The Ingraham Effect? 'Today' Leads With Good News from Iraq

March 23rd, 2006 7:46 AM

Call it the Ingraham Effect. Two days after Laura Ingraham sent shockwaves through the MSM with a Today show appearance in which she charged that the media accentuate the negative in their Iraqi coverage, and just the day after a palpably stung Today responded with a segment defending its coverage, Today led its show this morning . . . with good news from Iraq.

To be sure, Today would under any circumstances have covered the rescue of three self-styled Christian peace activists. Story here. But would Today have otherwise highlighted the story of a successful coalition military operation in the way that it did? In the show's very opening, Katie dramatically intoned:

"Good morning. Breaking news: US-led forces in Iraq launch a dramatic rescue operation and free three Western hostages." In fact, the news wasn't quite breaking. It had occured many hours earlier and had been widely covered overnight.

Guest host David Gregory, who had aggressively sparred with Ingraham during her appearance, enthused:

"What good news to report this morning. Those freed hostages. Two Canadians and a British national are safe this morning four months after they were kidnapped in Iraq."

Katie then interviewed Richard Engel, the NBC reporter in Baghdad whose largely balcony-based, Green Zone coverage had sparked some of Ingraham's ire.

Engel emphasized the exultant mood: "Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams here in Baghdad told us they jumped for joy when they heard the news that three of their colleagues had been rescued."

Engel reported that the activists had been rescued this morning [Baghdad time] by coalition troops. Even when Engel struck a somber note, mentioning that one of the activists, Tom Fox, had been murdered by his captors, and that US journalist Jill Carroll still remains a hostage, Katie Couric closed with this positive take:

"Alright, Richard. Well, at least three happy endings coming out of Baghdad this morning."

Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at: