Fungus that looks like Jesus is apparently more important than the bombing of Basra's main pipeline, or the breakdown of order in Baghdad's Sadr city, this according to the media. Even with the situation on the ground in Iraq changing on an hourly basis, one thing is clear: a major upheaval in the status-quo is currently occurring there. And if you flip on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox, do you see any coverage of the fact the Nouri al-Maliki is in a direct showdown with Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Basra, or that the so-called secure Green Zone has been attacked four times this week? No you don't. Instead you get news that there is a school bus on fire in Georgia, a girl is stuck in a well in India, and, yes, Jesus has risen in fungal form in a Florida shower.
Now it's easy and relatively cheap for the networks to report this drivel, and I'm not saying divine dirt doesn't have its place in the news, but Iraq is the most important story out there right now, with American lives, Iraq's future, and the course of regional and world history at stake. While the war drags on and the surge continues endlessly, the media coverage has disappeared, save for the right wing pundit declaring the surge a success, or word that the economy is more prominent on the voter's mind than Iraq. Quoting a recent AFP piece on the decline:
The US death toll in Iraq had just passed 4,000, but on Monday the most viewed story on Yahoo News was "Oil fluctuates as dollar, stocks rise." And the most emailed story was: "1986 message in bottle drifts 1,735 miles."
According to the same piece, "While in all of 2007 the Iraq war occupied an average 15.5 percent of the "newshole" in the media, in the last quarter it fell to nine percent, and then to just 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008..."
Is the media just lazy, disinterested, become complacent? Apathetic? I'd say just pathetic. It's an abrogation of their duty to the American people, an affront to journalism really, to on the one hand tout the importance of Iraq in this election and to the political world, but when the most important developments in months occur that could permanently reshape the reality on the ground there, it gets scant to no coverage. Just a mention here, a thirty second byte there. Barely any reports from Baghdad, no experts discussing why the potential end to the ceasefire from the Mahdi Army (which is largely accountable to the quelling of violence there) could resurrect the chaos and violence that plagued the country in the Winter of 2006. Instead, the sages of cable news tell us that Saddam Hussein had a garden and wrote poetry in prison, or that Barack Obama is related to Brad Pitt. And of course, the mildewed resurrection of messiah.
And the most frustrating part about it? The mildew doesn't even resemble Jesus.