West Virginia and that other place where Americans have died

What if TV news covered Iraq like it covered the Sago mine disaster?

Published January 6, 2006 1:59PM (EST)

When we turned on the television this morning, we saw another round of stories about the Sago mine disaster. It's a big, gripping news story, and we can understand why the networks have thrown so many resources at it.

That said, we couldn't help noticing something this morning. Twelve miners were killed in West Virginia this week. Eleven U.S. troops were killed in Iraq Thursday. Will we see long TV interviews with each and every one of the troops' family members? Live press conferences in which the officials responsible are grilled for answers? Touching reports on the troops' last letters home? Updates from doctors reporting on the condition of soldiers who managed to survive?

We all know who Randal McCloy is. Can anyone name a soldier who was injured in Iraq this week?

We don't mean to take anything away from the importance of what happened in West Virginia. Still, we think it's fair to ask: If the media started covering the deaths of Americans in Iraq like it covered the deaths of Americans in West Virginia, how much longer would the public tolerate the president's war?

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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