Monday, August 20, 2007

As Good News Emerges in Iraq, U.S. Media Tunes Out

After several years of nonstop coverage of any bad news in Iraq, now that things have improved on the ground, the U.S. media coverage has sharply decreased, according to a new study.

Shocking, isn't it?

U.S. media curtail Iraq war coverage: study
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. media reporting of the war in Iraq fell sharply in the second quarter of 2007, largely due to a drop in coverage of the Washington-based policy debate, a study released Monday said.

Taken together, the war's three major story lines -- the U.S. policy debate, events in Iraq and their impact on the U.S. homefront -- slipped roughly a third, to 15 percent of an index of total news coverage, down from 22 percent in the first three months of the year.

The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 18,010 stories that appeared between April 1 and June 29. Its "News Coverage Index" encompasses 48 outlets, including newspapers, radio, online, cable and network television.
Seems the media was no longer controlling the agenda, the surge was working, and the Democrats in Washington took a beating in public opinion for declaring defeat and calling for surrender.
Attention to the war dropped in all five media sectors surveyed. Network evening news, the sector that gave the war the greatest share of attention in the first quarter, scaled back more than 40 percent, from 33 percent in the first quarter to 19 percent in the second, the study showed.
In other words, they could no longer grimly intone on a nightly basis what a disaster Iraq was.
On cable television, another leader in first-quarter coverage, the slide was nearly as great, from 23 percent of news reported to 14 percent -- a drop of 39 percent, the project said.

The bulk of the fall took place after May 24, when Congress approved war funding without including troop withdrawal timetables. This was widely viewed by the media as a victory for President George W. Bush in a political battle with Congress sparked by his January 10 troop "surge" announcement.
Clearly, anything seen as a victory for the President is bad news for both the media and Democrats.

No agenda here, folks.

UPDATE: As if the sad state of affairs at the networks wasn't self-evident, NBC has decided to completely forfeit all credibility (H/T Hot Air).

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