You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool McLuhanite to recognize that media coverage is instrumental in setting the political agenda. If the media ignore an issue, then for large segments of the American it simply doesn’t exist. If the media play it up, public consciousness rises. This isn’t inevitable, but it’s a common enough phenomenon to register as a reliable generalization.
In that context, a story in this morning’s New York Times warrants serious notice. It turns out that ABC, NBC, and CBS have cut back — way back — on their coverage of Iraq. In 2007, the three networks jointly devoted 1,157 minutes of airtime to Iraq. So far this year, which is almost half over, the counterpart figure is 181 minutes. Oh, and what was that other place? I’d almost forgotten: Afghanistan. So far this year, 46 minutes of network coverage.
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