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With War Now Won, Networks Leave Iraq

Buried in the back pages of the “Media & Advertising” section of the New York Times:

Richard Engel, a top correspondent for NBC, is rotating in and out of Baghdad.

TV News Winds Down Operations on Iraq War

By BRIAN STELTER
Published: December 28, 2008

Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America’s three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq.

“The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations’ ability or appetite to cover it,” said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.

Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces.

Except, of course, in Afghanistan, where about 30,000 Americans are stationed, and where until recently no American television network, broadcast or cable, maintained a full-time bureau.

At the same time that news organizations are trimming in Iraq, the television networks are trying to add newspeople in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with expectations that the Obama administration will focus on the conflict there

ABC, CBS and NBC declined to speak on the record about their news coverage decisions. But representatives for the networks emphasized that they would continue to cover the war and said the staff adjustments reflected the evolution of the conflict in Iraq from a story primarily about violence to one about reconstruction and politics.

In Baghdad, ABC, CBS and NBC still maintain skeleton bureaus in heavily fortified compounds. Correspondents rotate in and out when stories warrant, and with producers and Iraqi employees remaining in Baghdad, the networks can still react to breaking news. But employees who are familiar with the staffing pressures of the networks say the bureaus are a shadow of what they used to be. Some of the offices have only one Western staff member…

[M]any newspapers and magazines have also curtailed their presence in Baghdad. As a consequence, the war is gradually fading from television screens, newspapers and, some worry, the consciousness of the American public…

One result is that, as the war claims fewer American lives, Iraq is fading from TV screens. The three network evening newscasts devoted 423 minutes to Iraq this year as of Dec. 19, compared with 1,888 minutes in 2007, said Andrew Tyndall, a television news consultant.

In the early months of the war, television images out of Iraq were abundant. “But clearly, viewers’ appetite for stories from Iraq waned when it turned from all-out battle into something equally important but more difficult to describe and cover,” Ms. Arraf said…

CNN and the Fox News Channel, both cable news channels with 24 hours to fill, each keep one correspondent in Iraq. Among newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post continue to assign multiple reporters to the country. The Associated Press and Reuters also have significant operations in Iraq…

What a surprise.

Now that the news is good for the US (and Iraq), our watchdog media is pulling out all of its reporters.

“But clearly, viewers’ appetite for stories from Iraq waned when it turned from all-out battle into something equally important but more difficult to describe and cover…”

Sure, that must be it.

Of course this is also a handy thing to have happened in case things go south under President Obama’s merciful ministration.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 29th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “With War Now Won, Networks Leave Iraq”

  1. cjokry says:

    The msm’s best efforts to demoralize our troops out of a heroic military victory (again) just didn’t pay off this time. You’d leave too if your efforts to thwart your country’s success were that futile. The media pullout is a sure sign of our triumph.

    • sheehanjihad says:

      yep! No pulitzers for American Military successes! They dont award prizes for journalists who have positive takes on the Iraq situation….so off they go to Afghanistan, where they can report on thousands of civilian deaths, murdering American soldiers, destroyed “wedding parties” and blown up “mosques”…..then they can slather their lickspittle asses up on the stage to get the prize for their “heroic expose’s” on the “truth in the war”. Total trough feeding jerk offs.

  2. Confucius says:

    I didnt’ know eating crow was “difficult to describe and cover.” This must explain the stilted news coverage whenever a conservative wins.

  3. proreason says:

    Surely our objective media will soon be screaming about the quagmire in Afghanistan.

    No way they will give Obamy a break on that, no way.

    They are probably pow-wow’ing right now about how to make sure they apply the same hard-hitting and objective standards to Obamy that they used to bring Bush down.

    That is, after the 8 year honeymoon period is over.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Where does Michele sleep? I mean it must be awful crowded in their bed with ALL the MSM sleep overs. No chance for monkey business either!! OOOOPS…..did I say that outloud?

  5. wardmama4 says:

    The msm’s attempt to make this a Vietnam redo failed and now, as they always do and exactly why Rush calls them the ‘drive-by media’ they will slink off to soil and bemoan (for exactly the next 22 days) the horrible situation in Afghanistan – to continue to remind the stupid masses that evil bushitlerburtonco messed up the entire World with his ‘cronyism’ and catering to ‘big corp’ and CEOs while the wanna-be Master of the Universe retreads Clinton era has-beens and of course the Clintons themselves and will cut our defense forces (and their benefits) to the bone – to set up another 9-11 only this time – with The One ™ pledging to ‘get rid’ of our nukes – the US might actually be really attacked and the dead not in the thousands, but millions.

    And the moonbats, msm and rabid left will still find a way to blame Bush.


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