Swarming with Skepticism: 'Today' Wonders "Were Iraqi Targets Hit?"

March 17th, 2006 7:44 AM

When does healthy reportorial reserve cross the line into cynicism? Today's coverage this morning of Operation Swarmer, the counter-insurgency offensive in the Samarra region of Iraq, illustrates the issue.

NBC's skepticism was as clear as the legend that appeared on-screen throughout the segment: "Were Iraqi Targets Hit?" Surely it is appropriate to ask and try to answer how effective a military operation has been. But in openly wondering whether any targets were hit, Today perhaps comes close to labelling the operation a sham.

Questions about NBC's motives were only heightened when immediately following the Samarra segment, Today ran a piece, narrated by White House antagonist-in-chief David Gregory, which posed the question: "Politics of War: Can Bush Overcome Iraq?"

Gregory asserted that "the White House is certainly looking for a way to end the president's second-term slide." He then added: "when a president has an unpopular war, until people feel better about it, they are not going to listen to him."

So, was NBC's 'subliminable' message here that Swarmer was more of a political operation than a military one, leading Today to ask whether targets were hit at all?

Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY. 'Right Angle', the TV show he hosts, was recently named 'Best of the Best' among public-access shows in his area. Contact him at: mark@gunhill.net