TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.


Marianne Paskowski

No ‘Shock and Awe’ Five Years Later

March 19, 2008 12:17 PM

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. TV coverage of the war then was nonstop and so were appearances from Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clark, who described it as a “shock and awe” attack.

Those of us in cable could not take our eyes off the screen, as we remembered her mostly as the former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s communications department. And there she was standing at the side of then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, explaining the role of “embedded” journalists, another contribution to the language from spin-mistress Clark.

Five years have now elapsed and the war wages on. We no longer hear about “shock and awe” or “embedded” journalists. And Clark is out of the Pentagon, having returned to the corporate world, now consulting for the nation’s largest multiple system operator, Comcast Communications.

A lot has changed in five years, with the economy, not the war, now the No. 1 issue for Americans, with the war coming in second. And that’s showing up on TV news—even today, on the five-year anniversary of a war that was supposed to be over in one year.

Today, far more airtime was devoted today to the Fed’s 75-basis-point cut in the interest rate, its bailout of Bear Sterns, the shrinking dollar and high gas prices. And that’s a mistake on the part of newsgathering organizations. After all, the price tag for this war that has killed more than 3,900 Americans is at the root of America’s economic woes.


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Comments (16)

John Creel:

I am afraid the sour status of the American economy is based on greed. Greed by those "unqualified people" looking for loans they could not afford and those banks giving loans to those who could not qualify.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi John,
I don't quite agree. The sour status of the American economy is based on an eight year run with Bush who serves only the Plutocrats.

He got us into this war and he will leave office with a huge deficit. He came into office with a surplus. The guy is an idiot, he seemed shocked today to hear that gas would cost $4.00 a gallon come summer.Duh?

Unfortunately, I would hazard to guess that those "unqualified people" looking for loans actually voted for Bush.

Thanks for your post,

Chi-town Mike:

"A lot has changed in five years, with the economy, not the war, now the No. 1 issue for Americans, with the war coming in second. And that’s showing up on TV news—even today, on the five-year anniversary of a war that was supposed to be over in one year."

Where are we now from 5 years ago? Well basically because of this war the US has signed an enormous credit card agreement with China, and as each day goes by the balance just keeps on rising.

To this day, I have yet to hear a good reason why we entered this war in the first place. When the war began, the economy wasn’t that great either. Different analysts “that supported the war” made correlations that we would come out better with a safer US and a stronger economy just like what happened after WWII.

The best argument that anyone used for going to war, was to combat terrorism. Sure we get happy when the news reports that another terrorist gets captured, but usually that’s used as a diversion instead of what’s really going on. The economy is tanking, homes are foreclosing, but we captured someone! With all the school shootings that have taken place during the same time, isn’t that terrorism as well?

A Kodak Moment:

If Bin Laden is the key to end this war, then let’s send in the real pros in to help our troops out.
The pros I’m talking about is the American Paparazzi. Seriously they have done amazing work here with virtually no laws to follow. Let’s send them oversees with no rules, and a blank check waiting for them for a photo to end this already.

We could let TMZ do the show, get the photo, and then give our troops a makeover. Camouflage is so out of style.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Chi,

Who's making money? Cronies of Chaney and the companies that won contracts to restore Iraq.


Marianne Paskowski:


Good idea, but wrong country, sent the Paparazzi to Afghanistan.

Thanks for your post,

Jeff Mulligan:


The cable industry is culpable, I'm afraid, when it comes to reporting too much of the cheerleading for the war, and too little of the common sense and analysis that, even before the war commenced five years ago, would have revealed the likelihood of the fiasco to come.

Many factors besides the war contribute to today's economic malaise. Don't pick on Torie Clark; she's a hired gun who serves her employers' interests well.



You Blondie --

It's been 'shock and awe' that the Democrats haven't gotten their act together enough to impeach the Oval Office Oaf. What the Bushies have done to America, and Iraq, is plenty shocking and awesome, alright, and not for the reasons Bushies claim. They've gone a long way to make life miserable for people in both nations as they fatten their own wallets. Too bad for them they're so stupid that their muddleheaded economic ideas and "see no evil" regulators, including Butterbrain Bernanke, are now screwing even their plutocratic buddies at Bear Stearns etc.

Cruisin not Bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

I agree with you that our news gathering organizations don't give enough airtime to the war.

