While Vietnam is remembered as the television war, Iraq has been the television-crawl war: a scrolling feed of bad-news bits, pushed to the margins by Brad and Jen, Robert Blake, Jacko and two and a half years of other anesthetizing fare. Americans could go days on end without engaging with the war, on TV or in print.
“There’s a dearth of seriousness in the coverage of news,” said veteran war correspondent Christiane Amanpour, “at a time when, in my view, it couldn’t be more serious.”
• Dead troops are invisible. The Bush administration’s ban on capturing flag-draped coffins is echoed in the press’ overall treatment of American war dead. A May 2005 survey by the Los Angeles Times found that over a six-month span, a set of leading United States newspapers and magazines ran “almost no pictures” of Americans killed in action, and they ran only 44 photos of wounded Westerners.
• Average monthly war coverage on the ABC, NBC and CBS evening newscasts, combined, has been cut in half—from 388 minutes in 2003, to 274 in 2004, to 166 in 2005.
Friday, November 25, 2005
The Invisible War
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