Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Front page news

If you saw the Times Union today then you certainly saw that they took a page from Ted Koppel's playbook and printed the names of all 2,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed in Iraq.

It's an interesting choice. While this grim milestone took up most of the paper's front page, it was NOT the lead story on last night's NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams explained the reasons on his excellent Daily Nightly blog:

"Our 2:30 editorial meeting was just breaking up... the first participants had risen and were making their way to the door... when someone looking at a computer screen said so all could hear it, '2,000.'

We knew what that meant. After confirmed word of a soldier's death today, at roughly 3 p.m. eastern time, 2,000 American fighting men and women have now died since the invasion of Iraq. And I will say just as quickly: while we will cover this milestone, and while it is indeed a milestone, it will not be our lead story. Having met families who have lost a loved one to this effort, as I pointed out in the after-meeting just now, they would all have just cause to write me and ask why we didn't lead the broadcast with the death of their particular son or daughter, father or mother, sister or brother. As one veteran's group so effectively reinforced today, every death means the loss of someone's whole world...and no single death carries greater importance than any other -- especially in a conflict where the milestones are decided upon by the media. We will use this number as a way of looking at the status of the war effort, hearing the words of the President today, and looking perhaps at the mood of the nation."


Aaron said...

It's a interesting and difficult decision about what to do about this. The veterens group make a very good point. Every death is a tragedy. However, seeing a page and a half of names also make a very good point. Hopefully it will convince more people just how bad and wrong this war is and that it is not going away anytime soon.

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