The economic downfall is a tangled knot, some of it war, some of it subprime, some of it about stupid people making people decisions, like home owners. . But let's put it all out there. And not forget the war. Obama is on Larry King right now, talking about all of this. Hope folks aren't just escaping into their mindless reality TV shows.

Nice to hear from you,


Marianne Paskowski:

The Dems wouldn't impeach Bush because they would have gotten Cheney, yeah, the veep in the basement.

What does this say about the government, more concerned after 9/11 about keeping Mr. Oil Patch Cheney alive and not Bush?

Soon, more rational minds might be elected, if Americans wake up and pay attention.


Chi-town Mike:

"Who's making money? Cronies of Chaney and the companies that won contracts to restore Iraq."

LOL I thought Iraq was restored when we did the whole Saddam thing.

How about we really show Iraq no mercy. We give them one month to come up with a suitable government, otherwise we put a Walmart in there and let them run that country as well. ;-)

Big Dumb Ape:

Oh PUH-LEEZE! This has to be the most incredibly biased and ridiculously simplistic argument for why the economy is having some problems or why the war is still being fought that I've read of late. Seriously, Ms. Paskowski, how about asking some REAL questions?

First of all, blaming the war for the economic woes of the country is to turn a blind eye towards basic Economic History 101 since the most time-tested proven financial model is that wars are actually GOOD for an economy since it means a government is actually pumping money continually into manufacturing and supply sectors in the homeland TO keep the war effort going. And if you're so inclined to blame someone for the war or broadcast TV's coverage of it, where exactly is your condemnation for those who voted for it -- say someone like Hillary Clinton who was apparently too stupid or too self-absorbed in her own dreams of running for President to acually read the National Intelligence Report that preceded her actual "yes" Senate vote? At least John McCain can say he voted "yes" because he actually believed the war was the right move to make. And at least he still STANDS by his decision unlike some candidates...AHEM!

Of course, since we're talking about the economy that would be the SAME Hillary Clinton who on the campaign trail has continually portrayed herself as a friend to Labor -- the SAME Hillary who has declared she was NEVER in favor of the NAFTA Trade agreement -- the only problem being the 11 THOUSAND PAGES of Clinton Administration documents that were released this week which reveal a cold hard truth that she not only supported it 100%, but even held high level White House strategy meetings to help hubby Bill push NAFTA through Congress. But gee, funny how I don't see you...or those in the media...mentioning that a core reason for our economy going south is that we have lost literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of jobs to cheap overseas labor BECAUSE of a trade agreement that the Clinton Administration rammed through.

Not to mention where is the blame that should be placed squarely on the shoulders of ALL Americans who SAY they support American workers, the backbone of the economy, yet these same morons then turn right around and go shopping for high end IMPORTED goods (for example a Sony plasma TV) or will buy Walmart jeans, which were likewise made in a Chinese sweat shop? Gee, here's a shocking idea -- maybe the reason thousands and thousands and thousands of people are losing their jobs is because TOO MANY Americans are just NOT buying American made goods or services, and they are just TOO STUPID to understand Economics 101 and how their actions domino outwards into the economy as a whole.

Of course, then you bring up the bail out for Bear Sterns, again making it sound like it is the fault of the War or Bush when the real truth is -- Gasp! Perhaps this reality will be hard for you to accept! -- THE FAULT OF BEAR STERNS ITSELF FOR RUNNING ITS OWN BUSINESS IN SUCH A CRAPPY MANNER AND INTO THE GROUND.

I know! I know! It's really hard to put the blame for an investment firm's crash ON the actual bankers and so-called geniuses who get paid six figure salaries to make the right call, but who instead made truly BONE-HEADED decisions that drove Bear Sterns into the ground. But hey, why blame the actual people who RAN and WORKED at a company for its demise when it's soooooo much easier to blame Bush or the War? Boy, that's some twisted logic you got going there -- you're actually trying to assert that the War MADE the financial geniuses at Bear Sterns make all the wrong calls.

And frankly, as a taxpayer, that's the MOST laughable thing about the Bear Sterns saga. These same idiots who drove an entire company into bankruptcy will now get to KEEP their six figure salaries. So basically for doing a piss-poor job, they'll get rewarded when in truth Bear Sterns SHOULD have been allowed to collapse to allow the market to do what it does best in pure capitalistic terms: self-correct itself.

