NBC News has decided to call the conflict in Iraq a civil war:
NEW YORK — NBC News on Monday began referring to the Iraq conflict as a civil war, adopting a phrase that President Bush and many other news organizations have avoided.
Matt Lauer said on the “Today” show that “after careful consideration, NBC News has decided that a change in terminology is warranted, that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas can now be characterized as civil war.'’ The network’s cable news outlet, MSNBC, drummed the point home repeatedly by using the phrase “Iraq: The Civil War” on the screen.
Predictably, liberal talk show hosts like Keith Olbermann are ecstatic at the newtork’s decision. “Is this the Walter Cronkite moment of the Iraq War?” wonders Olbermann on last night’s show.
Unfortunately for Olbermann and the rest, the media no longer hold the power they did in Cronkite’s era. There is not a news anchor in the biz who holds the trust of the American people the way Cronkite did, and that is probably a good thing.
That is not to say NBC’s determination to paint as bleak a picture of Iraq as it can is not damaging. I think it is. But today, unlike in Cronkite’s time, there are other media outlets to counter them.
Hotline on Call rounds up reactions here.