al-Zarqawi, The Only News That’s Fit to Print

June 9, 2006

Let’s see…Iraqi terrorist Abu Masab al-Zarqawi was killed two days ago, at about 6:15 pm local time (14:15 GMT/UTC, 10:15 AM EDT), on 7 June 2006, a victim of his own fame who was also apparently ratted out by at least one al-Qaeda member, due to PR problems created by al-Zarqawi’s anti-Shia stance. Since then, there has been round the clock, wall-to-wall coverage of al-Zarqawi’s ignominious demise, including (shame on you, Anderson!) two solid hours of coverage by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on the evening of 8 June.

So, nothing else of note happened in the world yesterday? It would appear that way. Yes, al-Zarqawi’s death was notable, not so much for the passing of the person — who was really just an uncommonly persuasive criminal with great organizational skills — but more for the symbolic value of killing a high-profile al-Qaeda supporter, a high-value target, or “HVT,” as the newly coined abbreviation is called. But to obsess for the better part of two days over al-Zarqawi only adds to his fame, although infamy would perhaps be a more correct description. And here we thought coverage by journalists was supposed to be about “the news,” defined as current events of importance. Silly me. Looking on the bright side, at least al-Zarqawi’s death deflected attention from the most pressing question of the week: What does Brangelina’s new baby, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, look like?

Other recent examples of non-news: wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson’s trial. The death of Laci Peterson and the subsequent trial of Lothario Scott Peterson. We’d expect this unrealistic “spin” from commentators like Bill O’Reilly, who passes his shabby and sensationalistic O’Reilly Factor television show off as “news” when, in reality, his narcissistic, self-important and insular view of the world is low-brow editorial fluff — opining and bloviating, we believe is what he calls it. Damn. We should have watched O’Reilly and the Faux News channel, if we wanted to see what else might have happened in the intervening two days since al-Zarqawi went bye-bye.

So far, the Iraq war has cost nearly two trillion dollars, which works out at over $6,000.00 for each American.

Copyright ©2006

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