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Desperately Seeking Iraq War Coverage

by Cally Carswell 

Tags: Media, media criticism, Iraq, Iraq war, Iraq war coverage, war reporting, ABC, CBS, NBC, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Times,

American Soldiers in IraqHave you heard much about Iraq lately? Chances are you haven’t: Megan Garber of the Columbia Journalism Review reports that coverage of the Iraq war typically fills less than 2 percent of the news hole. That statistic alone is deplorable, but even worse, according to Garber, is the scarcity of “nuanced treatments of Iraq that would flesh out our simplistic things were bad but they’re getting better narrative into something more substantial and therefore more valuable.”

Garber describes the current attitude of the press toward the war as largely apathetic, and all too willing to report nuggets of conventional wisdom—like "the surge is working"—with little critical analysis.

Whether the quality of Iraq coverage will improve is an open question. The quantity, however, is certain to keep dwindling. ABC, CBS, and NBC have all pulled their full-time correspondents from Iraq, according to the New York Times. CNN’s former Baghdad bureau chief, Jane Arraf, told the Times, “The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations’ ability or appetite to cover it.”