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April 24, 2014

Is Woodruff getting too much attention?

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 1st 2006 2:48PM
Is Woodruff getting too much coverage?The explosion that injured ABC's Bob Woodruff and his cameraman in Iraq was a big story. So big that it led off the nightly news broadcasts of all three networks. Not only that, but updates of their conditions have been near the top of the news every day since the attack happened.

But should it be such a big deal? Some US troops are wondering why he's getting so much attention. In this UPI article, soldiers and officers alike question the blanket coverage of Woodruff's injury when the stories of the thousands of soldiers that have been killed and injured since the Iraqi war began have rarely been acknowledged by the news media. The article goes on to mention that there have been other journalists who have gotten injured and killed without much fanfare. While the officers interviewed have sympathy for Woodruff and his family, they do think that the fact that he's a celebrity has overwhelmed the fact that he's just another war casualty.

They do have a point. I know he's a network news anchor, but we don't really need daily updates on his condition at this point. The fact that he's only been anchor ofWorld News Tonight for less than a month also doesn't justify the amount of coverage he's getting. But even if Brian Williams was the one in the hospital, for instance, no reporter should get more coverage than the war itself and soldiers that are actually fighting it.

Do you agree with this assessment? Has the coverage of Woodruff been too much, or has it been commensurate with the coverage any major news personality would get? Let me know in the comments.

[via Mediabistro]

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Katgirl

When Ted Koppel honored fallen soldiers by spending an hour showing their pictures and reading off their names, all the radical right-wingers got in a big huff and said it was wrong, and that Ted only wanted to call attention to the war dead. YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, REPUBLICANS! Do you want the media to acknowledge and honor the war dead and injured, or pretend they don't exist? Don't blame the media for not calling attention to war injuries... because when they do, the Republicans raise heck about it.

February 15 2006 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Deborah Young-Groves

I feel Mr. Woodruff has given ALL the wounded a human face. I am Canadian but follow the news intensely and never missed Peter Jennings. BUT how can I empathize with a serviceman's family when I have no family in Iraq?
NOW I CAN
Deborah

February 02 2006 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kristin

As a former reporter, I generally believe it is wrong for the media or their representatives to become the story.

If there hadn't been such a dearth of coverage of the true toll of this war (in both military and civilian casualties), and if it weren't true that more journalists have been killed covering this conflict than any other, I might agree that Woodruff's injuries are getting too much air.

However, because we have been so comfortably cushioned from the real horrors of Iraq, I think perhaps the constant coverage is a good thing. Perhaps Woodruff's injuries will force the media and the American public to pay attention to what is happening. Surely this will benefit our military folks. I would hope it would also help the innocent civilians whose lives seem to have become one long nightmare.

My disabled Air Force veteran husband agrees with me.

February 02 2006 at 4:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff

Although he is not a Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings in terms of celebrity, he is a recognized name, so its natural his story gets some coverage. It may be excessive, but I understand it. It always happens when celebrity is involved.

February 01 2006 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mandy

I think it has received too much coverage, but I do understand the fascination as I cannot remember the last time a news anchor was seriously injured covering a war.

I don't think we do a good enough job covering the deaths and injuries of our brave military members. Sometimes attempts have been thwarted, like when Nightline aired all the names of our dead soldiers and many affiliates refused to air it. I have seen reports about the severely injured, but not enough in my opinion.

Generally speaking, when I want to see news I turn to Canadian and British stations. They have much less fluff than US stations. I mean, does the number one movie in the country really deserve more air time than a war?

February 01 2006 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason C.

At the heart of it is the nature of celebrity. There are hundreds of fender-benders every day, but when Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan get into an accident, it makes the news. This is obviously not an analogous situation by any means, just an example of the amplification of any situation by celebrity. I mean, if the power of Paris can do that with a fender-bender, then a nice guy telling the news getting hit by a bomb blast making headlines is certainly sensible. (Oh crap, I used Paris Hilton as an example for something. Shoot me.)

Just like Peter Jennings' death shone a light on to lung cancer, this story could in turn shine a light towards injured and killed reporters (as CNN has covered already), and wounded soldiers with head injuries.

February 01 2006 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bgdc

John Irving wrote a book called "The Fourth Hand" and it's about a pretty-boy TV anchorman who loses his hand to a lion. Gotta say this story reminds me so much of that book.

February 01 2006 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seth

Yes Bob Woodruff's injuries are more newsworthy then a GI's because of the number of people worldwide who have an association with him.

His injuries resonate more deeply with the American people as a whole just as the death of a GI resonates much more strongly with his family then the death of Bob Woodward.

It is in no way denigrating to any given GI's injuries that Bob Woodward's injuries are more newsworthy.

Obviously the alternative is to simply never report deaths, since they are all equal and we could never report all deaths worldwide in 30 minute nightly news.

February 01 2006 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
const

It's always interesting how the left, represented by Wake Up, are so clear on what their "truth" is. Try speaking with some actual soliders before you comment.

In all the discussion about journalist casualties in Iraq, I have heard no one comment on the fact that the media's behavior increases the risk to its reporters. The goal of the terrorists in Iraq, like that of terrorists everywhere, is not to inflict casualties, but rather to frighten people by creating the impression of lawlessness and illustrate the inability of legally constituted authorities to maintain order and provide protection. The media are a vital tool in achieving this goal. If the terrorists can get more media coverage by killing or seriously injuring one reporter than by killing a division of Iraqi soldiers, guess whom they are going to target.

February 01 2006 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I have been wondering about this... a story when it happened was fine, but it continues needlessly.

Emily stated, "It is understood by those person serving in the armed forces that their career choice could cost them their life. Our country is in an armed conflict and unfortunately, our service members get hurt and killed." Does a media person working in Iraq not understand it could cost them their life?

Coverage is fine.. but it should not be the lead story, especially on OTHER networks!

February 01 2006 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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