Monday, February 28, 2005

MSM Screw the Pooch Again

The resignation of the Syrian-backed Lebanese government didn't top the news in the US. ABC's website fronts creepy pop-mutant Michael Jackson's trial; the Lebanon story is below the fold. CBS also fronts Jacko, with the Lebanon bombshell non-prominently featured, and MSNBC also considers Michael Jackson the most earthshaking event of the day; a search for "Lebanon" on the MSNBC page doesn't even get a hit. NBC Nightly News did cover the story in their broadcast, however, they gave precedence to two other stories: reports that bin Laden has ordered al-Zarqawi to step up terror attacks, and the suicide bombing in Hillah, Iraq.

What explains the Eason Jordan-like near blackout of an event as newsworthy as the resignation of a country's entire ruling government?

Two things. First, and always foremost in the minds of mainstream media newsmakers is to avoid giving too much credit to Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular. It's getting too easy now for people to start noticing the falling dominoes in the middle east and concluding that the Bush Doctrine seems to be working. To that end, NBC made sure to load up the front end of their newscast with negative middle east stories before mentioning Lebanon.

The second reason for downplaying the story is that the MSM missed the significance of the Rafiq Hariri assassination, the catalyst for today's events. They covered it as a one-day event and failed to realize or report that it was consuming not only the Lebanese people, but the entire middle east. Having blown a story this big, giving play to the consequences of the story only emphasizes the magnitude of the MSM's mistakes.

Today's Top Story