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July 20, 2008

MRC Study: In Iraq, Network News Reporting Falls In Exact Proportion With the Fall in Violence
More good news equals less, more negative coverage

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ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Media Research Center released today a report documenting the dramatic decrease in Iraq coverage by the NBC, ABC and CBS evening news programs this year contrasted with 2007.  The report additionally details the continued effort by the Big Three to put the war in Iraq in the most negative light possible.

Violence in Iraq has fallen dramatically.  From January 1 to July 15 2007, there were 597 U.S. deaths there; in that same period in 2008 there were but 214, a 64% decrease.  Over the same periods, coverage of Iraq by the networks on the evening news has fallen by an almost identical 65%: from 1,227 stories in 2007 to 429 in 2008. 

And yet the stories the networks do report remain exceedingly negative.  Attacks on civilians, car bombings, U.S. casualties and other bad news topics were featured in 190 of the 429 stories (44%).  Stories of U.S. achievements, the improving Iraqi military, better security and other good news totaled only 71 (17%).  (The rest were neutral, or a mix of good and bad news.)

CBS was the worst of the Big Three – with 61 negative stories compared with 16 positive (74% negative).  On May 29, David Martin looked to find the dark cloud atop the silver lining: "The troop surge in Iraq helped stem violence, but it also produced a surge in Army suicides."

NBC was only slightly less pessimistic, with 21 positive stories and 73 negative (71% negative), while ABC ran 34 positive and 56 negative (60% negative).

Last week, the respected war correspondent and author Michael Yon declared an American victory: “The Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.”

MRC President L. Brent Bozell:

“Convincing and damning evidence that when it comes to Iraq, NBC, ABC and CBS can’t report the bad news fast enough, and can’t shut up fast enough when the news becomes good.

“Perhaps Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams’ fawning pursuit of Senator Obama was good for something after all.  Now that they are in Iraq, and have right in front of them the evidence of the successes there, perhaps they will begin to report on the War in a way that reflects what is actually happening.    

“They can go a long way towards making up for this ridiculous Obama groupie trip they’re on by delivering us the tremendous good Iraqi news they have thus far held back from the American people.  I won’t be holding my breath.”


To schedule an interview with MRC President Brent Bozell or another MRC spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer (x. 126) or Colleen O’Boyle (x. 122) at (703) 683-5004.


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