The New York Times’ David Carr yesterday suggested that, given “public indifference to a war that refuses to end,” perhaps America is “at peace with being at war.”
Writes Carr: [A]s we celebrate generations of American soldiers past, the women and men who are making that sacrifice today in Iraq and Afghanistan receive less attention every day. There’s plenty of blame to go around: battle fatigue at home, failing media resolve and a government intent on controlling information from the battlefield.” And, further along: “[I]ncreasingly onerous rules of engagement for the news media and the military make it difficult for the few remaining reporters and photographers to do their job: showing soldiers doing theirs.”
Carr points to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Coverage Index, which showed that last week coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan made up just 3 percent of all American print and broadcast news (it was 25 percent last September). Meanwhile, he writes, “last year was the bloodiest in the five-year history” of the Iraq war, “and last month, 52 perished, making it the bloodiest month of the year so far.”
From The Times’ executive editor, Bill Keller: “ ‘There is a cold and sad calculation that readers/viewers aren’t that interested in the war, whether because they are preoccupied with paying $4 for a gallon of gas and avoiding foreclosure, or because they have Iraq fatigue,’ he wrote in an e-mail message, adding that The Times stays on the story as part of an implied contract with its readers.”
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.