The Iraq War, which began five years ago today, is not over, despite the fact that the news media has decided not to cover it. A recent report found that the war in Iraq made up 3 percent of total news coverage in America, during the first 10 weeks of 2008. Last year, Iraq got 23 percent of the attention during the same period. It's getting a lot of attention today, but what's with the general blackout?
Well, at first it seemed obvious that the never ending presidential campaign has crowded the airwaves. But, whenever candidates bring up Iraq, it gets ignored in favor of salacious media-made stories about race and politics, "white ethnic" voters, or Hillary's wardrobe. Hillary Clinton made a major speech on her Iraq policy on Monday, but all I saw on TV was a loop of inflammatory YouTube clips from years ago.
So, I tried to think of my own attitude toward Iraq coverage. I realized that I too suffer from Iraq fatigue. The obligatory "Iraq is bad" coverage doesn't exactly keep me from changing the channel. I can just fill in the headline: suicide bomb, surge this, insurgents that. Am I giving the government a blank check by not tuning in as much as I should?
Without a draft, so many Americans are not urgently invested in the Iraq War. News then can take on the role of entertaining, rather than informing. The media is going where the ratings, and the dollars, are — aka not Iraq.
Is the media to blame for our ignorance, or is it self-imposed by the consumer?