CBS Relieved It Has a Juicy Bad News Story

After months of declining violence in Iraq as a result of the troop surge, Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" jumped on news of a car bombing in the Iraqi city of Amarah as co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "There's breaking news out of Iraq this morning. Three car bombs exploded today in one of the deadliest attacks in months."

CBS Correspondent Jeff Glor reported from Baghdad and tried to frame the bombing as part of an overall violent trend in the country:

Following a recent spike in violence in Baghdad in central Iraq, this is not good news in southern Iraq...They appear to follow a ruthless pattern, allowing insurgents to inflict maximum casualties, set off one explosion, wait for people to gather, then set off another...It also comes on the heels of an uptick in violence in Baghdad, which has been surprisingly quiet in recent months. In the past week, more than 100 Iraqis have died.

As a recent Media Research Center report on Iraq coverage has shown, as violence in Iraq has gone down in recent months, media coverage has fallen just as sharply. It is interesting that as soon as there was something bad to report, CBS suddenly became interested in Iraq again. However, former co-host Hannah Storm did make reference to troop surge success during an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on October 16th, when she wondered if victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq was just "semanitcs."

Glor explained the reason for the bombing in southern Iraq this way:

Tensions right now are running very high in southern Iraq, an area rich with oil and an area dominated by Shiites, as rival militias battle for control. The reason? A power vacuum's been created because the British forces are leaving, drawing down forces, a sort of surge in reverse. In this case, this morning, the vacuum left behind is being filled with violence and innocent civilians are dying.

Well, doesn’t this "surge in reverse" prove the importance of the actual surge? It would seem to show that if U.S. forces were to pull out of an area in similar fashion, it would also leave a "power vacuum" and help the Iraqi insurgents. Oddly, Glor did not manage to point that out.

Here is a full transcript of the news brief:

RUSS MITCHELL: There's breaking news out of Iraq this morning. Three car bombs exploded today in one of the deadliest attacks in months. They went off in the southern city of Amarah. At least 38 people were killed and about a hundred injured. "Early Show" National Correspondent Jeff Glor is in Baghdad with the latest. Jeff, good morning.

JEFF GLOR: Russ, good morning to you. Following a recent spike in violence in Baghdad in central Iraq, this is not good news in southern Iraq. This deadly attack came just as the day was beginning. The series of explosions went off in Amarah, in the southern Iraqi Province of Mesan. All were car bombs, one outside a movie theater, another at a market place, a third in a parking lot. They appear to follow a ruthless pattern, allowing insurgents to inflict maximum casualties, set off one explosion, wait for people to gather, then set off another.

Tensions right now are running very high in southern Iraq, an area rich with oil and an area dominated by Shiites, as rival militias battle for control. The reason? A power vacuum's been created because the British forces are leaving, drawing down forces, a sort of surge in reverse. In this case, this morning, the vacuum left behind is being filled with violence and innocent civilians are dying. Recently, British forces did tell CBS News the situation in Mesan was, quote, "Iraqi normal." But between this and the recent assassination of two provincial governors in the south, it's not a normal anyone wants to see.

It also comes on the heels of an uptick in violence in Baghdad, which has been surprisingly quiet in recent months. In the past week, more than 100 Iraqis have died. Another big day to watch out for is when the British formally hand over the largest city in southern Iraq. That is Basra. And that should happen in a matter of days. Russ.

MITCHELL: Jeff Glor in Baghdad. Thank you very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC