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News Priorities Askew at Fox

Reported by Judy - November 24, 2006 -

Fox News had its priorities askew on the "Live Desk" on Friday (November 24, 2006). Its producers had a choice -- spend most of the hour on the carnage in Iraq that claimed at least 233 lives or show the outside of a newspaper building where a freelance cartoonist was holed up claiming he was the editor.

Fox News, of course, chose to give short shrift to the civil war in Iraq and went with the situation at the Miami Herald building, spending the bulk of an hour on the matter without revealing very much information.

In the course of the hour, viewers were told that the man was a former employee who was fired, that he was a former freelancer but not an employee, and that he was still a freelancer whose work had appeared in El Nuevo Herald within the last few days. Viewers also were told that the building had been evacuated and then later that it had not been evacuated.

And the audience also was treated to an interview with a Miami police department spokesman, but the spokesman couldn't hear the questions that anchor Julie Banderas was asking and when he tried to answer the questions that he thought he was hearing, his voice was muffled so that his answers were only partly understandable.

On top of that, no one was killed or injuried, there were no hostages, and no shots were even fired. And the shotgun with which the man was armed turned out to be plastic.

Yet Fox News thought that was a bigger story than 233 dead Iraqis.

Juan Cole, a scholar on the Middle East who teaches at the University of Michigan, put the Iraqi death toll in perspective in a piece on his blog, Informed Comment. Noting that Iraq is one-eleventh the size of the United States, the 233 dead is equivalent to the deaths of 2,563 Americans. The September 11 tragedy took the lives of 2,783 Americans, as well as several hundred people of other nationalities.

Doesn't the latest carnage in Iraq deserve at least as much coverage as a local police matter in one American city?