COMMENTS: NBC Downplays Its Vindication

For the third day this week, the War in Iraq was on the back burner. NBC, the network that attracted such fanfare by its decision to characterize the fighting there as a civil war, had substitute anchor Campbell Brown mention its vindication only in passing: now the Pentagon, in its official quarterly report, concurs that the "civil war" phrase is apt. Neither of NBC's rivals assigned a reporter to that Pentagon finding either. ABC did not even mention it.

Only ABC had its Capitol Hill correspondent cover the Senate debate over the Democrats' troops out plan--although CBS did air a couple of soundbites. Jake Tapper (subscription required) was bemused at why he was assigned to the story since the Democrats do not have the votes to prevail: "Is all this not just an exercise in futility?" He replied with the Democrats' rationale: "They are trying to rally the American people to pressure the President to end the war."

Only CBS filed from Iraq itself: Allen Pizzey examined the shift in alliances in al-Anbar Province in the Sunni heartland. Local Iraqi tribal chiefs have switched sides and are now being armed by US occupation forces in order to fight infiltrating foreign jihadist supporters of al-Qaeda. Pizzey inquired of Gen David Petraeus, the commander of occupation forces, whether the al-Anbar tribes might not turn those same weapons on US forces once they had disposed of the jihadist threat. Petraeus conceded "there is inherent risk."


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