Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Atrocities sell newspapers - and TV time

Why are we hearing about Haditha at all? Lots of people are getting wiped out in Iraq everyday; "It's a war," they have been telling us for years. Like Rumsfeld told us, "Stuff happens."

Well, I have a couple of thoughts on that.

First of all, it is the sworn duty of corporations to deliver profits to their owners; operating big media costs big money, so big media must deliver big viewership numbers.

Most folks don't like to hear bad news, and as it tends to drive ratings down, the producers and managing editors of the MSM have been reluctant to depict the real violence in Iraq (or Afghanistan, for that matter). Who is winning or losing isn't the point; viewership is.

But every once in awhile, a big enough story breaks through the runaway bride smokescreen despite the diligent efforts of management to massage the real news; Haditha is such a case, and with the newly-installed Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, screaming bloody murder about the daily atrocities - "This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces," the prime minister said. "No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable." - (al Maliki's words), this story's surfacing was basically inevitable.

So, reluctantly, the MSM allows us to become privy to some tiny glimpse of what in actuality has been a brutal and comprehensive Nazi-like occupation of this Middle Eastern country, which never did anything to us except sit on some oil that certain parties would like to put their greedy hands on.

Having said that, not every corporate executive (or managing owner) is a complete greedhead, or unable to gauge which way the wind is blowing. Right now, the wind is definitely blowing in a donkey-wize direction.

We may in fact be seeing big media taking tentative steps toward regaining some of the trust (and viewership) that they lost to that part of Middle America which has stopped reading newspapers and made Fox News the most trusted news scource in the US (!) - always with an eye on the bottom line, of course.

Check out this Wall Street Journal piece:

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military has cut the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. checkpoints or shot by U.S. convoys to about one a week today from about seven a week in July, according to U.S. defense officials in Iraq.

The reduction in civilian casualties shows that months before the killing of 24 Iraqis in the western Iraqi town of Haditha came to light, the military was pushing to reduce the number of Iraqi civilians killed or wounded at the hands of U.S. forces. The drop since July, however, suggests that hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed at U.S. checkpoints or on Iraqi highways during the first two years of the war. (my emphasis)


Or maybe letting this particular cat (Haditha) out of the bag was an accident; oops, too late, can't bury this one, so we'll just shock the monkey until America gets bored, and then it's back to Aruba.

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