Look, if you disagree with the War that's one thing -- though again, I find it ironic that you're publicly griping about it at the exact same time that recent polls show the American people now think the war is actually winnable due to the Petreus surge which has undeniably reduced violence in Iraq. The bottom line: if you're against the War, then at least come up with a far more reasoned argument to tie it to Wall Street and the economy rather than a ridiculously simplistic notion that it's 5 years later and you're just not happy.

To be honest, I always wonder how people like you -- that is, people who have this pre-set timetable for how long a military engagement can be fought (regardless of ground conditions which are continually in flux) -- would have looked at D-Day in WWII and the casualties that American forces took on that fateful day in June. I'm sure people who think like you would have been screaming at the top of your lungs, "For God's sake! Did you see how many soldiers died on that beach in one day?! Fire Ike right now! He has no idea how to fight a war! And impeach Roosevelt for even THINKING we should get involved in the European arena! Let all those countries solve their own problems! Get our men out! If THIS is going to be the price we have to pay, then screw it! Europe is across the ocean. What do I care if Hitler runs it all? We'll just strike a deal with him later and everyone will go home happy."

You know, the ONE poster here who got it right was John Creel above who noted that a culture of GREED has caused our current economic woes -- and let's face facts, Ms. Paskowski: people who run up their credit cards to astronomical limits that they can't afford because they just HAVE to keep buying things as pure shopaholics to have more and more things -- rather than saving for a rainy day or making any sort of personal sacrifice -- crosses ALL political party lines. I live in California where real estate is crashing left and right, and what's killing the economy here is certainly NOT Bush or the War. It's local GREEDY venture capitalists who think a one bedroom condo should be priced anywhere from $750,000 to a cool Million so they can make a one-time instant killing, and who are then shocked to discover afterwards (as well as the banks who stupidly lent out such insane amounts of money) that the average working person (or couple) can't possibly keep up with the kind of mortgage payments that buying a freakin' million dollar condo entails.

Mr. Creel above was dead on target -- GREED got the economy in the tank. GREED for buying too much, too fast, too often, for not saving AT ALL, for not buying American goods and services (even if it meant that it cost your own neighbor his job and put him on the unemployment line), as well as GREED that caused companies -- both big and small -- to outsource jobs or downsize work pools in a quest for ever greater profits (which translated into upper management bonuses)...

...And now it's the morning after a drunken sailor's night on the town, and people are being forced to deal with head-throbbing hangovers that they brought on themselves. The War had nothing to do with it, Ms. Paskowski. Truth be told, the current Federal Deficit doesn't even crack the Top 10 WORST deficits in American history. No, simple GREED and shopaholics and corporate barons and banks that never thought twice about giving away high-end credit lines at the drop of a pin crashed this economy.

Because in the end everyone forgot the cardinal rule every kid is taught with his first piggy bank: you can't spend what you haven't saved up.

Dear Big Dumb Ape,

You might be big and maybe you're an ape but you sure aren't dumb. And man, can you write!!!

Can't say I'm coming from the same place as you, though, except on the issue of Bear Sterns and greed. On that I agree. Really. Bailing out investment bankers? That's too rich in irony. And I agree that it was our greedy little selves...self included...that got us into this mess in the first place.

Are you a McCain staffer?

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Ape,

You're reading me not entirely accurately. The war is a major but not only contributor to this country's economic wars. Republicans don't like to regulate big business, and should have looked into some of these sub prime schemes. Now the GOP is bailing them out.

You're right: war is good for the economy, the boom after WW2. But the problem with this one is that all of the contracts, largely, have been awarded to Cheney's cronies.

Although I don't agree with you on many points, thanks for taking the time to enter the discussion.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cory,

The Ape says he lives in California. Don't know him except he has his reasons to so dislike Hillary Clinton.

He didn't say anything about Obama, who thinks the war is among the major reasons the economy is in the dumps and that the politicians got us into this deficit.

Good to hear from you,

Marianne Paskowski:


The only thing I can say about Iraq is we broke it with the invasion and we're obliged to fix that infrastructure such as it was.

But five years? Even civilians who are working there are getting killed. Time to cut bait and fish.

Enjoy your snowy Easter in the Windy City.


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