war, so it’s right to leave it out of the discussion.
The suspense you leave me in is better than the movies, might I mention. First there’s a chemical weapons plant, then there isn’t. The people of Basra wage a pro-American revolution, then they don’t. It’s great how you report these things as facts, too, without questioning your source at all. I never know what the next electrifying twist will be.
The Associated Press deserves some recognition too, notably for their coverage of protests. I love the way you give stories on the subject headlines like “Anti-War, Pro-Troops Rallies Take to Streets as War Rages” and “Protesters Rally Against War; Others Support Troops.” You make it so obvious that these leftwing nuts want to see our troops die, so I’d like to thank you for subtlety slipping that correct perspective into people’s minds.
So hats off to you, CNN, NBC, ABC and especially Fox News. Your hard-hitting, balanced coverage of the war provides me eternities of entertainment and enjoyment.
Drew Atkins is a Daily Nexus staff writer.