All I had here was a Clear Channel owned, AM talk radio station out of Cincinnati, Ohio. They definitely backed the war against Iraq. The radio is frustrating to me, though, because I find myself wishing I could 'comment on' or moderate a caller's comment and can't do it. I basically just listen when I'm in the car on the way to or from work.
Editor and Publisher magazine has been watching a number of the larger U.S. dailies for a while, with most newspapers taking an anti-war stance editorially. As of March 17, they "found that 18 newspapers support war now while 24 want to give diplomacy more time. Seven did not editorialize on the war this week. The Boston Globe still has not made up its mind."
Unfortunately, the paper I work for is pushing for the war and supports it. Interesting conversation with the Editor about it today, though, one of the things I still enjoy about my job. But I digress.
One thing that struck me (not sure why now) was that NBC has a lot of outlets. I had a choice between NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC, each doing their own thing.
ABC dropped the ball. Not only were they one of the last TV news outlets to announce the official start of the war, I caught them once with a shot of Baghdad, obviously at night, around 11 p.m. or so EST (can't remember the exact time). In reality, the sun had already risen in Baghdad, with a few more cars driving down the street that happened to have a camera pointed at it.
That was another thing, I guess. I saw this lone car driving down some Baghdad street and wondered who it was. He was most likely watched by millions of people across the globe. I wondered about him (or her) personally. What they were thinking living there at that point in space and time? I have to imagine it would be different than the relative life of luxury I enjoy here in the U.S.
While I would say I'm probably middle-middle-class, even some of those a few tiers down from me enjoy more than some in Iraq (and countries like it) around the world. I try not to take it for granted, try not to lust after more material things.
Speaking of materialism, the commercials were noticeably absent. They're sliding back, though, at least on the networks. I saw a few flipping through the channels today, but they were for the most part still gone from the cable stations.
Fox News channel irritated me. For one thing, they run an uber ticker that takes up a third of the screen most of the time. Secondly, on that immense ticker, they kept running a line that said, "This is not the 'Shock and Awe' campaign," as if to say, don't be too disappointed, you ain't seen nothing yet. Or maybe I just read it the wrong way or the audience that usually watches Fox saw it another way.
CNN's man at the Pentagon, after listening to Ari Fleischer's one sentence announcement of the start of the 'disarmament of Iraq' was repeated as 'liberation of Iraq.' Aaron Brown back at HQ corrected him tactfully, though, and moved on.
Locally, our governor appeared on network television. He was noticeably shaking. Personally, I'm not very good at public speaking so I knew (to a point) what he was feeling. I don't know if it was the message he had to give or what, but he didn't set me at ease. His speech was almost counterproductive.
A day after the official start of the war, the cable news stations are starting to run a lot of coverage from their embedded journalists. The pictures are choppy, sometimes nearly useless in relaying information, but they're live and therefore used. Anchors from the studio talk and glance at the data coming in as reporters who travel with U.S. military forces report and try to stay objective.
Online, Drudge Report, Rense, Antiwar.com, Google News, and Debka.com are my current sources for a lot of the stories I find and read. I rarely go to just one or two sites (e.g. CNN.com or FoxNews.com) and pick them clean online. Rather, I go to sites that aggregate headlines and jump around that way.
Israel has warned a couple websites about publishing information before it was cleared with the Government. Chief Censor Rachel Dolev sent a letter to Rotter.net and Fresh.co.il. Unfortunately, neither of them have an English edition that I could find. Besides Debka (which I take with a couple grains of salt), I check out Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.
I also occasionally peruse Times of India, The News International, and many other international sites. I like to get a wide range of ideas on whatever the situation might be. I've found that the truth usually lies somewhere in between the two poles of most conflicts.
Also on the Internet, I've signed up to a couple breaking news email alert systems. I get the ABC variant at my personal address, and another at my work email account. Not being in the newsroom and hearing the constant chatter of cable news in the background, it helps to let me know if anything major happens while I work on other things.
Sometimes, though, I think they go a little overboard, announcing smaller events. Interesting to see them evolve as a source of distributing news, though. It will probably play a larger role when wireless becomes more ubiquitous.
Eventually I find myself at a site like K5, discussing and participating rather than passively receiving the news. This, perhaps, is one of the best ways to get a real handle on the pulse of the current state of the world.
I want to close with something recently written by Stephen Glover at The Spectator:
Journalists, I know, are not greatly loved. But over the next few weeks, as you peruse your morning newspaper or watch the ten o'clock news, spare a thought for the reporter who at some risk to herself or himself is bringing you the news. It is a lonely business: all you have on the other end of the line is a foreign editor who may be out to lunch, and a deputy foreign editor who is on the telephone to the correspondent in Shanghai. It is dangerous, and you never quite know where the danger is coming from. Let's hope for every conceivable reason that Saddam's forces collapse like a pack of cards, and that there is no fighting in Baghdad. But as I write the handful of brave correspondents who remain there do not know what is going to happen.
I really want this to stick to how the media is covering the war and not have it degrade into a 'the war is right/wrong' debate. I'm sure I'll have things to add in the comments below if this story floats, and I hope to be able to see how other people perceive the situation. Preemptively, thanks for your cooperation.