According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an independent think tank, Faux Cable News, in recent months, has devoted significantly more air time to the death of Anna Nicole Smith than any of its rivals. That's not all. Fox is also providing less coverage of the war in Iraq than its rivals. I'll quote from the story.
“Fox spent half as much time covering the Iraq war than MSNBC during the first three months of the year, and considerably less than CNN. The difference was more stark during daytime news hours than in prime-time opinion shows. The Iraq war occupied 20 percent of CNN's daytime news hole and 18 percent of MSNBC's. On Fox, the war was talked about only 6 percent of the time. Another story that has reflected poorly on the Bush administration, the controversy over U.S. attorney firings, also received more attention on MSNBC (8 percent of the newshole) and CNN (4 percent) than on Fox (2 percent), the Project for Excellence in Journalism found.
“If Fox's audience is dominated by Republicans who are disgusted about hearing bad news on Iraq, it would stand to reason that you'd want to feed them less of it. Bill O'Reilly touched upon that idea on the air one night last December, telling viewers that the lowest-rated segment of his show the previous night was when Iraq was discussed. Ratings jumped at talk about Britney Spears, he said.”
The danger is whether those concerns eat away at journalistic credibility.
On his radio show, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly derided the group behind the report as the “Project for Excellence in Left-Wing Journalism,” but then said he wouldn’t dispute their findings. He defended his lack of Iraq war coverage, stating that the only reason CNN and MSNBC “do so much Iraq reporting is because they want to embarrass the Bush administration”:
According to good 'ol Bill:
“Now the reason that CNN and MSNBC do so much Iraq reporting is because they want to embarrass the Bush administration. Both do. And all their reporting consists of is here’s another explosion. Bang. Here’s more people dead. Bang. […]
“They’re not doing it to inform anybody about anything. The terrorists are going to set off a bomb every day because they know CNN and MSNBC are going to put it on the air. That’s a strategy for the other side. The terrorist side. So I’m taking an argument that CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.
“Do you care if another bomb went off in Tikrit? Does it mean anything? No! It doesn’t mean anything.”
I guess we are not supposed to care that those explosions in Iraq have killed over 3,500 U.S. troops since 2003.
CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan who has actually spent a great deal of time in Iraq says this about covering Iraq:
“When you see an American kid get shot and friends come to his aid and risk their lives, and see how they live day after day, you realize it is very hard for people far away to understand just how great are the sacrifices being made.”
CNN International Correspondent Michael Ware who has practically lived in Iraq the last four years:
“Clearly, it’s very hard to distill into one story the reality of life on the ground. Many of the soldiers I was with recently in Ramadiyah feel that people back home are turning off to an extent. They feel they’re fighting this war in a vacuum. That’s where you see the true strength of these men. They continue to do their jobs professionally and bravely. ”
O’Reilly is a complete and utter pompous ass who constantly claims that he supports the troops. I guess for the great Bill O’Reilly, supporting the troops means ignoring their work and saying that the explosions killing them don’t “mean anything.”