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Uncovering Iraq Coverage

Uncovering Iraq Coverage

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Iraq has been one of the top news stories for more than four years now. Some days, that's a major political development or massive suicide bombing... others, it's a smaller, more incremental development. But either way, it's an important story, that every media outlet struggles to cover, and keep their audience interested. Which isn't always so easy. Some people complain that coverage is biased, or focuses too much on the negative. Or, that there is too much coverage of the war. There are also those who argue the media reports on too much fluff, and not enough on the fighting and Iraq policy. The Project for Excellence in Journalism tracks all the numbers on how much the media covers Iraq, and what kind of stories they report.

The war in Iraq has dwarfed all other topics in the American news media in the early months of 2007, taking up more than three times the space devoted to the next most popular subject. But only a portion of this has focused on the state of things in Iraq itself, and even less about the plight of Iraqis and the internal affairs of their country, according to a new study of the American news media.

The majority of the war coverage, 55%, has been about the political debate back in Washington. Less than a third, 31%, has been focused on events in Iraq itself. And about half that coverage has been about American soldiers there.
In all, just one in six stories about the war has been focused on Iraqis, Iraqi casualties or the internal political affairs of their country, the report finds, while more than eight in ten have focused primarily on Americans or American policy.

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The details are all here. And we wanted to find out how major news organizations make their decisions about Iraq coverage, so we called on two decision makers... Rick Kaplan, the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, and Marjorie Miller, the Foreign Desk Editor at the Los Angeles Times will be here. What do you think the media gets right in their Iraq coverage? What could they do better? And, if you have questions for any of the guests, post them here, too...