January 30, 2006

What makes them so special??

Thousands of Americans have been KILLED, as in dead, gone, deceased. Many more thousands are wounded and scarred for life, missing limbs, eyes, and other chunks of their flesh.

Dozens of journalists have been killed, injured, or kidnapped in Iraq.

So why is it that when one TV journalist connected to the networks is injured, every station, every program, falls all over themselves to give fawning, in depth coverage, to the point of reporting every move, how they were standing when they were attacked, what they were wearing, and every medical detail almost minute by minute?

Is the fact that a good looking TV reporter for a major network actually got wounded worthy of them getting essentially hundreds of times the amount of attention and focus?

Iraq is a mess. People are getting torn apart there daily. But it's almost as if wasn't real or important until it was one of their blow-dried bretheren that got caught in the cross fire.

Anyone else find this supremely galling that they are making such an enormous fuss over an ABC reporter who was severely injured while in Iraq doing the job he chose while military personel are getting killed nearly daily and aside from some sterile roll-call, it goes by practically unreported?

NOTE: Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this is unseemly. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post writes about the issue as well.


At 1/30/2006 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As sad as this is, there is not a lot of detail.... perhaps the media itself is being censured by the military? We know very little about the exact injuries or if they will even really recover 100%. Yes, they survived the surgery but are their bodies and faces whole or shattered for life??

At 1/30/2006 7:27 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Obviously you've been hanging on this story as well, or at least subjected to the wide coverage.

My first reaction to the fact that there's not more detail is, there's a hell of a lot more details than we hear about the guys and women that are getting maimed and killed daily.

I've heard plenty about their injuries and what condition they're in. Much more than I care to.

And why in the heck would the military censor information about a media guy getting injured? It's not exactly a matter of national security.

But when Joe Herrerra gets both his legs blown off and is blinded, do we get breathless coverage of his injuries. Do we hear, as you ask of this guy whether "their bodies and faces (are) whole or shattered for life."

Your comment makes my point. People are likely very concerned whether this good looking news guy's face is ok or not.

OK... fine.

But why doesn't anyone seem to give a damn if Damon Jones is blind for the rest of his days?

To be so concerned about this guy's face just seems almost obscene when compared to what our troops and Iraqi citizens have to go through on a daily basis.

As I said, no one, not even you, are biting your nails wondering if all these men, women, and children will have their "faces and bodies shattered for life."

Hell, we never even hear about it.

So again... what makes this guy so special, or should I say, more special, than any of the rest?

At 1/30/2006 9:51 AM, Blogger Dissenter said...

Though it may not seem possible, Dope, I agree with each one of your premises but respectfully disagree with your conclusion.

You argue that because the TV reporter is a member of the media, and because he is a good-looking, relatively high-profile news anchor, his story is receiving a grossly disproportionate amount of attention as compared to the stories of the thousands of brave American men and women in uniform who suffer the same or worse fate on a regular basis. I agree completely. I agree also that Bob Woodruff is no more deserving of our prayers and concerns than the nameless soldiers who each day suffer a similar travesty.

But I am not prepared to agree that this greatly expanded coverage of an every day event is wrong, simply because it is heightened as a result of the identity of the victim. The stories are bigger stories to us when they involve our own friends and neighbors. You must admit that when a Quad City resident is killed in Iraq, it is a bigger story to the local public than when someone in San Diego is killed. It shouldn't be. But it is. It is because it strikes us closer to home. It is, because it places a more familiar and closer face on the tragedy occurring in a land so far away. I suspect that this is at least some small part of the impetus for the Woodruff story. Many of us felt as though we knew him. Not unlike that of our neighbor, his is a story that strikes closer to home for many.

So notwithstanding the inconsistencies and the unfairness of which you speak, and with which I do fully agree, I still do not mind the expanded coverage. If stories like this are able to awaken more opposition to this tragic war and those who led us into it, if stories like this will re-invigorate those who were otherwise growing complacent because the victims reported did not have faces for us, then I say tell them.

At 1/30/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Point well taken. I suppose I don't have that connection, being as he was totally unknown to me (I obviously don't catch much network news)

But I still feel that there's something unseemly about trumpeting this guy's wounding as if it's huge, as if he personally would be an enormous loss to the country or something, when there's people who aren't recovering in Germany, but are stone cold dead, and were likely killed the same day these media figures were attacked.

I know it's not practical, I suppose to do in depth reporting on every soldier who is killed or mangled in Iraq. It would take too much time, sadly. But I still get the impression that as long as someone has good looks and a TV pressence, our society automatically assigns them much greater worth than anyone else, often without it being either earned or deserved.

