Dear CNN and MSNBC (I refuse to acknowledge Faux):
All morning there has been a countdown to a news conference on the status of the trapped miners in Utah. I feel for them and their families, I really do. But listen to me for a minute.
There has been breathless coverage of the possibility that there might, maybe, perhaps be this news conference. It never materialized. While waiting, there have been endless interviews with experts who can do no more than speculate on a horrendous event and its even more horrendous outcome.
Meanwhile, nothing else in the world has been covered. During the time that 6 men have been trapped underground, many more than 6 have been killed, maimed, injured, emotionally scarred, or worried for their lives in Iraq and elsewhere. As you, CNN and MSNBC, hyperventilate in anticipation of the worst in Utah, there are countless families who have done the same for 4 years--years, not days--because their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews are anticipating the worst in Iraq.
Why aren't they given the same coverage? Could it be that reporters over there can't so much as step outside the Green Zone to peek into the madness and carnage? Could it be that similar, empathetic, in-depth Iraq coverage won't get sponsored by Exxon and Pfizer? Could it be that the mining disaster provides some sick diversion from the perpetual bad news emanating from Bush's War?
What could draw more viewers than a good cliffhanger, right CNN? Is convincing us that we have restless leg syndrome, erectile dysfunction, and insomnia more important than insight into the rationale for war, the state of the occupation (call it that, for once, will you?), and the tragic results, MSNBC?
Well, here's a newsflash from me, free of charge: Your bottom line shouldn't take precedence over America's. Your bottom line (ratings) isn't healthy for the news industry, which in turn isn't healthy for our need to know, which in turn isn't healthy for informed voters, which in turn isn't healthy for Democracy.
And that's the way it is.