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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


News Judgment

I returned from Washington Monday and spent yesterday trying to catch up with work, not to mention still working on followup activities from the demonstration, but I finally read the paper and watched TV news for the first time in nearly a week. And what was I confronted with? This incredibly important story about the release of Gen. Pervez Musharraf's memoir in which he claims that the U.S. threatened Pakistan with being "bombed back to the Stone Age" if they didn't support the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. And where did I find this story? On page one, with large headlines? No, on page 9A. Page 1 was consumed with two articles on the local mayoral election (fair enough), a major (half page) article on "high-tech spying" (related to the local HP spying case, but hardly breaking news), and a column (!) on Barry Bonds (!). The story didn't even make the section of "news briefs" highlighting important stories found inside the paper.

Today, more of the same. This article about how a "strong majority" of Iraqis don't just want the U.S. out of their country, but want them out of their country now. An article which strikes at the heart of the contention that the U.S. is "doing good" in Iraq and is there because the Iraqis want us there to make their country safe. Page 1? No, 10A, and again, not only not front-page worthy, not even worthy of the "Inside the paper" section.

Needless to say, this kind of news judgment doesn't just affect my daily newspaper. I haven't been watching much cable news, but I suspect these items have been mentioned there. But neither made the local or even national news broadcasts I've seen.

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