A Lesson CBS Could Take from Katrina for Iraq News Coverage

September 1st, 2005 2:42 PM

Harry Smith, interviewing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on the Early Show today, started off by asking him where all the relief aid was, where the workers were. Smith said he was relaying this as the frequent complaint of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina that he'd been talking to. After Barbour replied that things were being tirelessly coordinated and set in order to get relief to needy residents as soon as possible, Smith prompted Barbour to give the viewers at home a glimmer of hope about the efforts underway:

Yeah, you know, I hear that loud and clear. I guess, you know, as we're out here with the people that have been directly affected by it, it's hard not to have an emotional response to the pain that they're experiencing on an ongoing basis. And I'm just feeling like maybe we're just going to be a little bit of a conduit back to you so you know what's going on down here. Is it, usually in a hurricane, after a day or two, there's a little light on the horizon, there's a little hope on the horizon, what, can you give us any good news today?

It's good and wholly appropriate for Smith to seek to present a balanced picture of the setbacks and progress of the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, if only indirectly at Barbour's prompting. Now if only Smith and his colleagues at CBS would apply that template to coverage of Iraq, and balance out their consistently bleak picture with concurrent good news.