Doctors without Borders Bombing Goes Largely Unnoticed

DWBAny continued thoughts that the American press is serious about committing resources to covering American military excesses when the story is not so flattering was put the rest this week. Six days after the United States  bombed an Afghan Hospital staffed by Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) finding any mention of it in the American press other than the basic wire service type news stories is very difficult.

While the European press has been all over the story (and in fairness some left-wing European press feeds these types of stories because of the reflexive Anti-Americanism that drives the left particularly in Britain these days) the US press has been silent. Why?

The bungled wars of 2000’s and the continued American involvement in the Middle East has become so routine and in some ways so repetitive, that large-scale reporting on these matters is not demanded. The constant state of war in that region the last two US Presidents have fed, lead directly to these type of damaging and disturbing mistakes. The American public is numb to hearing horror stories from abroad. I get that, but that does not mean the media should just treat these as a passing incident and move on.

More importantly, the media outside of The New York Times, The Atlantic, and select online publications appear to  have so little desire to cover foreign affairs except from a strongly pro-American bias, that these types stories are not worthwhile to report on extensively. The insular nature of much of American society which has its way of rearing its ugly head in subtle and unexpected ways from time to time can be connected to the non-coverage of this.

In the future, cable news would be better served covering life and death scenarios like this which involve the goodness of people from western nations being caught in a war zone and possibly killed thanks to American military mistakes. The US Military has even conceded that the mistake was made entirely by American planners and not Afghan ones. The rules of engagement for a military operation were broken entirely by American forces, doctors from all over the world were killed yet the US media does nothing more than mention it briefly? Instead, cable news reports anytime certain members of congress are caught leaving the cloakroom and heading to the House floor, it seems. Or if they aren’t focused on the inside-the-beltway political parlor game, they are talking about celebrity gossip.

The failure to cover this event and then follow up on throughout the course of the week was a very telling moment for the media in the United States.


  1. Did you ever watch re-runs of Bewitched as a kid? As Samantha would say, “Weeeeelllll…”

    …it’s not a surprise that we’d screw up and bomb a DWB site, and it’s not a surprise that American press would cover it up b/c their access and *safety* in the region depends largely on their “network.” The work falls to us, in our comfy American-based blogging sites, away from the fighting, to try and make sense of things. So, THANK YOU for this! It actually capped my week of catching up to season 4 of Homeland.


  2. This post exemplifies the point I tried to make yesterday on your theory of how MSNBC’s new format will be a good thing. We don’t have news. We have stenography and headline reading. It’s sad.


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