Source Is Everything

Iraq? What Iraq?

While General Petraeus is starting to lay the framework for the Administration to claim that the surge needs more time, Fox News is giving its viewers a new reality. One which creates a feeling that the Iraq War isn’t really happening.

How? They’ve stopped covering it.

According to a report by The Project for Excellence in Journalism, an organization following the coverage of issues in the American media (and who have a really cool graphic once a week showing the top 5 news stories for the week), Fox News has reduced it’s coverage of the Iraq War in the first three months of 2007.

Looking more closely at the cable universe itself—among the three channels as well as across day parts—PEJ found distinct differences between the three channels, far more than discerned between the three commercial network channels or newspapers.As an example, we found that coverage of the three biggest stories of the quarter—Iraq policy debate, the 2008 campaign and Anna Nicole Smith differed greatly across the three channels and day parts.

Overall, MSNBC and CNN were much more consumed with the war in Iraq than was Fox. MSNBC, for instance, devoted nearly a third of the time studied to the war (26% on the policy debate, 3% on events on the ground and 2% the homefront). Fox, by contrast, spent less than half that much time on the war—15% in all, (10% on the policy debate, 3% on events in Iraq and 1% on the homefront).

On CNN, Iraq coverage totaled 25%, again mostly focused on policy debate (14%). Events on the ground received 7% of the coverage (coming in second overall) while the homefront trailed at 3%.

At 15% Fox News coverage is below average for any media including print (18%) and even the Network Morning shows (also 18%). On the up side, they might have beat out Oprah.

Since Fox News is seen by a segment of American society as the balance to the rest of the fairness in media, it should come as no surprise when polls in September start pointing to a lowered interest in the Iraq policy debate in certain circles. Give the surge a chance; there is so much less bad news coming out of Iraq now. The reality hasn’t changed, the reporting has.

Now, if Rupert Murdoch could just get the Conservative Blogosphere to stop blogging about Iraq and finally swallow the WSJ with one of his multimedial pseudopods, I’m sure the Iraq Occupation will end.

At least half the American public will stop hearing about it.

(Hat Tip: Joe Gandelman/The Moderate Voice)

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