Timing Television’s Iraq

By Brian 

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“During the last year, the three major networks devoted only about half the time to combat in Iraq that they did during the previous year and a half,” today’s New York Times says, citing Andrew Tyndall.

“From March 20, 2003, to Sept. 7, 2004” — when the first thousand troops died — “the networks devoted 2,342 minutes to combat coverage on their nightly newscasts, he said. (Combat coverage, which excluded reports on rebuilding and weapons of mass destruction, accounted for 57 percent of all Iraq stories, he said.)

But from Sept. 7, 2004, through Oct. 21, 2005, a few days shy of the 2,000th death, the networks ran 1,215 minutes of combat coverage.

The 1,000 mark came after 18 months of war, while the second came after a shorter stretch of time, 13 months, accounting for some of the difference. But Mr. Tyndall said he believed the early coverage was excessive, in part because the news media — and the country — were ‘gung-ho for the invasion.'”