CBS News' #2 exec made a strange confession to Broadcasting & Cable magazine: the network isn't covering Afghanistan as much as it used to because war correspondent Lara Logan is out on maternity leave.
"I would think that the biggest factor in how much less we've had on the air really has to do with Lara Logan's pregnancy than it does with anything else," CBS News Executive VP Paul Friedman said.
Friedman's comments appeared in an article titled "The War You're Not Watching," which focused on the decline in coverage of the war in Afghanistan as news organizations shifted attention towards the oil spill. Incidentally, the article notes, this shift came as violence spiked in the country:
Coverage of the war in Afghanistan spiked in late 2009, after the disputed presidential elections there, and around the eighth anniversary of the war last October. But it has fallen off sharply this year, even as U.S. troop levels have increased and violence has peaked. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2.8% of the overall news hole has been dedicated to Afghanistan in 2010 (through June 6).
Other key quotes from the article:
"Like any story that goes on for a long time, people can just shut it off. The challenge is to make sure that you continue to tell the story and bring all the angles in." — Parisa Khosravi, CNN/Worldwide senior VP of international newsgathering
"There are a lot of stories here. I think we should cover it much more. I understand why people are tired. We're in an eight-year war and there is a major domestic story going on right now. I understand the realities of programming." — Richard Engel, NBC News' chief foreign correspondent
"When I think back on my own time covering Iraq, if you went out on a convoy, you were on the air that night. Now, you really have to drill down. And trust me, it's a challenge." — Martha Raddatz, ABC News' senior foreign affairs correspondent