Maintaining Focus on America’s Longest War

By kevin 

B&C’s Marisa Guthrie writes today about the challenge at the news networks in keeping the war in Afghanistan a top story. “For television news correspondents who have spent time in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq,” Guthrie writes, “the challenge continues to be in bringing the eight-plus-year war home in a way that is relatable to U.S. viewers, who are also still overwhelmed by aftershocks of the Great Recession.”

Diminishing resources and small staffs might also be partially to blame. Here’s an indicator of what a strange time we’re in: While CBS’ Paul Friedman, executive VP of CBS News, “praised” reporting by Terry McCarthy and Mandy Clark, he tells B&C one of the reasons CBS News has had less coverage has been…Lara Logan’s maternity leave?

Still, Friedman notes Logan’s dogged dedication to covering Iraq and Afghanistan, and can’t deny that her intensity has been missed. “I would think that the biggest factor in how much less we’ve had on the air really has to do with Lara Logan’s pregnancy than it does with anything else,” he says.

(Logan gave birth to a baby girl — her second child — in March; part of The Great CBS Baby Boom of 2010).

Meanwhile ABC’s Martha Raddatz and NBC’s Richard Engel also weighed in, pointing out that there are still many stories to cover even if they are more difficult to get on the air.

Related: Engel recently spoke to TVNewser about his trip to Somalia and reporting on a war where “the war-fronts are not in anyone place anymore.”