The death of Anna Nicole Smith yesterday was a feeding frenzy for the national media, and coverage of the war was drowned out: NBC’s Nightly News devoted 14 seconds to Iraq compared to 3 minutes and 13 seconds to Anna Nicole. CNN referenced Anna Nicole 522% more frequently than it did Iraq. MSNBC was even worse — 708% more references to Anna Nicole than Iraq.NBC was the worst offender. After 3PM MSNBC had 170 references to Smith and 24 to Iraq; the Nightly News devoted 3 minutes and 13 seconds to Smith and 14 seconds to Iraq.
The lop-sided coverage largely ignored many key developments in Iraq, including the sixth downing of a U.S. helicopter in the past three weeks, the allegations that a deputy Iraqi health minister was aiding a Shiite militia in its attacks against U.S. troops, and the death of four Marines.