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MRC Alert Special: 'Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of Iraq'--2/28/2008-- 
Media Research Center
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Media Research Center 
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 13:54
Subject: MRC Alert Special: 'Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of Iraq'





        ***Media Research Center CyberAlert Special***
            1:55pm EST, Thursday February 28, 2008

Media Reality Check study: "Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of 
Iraq; Networks Minimize Good News From Iraq, Don't Press Democrats on 
'Wrong-Headed' Predictions"

    Below is the text of a Media Reality Check, posted earlier today, 
recounting the results of a study conducted by Rich Noyes, the MRC's 
Research Director.

    For the HTML version online, with a chart, go to:

    For the PDF version, a formatted one-pager ready for printing, 
also with the chart:

    Now the text of the February 28 Media Reality Check study:

Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of Iraq
Networks Minimize Good News From Iraq, Don't Press Democrats on 
"Wrong-Headed" Predictions

One year ago, liberal journalists depicted the surge of U.S. troops 
to Iraq as a certain failure. "A lot of people are going to go to bed 
tonight terrified," MSNBC's Chris Matthews opined just minutes after 
President Bush announced the policy on January 10, 2007. Other 
journalists were only slightly more subtle. "Many experts warn, it's 
too little, too late," NBC's Jim Miklaszewski argued on the January 
8, 2007 Nightly News. The next morning on NBC's Today, the network's 
graphic describing Iraq was "Lost Cause?"

At the same time, leading Democrats left themselves no wiggle room as 
they, too, denounced the surge. Senator Barack Obama called it "wrong-
headed" and countered with a proposal to pull nearly all U.S. troops 
out of Iraq by March 2008. Senator Hillary Clinton came back from a 
quick trip to Iraq to declare: "I am opposed to this escalation," 
while another Democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden, blasted the 
troop surge as "a tragic mistake."

One year later, the President's surge strategy is well on its way to 
succeeding. The Iraqi parliament has passed several laws meeting 
required political reconciliation benchmarks. Attacks in Baghdad have 
fallen up to 80 percent in the past twelve months, Reuters reported 
February 16. Deaths among Iraqi military forces and civilians have 
dropped by more than two-thirds, from more than 2,000 per month in 
early 2007 to fewer than 600 per month since November.

And U.S. military deaths have also declined, falling from 126 in May 
2007 to 40 in January 2008 and just 29 so far in February, with two 
days left in the month. Yet this good news seems to have diminished 
the media elite's interest in broadcasting any news from Iraq. 

MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas helped tabulate all ABC, CBS and NBC evening 
news stories about Iraq since the beginning of 2007, just as the 
surge strategy was being implemented. After heavy coverage of the 
shift to a new Iraq policy in January and February 2007, the TV 
coverage began to closely track the rising and falling death rates 
for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. When the number of U.S. fatalities jumped 
in May, TV coverage jumped, too. When U.S. casualties began to 
steadily decline, TV coverage of Iraq dramatically decreased. 

[For more on how the broadcast networks are tuning out the Iraq war, 
see the February 4 CyberAlert: 

While the amount of coverage has shriveled, the tone remains more 
negative than positive. So far this month, the three evening 
newscasts have aired just 41 items on Iraq, most (23) just brief 
items read by the anchor. A mere seven stories were field reports 
from Iraq. Only ABC's World News (February 13) noted the passage of 
key legislation by the Iraqi parliament, followed by a unique story 
the next evening on the success of the surge. The CBS Evening News 
and NBC Nightly News offered no such stories in February, but NBC did 
find time to report a visit to Iraq by actress Angelina Jolie.

Back in December, NBC's Tim Russert conceded that the media were less 
interested in covering a successful U.S. mission in Iraq, telling 
anchor Brian Williams that "with the surge in Iraq and the level of 
American deaths declining, it is off the front pages." 

This is not neutral news judgment, but a great favor to anti-surge 
Democrats, since TV's lack of interest in Iraq spares them the chore 
of defending their now-discredited opposition to the surge. Does 
anyone think the media would have let John McCain off the hook had 
the surge failed as spectacularly as it has succeeded? -- Rich Noyes

    END of Reprint of the February 28 Media Reality Check

    For more on earlier matching coverage patterns, check the 
December 4 Media Reality Check, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War; 
MRC Study: As Surge Succeeds and Casualty Rates Fall, ABC, CBS and 
NBC Lose Interest In Iraq War." That's online at: 

- Brent Baker 


            Check Out the MRC's Blog

            The MRC's blog site, NewsBusters, "Exposing and Combating Liberal 
Media Bias," provides examples of bias 24/7. With your participation 
NewsBusters will continue to be THE blog site for tracking and correcting 
liberal media bias. Come post your comments and get fresh proof of media 
misdeeds at: http://www.newsbusters.org


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