Monday, May 23, 2005

What's News? What's Not?

Last week all three network news operations reported on tabloid photographs released showing Saddam Hussein in his tidy-whities. NBC's Today Show seemed especially outraged, even bringing on the deposed dictator's lawyer to gripe and moan about the pictures. Big news, right?

Funny where NBC's priorities are. A couple of weeks prior to the pictures, the New York Times reported the discovery of new Saddam-era mass graves in southern Iraq, including one believed to be holding as many as 5,000 corpses. NBC didn't air that story.

Over at CBS, Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer seems to be having trouble finding the line between news and editorializing. Introducing their top story for Thursday night's broadcast, Schieffer led off with the comment, "It just keeps getting worse in Iraq." Here's the rest, courtesy of the Media Research Center and taken from a transcript of the broadcast...

[Schieffer] recited a litany of dire news which only CBS considered to be the lead story of the day: "The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?"

From Baghdad, Mark Strassmann backed up Schieffer's thesis: "Tit-for-tat terror seems to be pushing Iraq towards civil war. This man says, 'We are heading toward a catastrophe.'"

A frustrated Schieffer recalled how U.S. military leaders recently predicted that "it might be possible to start drawing down the American force there early next year sometime. Now you just hear one bad report after another. I'm beginning to wonder, 'Does anybody know what's going on there?'"
Or, for that matter, what's going on at CBS? Different anchor, same old prattle...