Sunday, May 13, 2007


3,394 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the Iraq war so far.

When soldiers die in Iraq, their stories barely garner any media coverage anymore unless the story surrounding their deaths are extraordinary

On May 7, for instance, 11 soldiers were killed in one day, and the news media - from the cable news chowderheads to all the major dailies and news organizations - barely mentioned the story. As Mike at Crest noted on that day, only the Washington Post put the story of those 11 deaths on its front page. For all the other major organizations - Reuters, the Associated Press, AFP, USA Today, the NY Times, and the LA Times - the story didn't make it into the top ten headlines. CNN and MSNBC barely mentioned the story either.

But yesterday when the American military announced that 7 U.S. soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator were attacked in Mahmoudiya and 5 had been killed while 3 were missing, the news dailies all ran the story on their front pages and the cable news chowderheads have been chattering about the "missing soldiers" like they were missing white girls in Aruba.

The allure of the story, of course, is that the missing soldiers seem to have been captured by either insurgents or terrorists and now may either show up as "propaganda tools" on video or may be tortured and killed in horrific ways that also may be released in propaganda videos.

The irony of this is that if all 8 had simply been killed in the attack, the news dailies, news organizations and cable TV networks would have basically ignored the story and continued their coverage of "extreme weather," Paris Hilton's impending imprisonment, or whatever other b.s. stories they were doing.

But because three of the soldiers (probably 2 of the Americans and the Iraqi translator) are missing and probably taken prisoner by the "bad guys" (The Islamic State in Iraq - an Al Qaeda group - is claiming it is holding the "crusaders" hostage), the cable news chowderheads can't shut up about the story and the news dailies and organizations are running it prominently.

Why is it so many in the media are covering this story of the missing soldiers for all its worth but would be yawning if the soldiers had all been killed in action instead?

I have a theory, but I'd be interested to hear what the rest of you think.

Probably because missing soldiers makes for a continuing story. It's part one of a multi-parter, and people want to know how it ends.
Kind of like a cliffhanger on Dallas.

Good theory.
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