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Iraq – Still Violent

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The New York Times gives us a brief report on the recent violence in that forgotten protectorate.  And here one might have been lulled into thinking Iraq quiet! Over the past two months, Afghanistan has seen more than 4 times the coverage of Iraq; the rise in coverage coinciding, of course, with President Obama’s increased focus on Afghanistan to the exclusion of Iraq, a country he now hardly deigns to mention.

Here is an article from Foreign Policy magazine analyzing this trend. Adjoining it, one can find an illustrative chart by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which I have reproduced below.

Pew chart

Via the Pew Research Center

Here one can see coverage of Iraq drop off steeply around the election, only to recover once, briefly in March, and then not again. Meanwhile the focus upon Afghanistan snakes steadily upward to today, where it outpaces Iraq coverage by a ratio of 4:1. But if our media remains silent on that country, it is not for lack of things to talk about. Rather it is for want of reporters to see those things.

Sherry Ricchiardi, in the current issue of American Journalism Review, analyzes the situation with remarkable clarity. In her report she finds a continual shutting-down of Iraqi bureaus to make room for stepped-up coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan (the so-called “Af-Pak” beat). For example:

In May, the Associated Press appointed Baghdad Bureau Chief Robert Reid to a new position, overseeing the AP’s coverage in Pakistan and Afghanistan from a base in Kabul. Last August, in a shuffle of personnel, Chris Brummitt, a veteran from the AP’s Jakarta operation, was named bureau chief in Islamabad, where the AP long has had a strong presence.

As Bruce Wallace of the Tribune Co. frames it:

“The assumption has been that to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan you have to draw down in Iraq, but Americans still are there. We can’t wish it away.”

However it looks as though that’s precisely what the US media is doing to Iraq. The Tribune still keeps a Baghdad bureau, but the number of outfits who still contribute fresh reporting from Iraq are dwindling by the day. Once the last one leaves we shall truly find ourselves fighting in the dark.

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Written by pavanvan

October 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

One Response

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  1. […] steadily upward to today, where it outpaces Iraq coverage by a ratio of 4:1… source: Iraq – Still Violent, The Reasoned […]


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