And of course, I'm not trying to suggest that the reporter being severely wounded is any less serious than if it were a soldier.

But if I was a family member of a soldier who was injured even more severely than this reporter, I'd choke on all the coverage this story is getting and its fawning and breathless tone.

At 1/30/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Odd! The press is totalley whored itself out to the Bush administration.
Chris Matthews and other talking heads yesterday was a total lovefest for George Bush and the rape of Iraq.
But the war on Terr' has not only been good for the Carlyle Group the arms manufactureres that both the Bushes and the Binladen families have part ownership of, but also DAMN GOOD for the Republican party in general! {I know that was a run on sentance.}
This never ending war against this enemy that is ficticious at best. Were are the terrorists? Is Osama Bin Laden still alive or was already dead on Sept 11 2001?
And the press buys all the crap the right wing dishes out.
The Democratic Party needs to expand Air America Radio to television. That is the only way to reach the brainwashed masses!!!

At 1/31/2006 7:14 AM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

I agree with you Inside Dope that it is kind of strange that so much more attention is paid to the injury of one well-paid guy who went over to Iraq to stand in font a camera and talk than to all the other daily killing and maiming going on in Iraq. But I see it as one more example of how the media's priorities are slanted towards the interests and preoccupations of the well-paid urban professionals who decide what is in an important story and what is not. The media is making such a big deal about the wounding of two ABC News people because all the other media people are personally interested in things that happen to someone just like themselves. The media have much less interest in what happens to the mostly young working-class people who make up our volunteer military or to the Iraqi people.
The same dynamic is work when the media pay so much attention to the daily fluxuations of the stock market when three out of four people in this country either own no stocks at all or only own stocks as part of a retirment plan and do not make any stock buying or selling decisions.
When conservatives complain about the "liberal media" I think they are just saying that the same thing - the media people who decide what stories to cover and what aspects to focus on do not reflect my interests or values.

At 1/31/2006 10:34 AM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I did notice last night that Brian Williams on NBC specifically referenced and acknowledged the pain and worry that military families must feel, when he gave his thoughts on the ABC reporter. So, a minor exception to the rule.

Despite this, I agree with Dope that generally speaking, news outlets have underplayed military casualties and are overplaying this admittedly terrible incident.

At 1/31/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

That's a hopeful sign that at least Williams tried to offer a bit of perspective, but I'm sure it was only after they were deluged with people who felt the same as this post.

Howard Kurtz, The Washinton Post's media critic also notes the flap over what some feel to be "overcoverage" of the reporter's being injured.

I added the link at the bottom of the post.

At 1/31/2006 1:25 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Where is Ted Koppel when you need him? Let's bring him out of retirement. Remember Ted's sirring photo piece of every single serviceman/woman killed in Iraq a while back? He had trouble getting it aired, but made it and it was huge!

Of course the Bushites worried because Karl Rove remembers the old LOOK magazine front page story during Vietnam that made people see the loss of youth en mass to butchery. We need more reporters who have the guts to air the whole story and not the approved one.....

At 1/31/2006 11:34 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

It shows that the flag waving media really has contempt for the chumps wearing a uniform if they aren't part of some comfortable storyline.

At 2/01/2006 12:39 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Carl, I certainly don't think you can go as far as saying they have contempt for average G.I.s. Quite the contrary.

But this certainly reveals that they consider themselves much more important.

At 2/01/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger James Cantrell, author said...

If the media could run stories about each and every soldier killed in Iraq, they would. In fact, many local news stories do pay tribute to fallen soldiers, at the local level of course.
We live in a 24/7/365 news world. Every little thing is broadcast at some level somewhere and of course this particular story is going to make national news. It's all about ratings, and ratings come from bold headlines and big pictures.

Oh, and visit my blog... http://jamescantrell248.blogspot.com

At 2/02/2006 6:45 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Just as an educational point for those new to blogging, the above comment is what's derrogatorily known as "blogwhoring" and it's very much considered crass and bad form.

It's when people leave a comment for the purpose of trying to get traffic on their own blogs such as the unfortunate example above.

Some are worse, with no comment on the topic at all, just some non sense and a link to their blog. At least this one actually left a comment.

People could have visited his blog if they felt so inclined by clicking on his name and following the link. There's no need to "whore" his blog by including the last bit.

And be forewarned, the only links on his blog are to... get this... Martha Stewart online, The Drudge Report, and the Bureau of Land Management.

If that sounds like a hot mix to you, give him a visit.

At 2/04/2006 11:51 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Actually Dope, I think you should take the b-whore idea as a compliment. That they think a lot of people read your blog and may direct to their blog indirectly off yours is a sign of your success!


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