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Fox Drops the Ball on Iraq War Coverage

Reported by Melanie - June 23, 2007 -

Guest blogged by Bill Corcoran

Fox News continues to divert their readers and viewers attention away from the war in Iraq with any number of "tabloid-type" stories. On a day when the U.S. military announced 14 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq, the three lead stories on the Fox News web site were: (1) a story about a 13-year old who had her feet severed on a Kentucky amusement park ride, (2) how the search for the missing Canton, Ohio mother was called off because of thunderstorms, and (3) how sewage spilled out of the toilets on a Continental Airlines flight. Not one mention of the 14 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq on the front page of the Fox News web site The same treatment of the deaths of the 14 U.S. soldiers was evident on all the Fox News television programs where "tabloid-type" stories took precedence over the death of 14 young Americans in Iraq.

Here is a round-up of some of the other stories out of Iraq and about the U.S. military which Fox News skipped over in place of the latest on Paris Hilton, Mike Nifong or the missing person du jour.

FOX NEWS RANKS LAST ON COVERAGE OF IRAQ WAR

The Project for Excellence in Journalism found FOX NEWS spent almost as much time on covering the Anna Nicole Smith story as they did on the Iraq War. In fact, among the three cable news stations, FOX NEWS came in dead last on Iraq War coverage.

Bill O'Reilly, host of "The Factor" on FOX NEWS, has been blowing his top saying FOX NEWS doesn't cover the daily car bombings in Iraq because they are so redundant. O'Reilly mistakenly said FOX NEWS does cover the "important" stories about the Iraq War. Apparently the deaths of 14 American troops is not an "important story" in the eyes of FOX NEWS' Bill O'Reilly.

But the Project for Excellence in Journalism found overall FOX NEWS devoted only 15 percent of their airtime to the Iraq War while MSNBC spent 31 percent on the war and CNN 25 percent.

ARMY RECRUITER GOES TO JAIL FOR SOLICITING 16-YEAR OLD

An Army recruiter told a 16-year old high school girl that he could help her get in the Army if she provided him with oral sex. Army Sgt. Robert W. Scott was ordered to jail for a year and will be on probation for five years and will have to pay a fine of $3,020 for the sex offense against the high school gir

MARINE WAR VET STRIPPED OF HONORABLE DISCHARGE FOR WAR PROTEST

Marine Corporal Adam Kokesh, an Iraq War veteran, has been stripped of his Honorable Discharge and given a General Discharge because he participated in a war protest in Washington wearing parts of his Marine uniform.

Kokesh made sure his medals and rank insignia were not on the items he wore during the protest, but a panel of Marine officers still found he was guilty of violating use of his Marine uniform when he appeared at a war protest in Washington.

So instead of being able to keep his Honorable Discharge with all the benefits accrued from eight years in the United States Marine Corps, Kokesh has now been given a General Discharge.

Kokesh may also have to pay back to the United States government the $10,000 he was given on his GI Bill to attend college.

MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM FOR WAR VETS SUCKS

Thanks to the Washington Post, a series appeared on the deplorable conditions wounded veterans face when seeking mental health help after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The gut-wrenching account was off the Fox New radar screen.

NO DROP IN VIOLENCE IN IRAQ

Three months into the new U.S. military strategy that has sent tens of thousands of additional troops into Iraq, overall levels of violence in the country have not decreased, as attacks have shifted away from Baghdad and Anbar, where American forces are concentrated, only to rise in most other provinces, according to a Pentagon report.

ARMY NEEDS MORE PSYCHIATRISTS FOR IRAQ WAR VETS

The United States Army doesn't have enough mental health workers to handle the enormous number of soldiers returning from Iraq with severe mental health problems.

The Army Times reported the Army plans to hire 200 more mental health pros to handle the avalanche of soldiers returning from Iraq with crippling mental health problems.

Surveys of troops in Iraq have shown that 15 percent to 20 percent of Army soldiers have signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which can cause flashbacks of traumatic combat experiences and other severe reactions.

About 35 percent of soldiers are seeking some kind of mental health treatment a year after returning home under a program that screens returning troops for physical and mental health.

FOX AVOIDS REPORTING MASS EXODUS OF IRAQIS

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said people fleeing from Iraq has swelled the world's refugee population for the first time in five years.

Thousands of Iraqi citizens have fled their homeland for sanctuary in other Middle East countries as the violence spiked again in Iraq with 111 people killed earlier this week , including 30 in Baghdad.

Fox News, the Bush White House cheerleader, of course skipped over the mass exodus of Iraqis from Iraq to report on "Operation Arrowhead Ripper," the latest U.S. offensive involving 10,000 U.S. troops searching for Al Qaeda in Baquba, the capital city of Diyala, Province in Iraq.

What FOX NEWS doesn't report and what is most troubling to American GIs involved in the offensive is how do they tell who is a member of Al Qaeda. It isn't like they wear uniforms or a T-shirt saying they are a member of Al Qaeda.

NO MORE FREE FOOD FOR RETURNING VETS AT AIRPORT

In still another display of just how Fox News pays scant attention to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bangor, Maine international airport has decided to ban a food giveaway to troops returning from combat overseas.

The Army Times reported for years, troops stopping for a layover at Bangor International Airport en route to or from Iraq and Afghanistan could count on being offered a chocolate brownie, whoopie pie or other homemade treat. But the free food and beverages came to a halt about a month ago after airport officials served notice to the area's volunteer Maine Troop Greeters that it was enforcing a ban against such giveaways.

DIDN'T WE TELL YOU TO STAY INSIDE?

Leaflets were dropped from American planes on the city of Baquba, Iraq telling residents to stay inside while American and Iraqi troops scour the area looking for members of Al Qaeda.

The leaflets apparently had little impact on the residents of Baquba who were seen mingling on the streets, and even some university students walking to class at the local university.

The U.S. military is fanning out all around Baquba, Iraq in hopes of containing Al Qaeda before they move to another area of Iraq and set up their death and suicide squads again.

Called "Operation Arrowhead Ripper," the latest U.S. military offense in Iraq has a compliment of 10,000 U.S. troops and Iraqi support troops searching for Al Qaeda.

But because the residents of Baquba aren't paying any attention to the leaflets dropped by American helicopters telling them to stay inside, it is becoming impossible for U.S. troops to distinguish Al Qaeda from regular Baquba citizens.