Media Priorities

Four U.S. national guardsmen from Indiana were killed Saturday when their vehicle struck a land mine in southeast Afghanistan. It was the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in nearly a year, and “highlighted the dangers still facing foreign and Afghan troops more than three years after the fall of the Taliban.”

Didn’t hear about any of this? Hardly a surprise. A LexisNexis search of broadcast and cable news television transcripts found only seven references to the deaths in Afghanistan — two on ABC, two on NBC, and three on CNN; the average length of the reference was thirty-two words, about 15 seconds of airtime. During the same period, LexisNexis found 159 programs featuring discussion of the Schiavo case, with most devoting an entire segment to the issue.