Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Civil War" in the news

For the record, I agree that Iraq is in a state of civil war. Actually there's nothing civil about it. But here's what I don't get. Why did NBC do all of this meta-reporting, announcing that it would refer to the conflict as a civil war in a very formal and dramatic fashion? Doing so allowed the focus of the story to become the reporting of the war, rather than the war itself. NBC is the story now, not the hundreds and hundreds of dead civilians and soldiers in Iraq. Wouldn't it have been simpler for NBC to have just used the term "civil war" in a story about Iraq, and not commented on it further? There are occasions when meta-reporting is appropriate, if bias is perceived or other factors call into question the reporting itself. But why is the decision to call a spade a spade, or a civil war a civil war, in this case, so incredibly controversial that it requires an overdramatic Matt Lauer moment?

Plus, can someone point me to an NBC story about the war in Iraq in which the term "civil war" is actually used, and isn't referring to NBC's decision to use the term "civil war?" I can't find any.