Now the New York Times reports that the major networks have "quietly" decided to stop sending full-time reporters to Iraq. From the story:
In Baghdad, ABC, CBS and NBC still maintain skeleton bureaus in heavily fortified compounds. Correspondents rotate in and out when stories warrant, and with producers and Iraqi employees remaining in Baghdad, the networks can still react to breaking news. But employees who are familiar with the staffing pressures of the networks say the bureaus are a shadow of what they used to be. Some of the offices have only one Western staff member.As network and cable news outlets cut back in one war zone, there has been no corresponding increase in coverage of our other war zone - the one that's supposed to be the real frontline in the war on terror. Until CNN recently sent a full-time reporter to Afghanistan, no major television or cable news outlet had a full-time bureau there.
The staff cuts appear to be the latest evidence of budget pressures at the networks. And those pressures are not unique to television: many newspapers and magazines have also curtailed their presence in Baghdad. As a consequence, the war is gradually fading from television screens, newspapers and, some worry, the consciousness of the American public.