CBS Producer Says NBC's 'Civil War' Pronouncement a Political Statement

November 29th, 2006 12:00 PM

The other networks are not quite ready to jump on NBC's "civil war" bandwagon. "Secretary of State Matt Lauer" (according to Howard Kurtz) and other NBC reporters have decided to declare the situation in Iraq a civil war, a move that is praised by some in the MSM and denounced by others. Reports the New York Observer:

“It was their decision to make and their process,” said Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC’s World News. “We constantly discuss editorial matters here—all the time, every day. How that decision got made there I have no idea, nor do I want to guess.”

“To be honest with you, I think it’s a political statement, not a news judgment,” said Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day, not by—never mind, I’m not gonna go there.” Then he did.

“It should be noted that the day that this pronouncement—and who makes pronouncements anyway? But that’s what it sounded like—was a quiet day, relatively speaking, in Iraq,” he said.

CNN’s official statement on the matter is: “CNN will continue to report on what is happening in Iraq on a day-to-day basis. And we will also report on the ongoing debate in academic and political circles about what constitutes a civil war.”

It perhaps goes without saying that the Fox News Channel has not leaped onto the civil-war bandwagon. Fox anchors will join most of their colleagues in television news in anticipating their own Cronkite Moments.