Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Iraq moves to the fore in news coverage

The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported today that Senator Reid’s all-nighter looks to have captured the attention of the electorate, and Iraq dominated the news for the week of July 15-20.

Although Iraq debate coverage was initially fueled by the Senate all-nighter, by the end of the last week the focus had shifted to July 19 briefings of Congress by the two leading Americans on the ground in Iraq, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The take-away moment from that exchange for the media appeared to be Crocker’s remark to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “if there is one word, I would use to sum up the atmosphere in Iraq on the streets, in the countryside, in the neighborhoods and at the national level, that word would be ‘fear.’”

Fear might have also been the operative word to describe the theme of the new National Intelligence Estimate assessing the threat posed by of Al-Qaeda six years after 9/11. In a report on PBS’s “NewsHour,” correspondent Margaret Warner summed up those findings by stating that “the terrorist network has regenerated key elements of its ability to attack the United States and is intensifying its efforts to put operatives here.”

Only on cable news did another issue dominate – cable news spent more time on the 2008 presidential races.

I think I am going to declare a temporary moratorium on beating up on Harry Reid while I see how this plays out. He might just have had a strategy tucked away in that political theatre tactic.