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The three major US networks spend on average 2 minutes per week covering the Iraq war, this according to the New York Times. The networks aren’t telling the public about the deaths of Iraqi civilians since the invasion (anywhere from 600,000 to 1.2 million) or about the displaced Iraqis both internally and outside the country (more than 5 Million). The Real News Network Analyst Pepe Escobar comments.

Story Transcript

PEPE ESCOBAR, ANALYST, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: Roughly two minutes of coverage per network per week. This is what the three major US networks now think the drama in Iraq is worth. This story was broken by The New York Times, quoting research carried in 2008 by TD consultant [“AN-dral-TIN-dal”]. CBS Evening News is lowest in the scale, followed by ABC World News and NBC Nightly News. Even before The New York Times’ story, CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan had told John Stewart’s Daily Show:


LARA LOGAN, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: I was asked once, “Do you feel responsible for the American public having a bad view, a negative view of the war in Iraq?” And I looked at the reporter and I said, “Tell me the last time you saw the body of a dead American soldier. What does that look like? Who in America knows what that looks like? ‘Cause I know what that looks like, and I feel responsible for the fact that no one else does.” You know? That’s what I feel responsible for, that nobody really understands. And the soldiers do feel forgotten. They do.


US networks love tornado warnings, cyclone devastation, floods, not to mention the cyclonic adventures of Britney, Paris, or Angelina. So what is so un-newsworthy about Iraq? Well, the networks are not telling Americans that more than one million Iraqis have been killed due to the 2003 US invasion, according to sources as diverse as the medical paper The Lancet,, the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, and the Web site The networks are not even discussing the different numbers of violent Iraqi deaths, which may range from 600,000 to 1.2 million. The networks are not talking about the Pentagon underreporting or not reporting Iraqi civilian deaths. As Donald Rumsfeld used to say, the Pentagon don’t do body counts. The networks are not talking about the millions of Iraqi widows of war. The networks are not talking about almost 5 million displaced Iraqis, 2.4 million inside Iraq and 2.3 million in Jordan and in Syria. And the networks are not talking—and especially not showing—US soldiers coming home in body bags. Iraq is a human disaster worse than 9/11. Iraq is a human disaster worse than Katrina. Iraq is a human disaster worse than the cyclone in Burma (Myanmar) or the earthquakes in China, for that matter. But for US networks it’s not newsworthy. Lara Logan got it right:


LOGAN: If I were to watch the news that you hear in the United States, I’d just blow my brains out, ’cause it would drive me nuts.




Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.