The US is still engaged, supposedly, in the occupation of an unfriendly middle eastern nation, called "Iraq." We remind you of this because you won't learn about it on the television. It's expensive!
Brian Stelter reported on the lack of reporting from Iraq in today's Times. The problem? "Iraq has been, according to some executives, the most expensive war ever for TV news organizations." Because it is the deadliest country in the world for journalists, so they need massive security teams, so the networks are all cutting back on covering the country, which is ok because it's obviously much safer and more secure now, unless, apparently, you are unlucky enough to be a journalist.
So none of the networks have full-time correspondents in Iraq. NBC has a roving foreign correspondent, ABC is quietly sharing resources with the BBC, and CBS just doesn't give a shit.
Not that it's all that bad. The best work a full-time TV correspondent can do in a war zone is cut through government propaganda and expose how shitty the situation is (most wars are shitty). That job was finished about three years ago (two years too late, but still), forcing a change of strategy and hopefully slightly hastening the eventual withdrawal of most of our combat troops there. Now, of course, the networks could go ahead and waste cash on war correspondents, but why bother when nothing they file will end up in the nightly news? Unless a shoe is thrown at the president, obv. But sectarian politicking and turf battles do not good television make. The medium itself is ill-suited to intelligently covering whatever the hell the Iraq situation is.
But here is the good news! Afghanistan and Pakistan are "heating up," as they say, so they will get correspondents! In the new Barack Obama era, we are taking our eyes off the ball and giving into the terrorists in Iraq, and focusing on the intractable problems of these two other unstable nations. One of them has The Bomb!