Sunday, September 18, 2005


I just watched a repeat segment of "Life in Baghdad", a CBS 60 Minutes segment. It bothered me. Not because I don't appreciate the perspective that was presented; but because of

1. The imbalance in all of 60 Minutes reporting regarding Iraq...which is all anti-war and anti-Bush. I know, because I watch 60 Minutes pretty religiously. All of the segments on our military are drawn out in such a way as to suck the sails right out from anyone who is "pro-war".


2. Because these repeat broadcasts are "out of context", in that they are yesterday's news. If I happened to be a casual viewer, flipping through channels, I might not know that this is a repeat from a year ago.

Since I had difficulties finding the video on the 60 Minutes page (all I found was this statement: "Our West Coast viewers will also get a look at life in Baghdad, not for America's soldiers but for the citizens of that capital city"). This was hosted by Scott Pelley. I ran a google search and discovered that "Life in Baghdad" is credited to Josh Howard and Mary Murphy , two nominees for the 26th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. They also happened to be 2 of the 3 executives asked to resign after the Dan Rather Memogate scandal was broken by the Pajamahadeen Brigade. It's funny because their names were not mentioned in the closing credits for the piece; I didn't pay attention to the beginning of the segment, whether they were credited or not; nor do I remember Ed Bradley announcing the date this piece originally aired.

Ok....upon further digging, this piece was originally on 60 Minutes II. And I found this blog post, which would place the date that the segment originally aired, to be October 6, 2004...about a month before the 2004 Election. Nice timing.

And today, running that story again is like recycling old news and making it appear like current event; that the tragic life in Baghdad has not changed one iota in the past year; without any progress having been made. The segment is about "life in Baghdad"....but I think your average viewer may get the impression that it's "life in Iraq", where there is nothing but death and destruction everywhere with Iraqis completely alienated from Americans. My understanding is that the insurgency problem is concentrated mostly in 3 of the 16 provinces (it's 16 isn't it?). Of course, tragedy TV will focus on the 3.

This is similar to another story I remember them running: the one about the lack of body armor protecting our troops. I couldn't find the 60 Minutes video, but here's this on the site. At the time of the re-airing, I did not pay as close attention...just rolled my eyes and I'm not sure that I even watched the entire thing again. But I don't think they provided the viewer with an update since their story last aired; I could be mistaken and wish I knew for certain. But they certainly didn't report on this, which is another example of the bias that infests MSM. I first came across the story on one of the milblogs. Our soldiers do deserve the best equipment available, by the way, and every effort should be made to protect our military men and women.

60 Minutes wouldn't be so bad if it ran a story on something like this or this or this or this and still more this and this. Or how about this to provide a counterbalance to their "breaking" Abu Ghraib? When they only report on one side of the coin, it creates a distorted picture of what's really going on. And then they feign shock that anyone could dare accuse them and the mainstream as a whole, as being liberally biased? Puh-lease......

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Blogger John said...

Great post! I may have just stumbled onto a new memogate.

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:47:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Jay, I'm in the process of updating this post a bit, as I forgot to mention about how I had caught another segment that they repeated a while back: body armor. That one too, left one with the impression that this story was not old news; and from what I recall, there was no updated mention at the beginning of their re-broadcast of the segment.

Monday, September 19, 2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger NYgirl said...

Great job Wordsmith. Looks like CBS has yet to learn its lesson.

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

What can you say about CBS and the 60 Minutes crew?

I think 60 Minutes should apply for 527 status.

Monday, September 19, 2005 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Good examples there. There are much more good things happening in Iraq than bad things but we never hear of that.

Monday, September 19, 2005 9:35:00 PM  

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