Image courtesy: Pfc. David Hauk, U.S. Army. Kandahar, Afghanistan, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Losing focus

For several hours today, the top story on was 'Can Lindsay Lohan be saved?' The entertainment article, which has little relevance to our daily lives, has no business being the lead story on any news site, let alone FNC, which usually does a decent job distinguishing relevant information from celebrity gossip. No articles about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan appear in the top stories or latest news sections on the Fox News homepage.

If you check out the websites of the top-rated cable news network's competitors, CNN and MSNBC, it's not much better. While, has an actual news story as its lead, a report on the nation's first offshore wind farm, the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan are absent from the top stories and latest news sections. The site does have a special section on Afghanistan linked at the very bottom right of the CNN homepage. also has a news story as its lead article, about a financial reform vote in the Senate. Except for one video link to a report on an Afghan security compound attack, both wars are entirely absent from the MSNBC home page.

If I was still working at, or joined one of its competitors, I would certainly inquire about the lack of attention being paid to America's two wars this afternoon. Based on personal experiences, I would likely be told that even though hundreds of story links appear on these sites, there simply isn't room for stories that "won't generate clicks." Another excuse by some journalists who don't bother to look for compelling news from the war fronts is that "nothing is going on there right now." As the solemn news released by the Pentagon over the last seven days shows, there is a lot of news to report from the front. Voice Of America reports that 12 civilians were killed by terrorists today in Khost, while another three were murdered yesterday near Kandahar, where a planned U.S.-led offensive is taking shape.

American journalists are given extraordinary freedom to operate by the Constitution. Yet a ratings-driven, sensationalistic media routinely gives flashy celebrities like Lindsay Lohan publicity instead of humble volunteer warriors like Pfc. Matthew Wildes, who quietly put his life on the line for liberty. Perhaps some reporters and producers should take an informal field trip to the National Archives and look at the precious founding document that assigns journalists such important responsibilities. Maybe then, they'll realize how badly they are failing the Constitution and the men and women who volunteer to defend it.

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