The media that gave President Bush a “free pass” to invade Iraq are now issuing another pass to the Administration. Cheerleading Team Bush’s “case” for the invasion enabled the attack on Iraq. Slashing coverage of the bloody occupation, in turn, enables the White House’s no exit strategy.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that coverage of the Iraq war has plummeted as it moves into its fifth year. Though four thousand Americans have lost their lives in Iraq, the media want to move to sexier topics such as whether disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer wears socks while in the sack with his high-priced hookers. Oh, what fun. It’s enough to turn one’s stomach.
Failure to inform Americans about the Iraq misadventure is a huge black-eye for U.S. journalism. The profession of journalism is directly responsible for falling public interest in Iraq. Only 30 percent of the public is following the occupation “very closely.” That’s because there is precious little to follow in print and TV.
Defenders of the media say news outlets have become “bored” with the stalemate on the ground in Iraq. They believe it's a bad strategy to devote journalistic assets to a quagmire.
That view is way off base and ignores the fundamental role of journalism, which is to watch the government like a hawk and critique its activities on behalf of the people.
Non-coverage plays right into the hands of the Bush Administration, which touts its “surge strategy” as a success. The surge, which pumped more than 20K troops into Iraq has restored casualty rates to the `05 level. A true measure of success in Iraq is to restore casualties to the pre-invasion level, which is zilch.
Wall-to-wall coverage of Iraq is the sole way to generate widespread public opposition to a pointless situation that is wasting American lives, treasure and reputation.