And now the most engrossing two minutes in television, the latest from the war-time grapevine:
Bin Working Together?
Embedded correspondent Gethin Chamberlain of The Scotsman newspaper reports captured Iraqi soldiers have told British forces that Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorists are working with Saddam forces near Basrah. The Iraqi prisoners have reportedly told British Interrogators that at least a dozen Al Qaeda members in the town of Az Zubayr have been planning grenade and gun attacks on coalition positions. If found, these Al Qaeda operatives would provide the first concrete proof of a connection between Usama's terrorist network and the brutal Iraqi regime.
A Problem, Are You Positive?
The BBC, under criticism from its own defense correspondent for negative coverage of the Iraq war, is now admitting there is a problem. But the problem BBC management found is that the coverage has been too positive. BBC News Deputy Director Mark Damazer says the network has made what he called daily mistakes in its coverage. But all but one of the examples he cites were reports of coalition successes, such as the fall of Umm Qasr, that turned out to be premature. He was particularly critical of the use of the word "liberated" to describe places the coalition had taken. He did say it was "not good" to say that the death of two British soldiers was the "worst possible news for the armed forces."
Speaking of war coverage, viewership may be up, but it's making a lot of people feel down. A FOX News Opinion Dynamics poll out today shows that 92 percent of the public say they are closely following the military action in Iraq, with nearly two-thids of the public watching or listening to at least two hours of coverage a day. But, according to a new Pew Research poll, 58 percent of Americans are frightened by what they are seeing from the war, up from 45 percent last week. And for 42 percent of Americans, the war coverage actually tires them out, up from 33 percent last week. These feelings seem especially intense in the San Francisco Bay area, where 62-year-old Deborah Dashow Ruth, who says she has developed a case of shingles since the war started, told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Just as Iraq was invaded by the viral Republican administration, I have been invaded by these viral Republican conditions."
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is now rethinking his controversial comments in which, two days before the first strike of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said President Bush "failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war." Daschle acknowledged yesterday, "My timing wasn't the best." But Daschle has yet to explain how diplomacy aimed at getting additional support for military action would have had the result of averting military action.