WASHINGTON, D.C. — After over two years and tens of thousands of deaths, executives in the American news media have acknowledged they “gave serious thought to” covering the ongoing battles of the Syrian civil war. “On the surface, this story seems to have all the elements we look for in a newscast,” said Davis Rhodes, president of CBS News. “There are all kinds of explosions and shit, which is pure TV gold in the U.S. Plus, there’s a great villain in (Syria’s President) Assad. He has massacred his own people in a psychopathic power-grab, and when you have some crazy fucker like that as a rallying point, the narrative pretty much markets itself.
“But the timing for this story was just wrong for American news organizations. Hostilities broke out in March of 2011 when all of us were gearing up for the presidential election. By June that year the GOP primary race was in full swing, and if you weren’t in Iowa to get a picture of Michele Bachmann shoving a corndog into her mouth, you were pretty much finished. These days with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the rest of it, you can’t afford to fall behind.
“Once the election was over we did have a few interns look into Syria, but it was just too late for us to get on board. It turns out that it’s pretty complicated, and we couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Now the Israelis are in there bombing, but they say they’re not bombing against Assad, but only against weapons headed for Hezbollah, whatever that is. I mean, if anyone can sort it out for us we’re willing to listen, but it’s starting to sound like a lot of work, so we’re making no promises.
“Did you know that there are about 70,000 documented deaths in this war, plus almost 3 million refugees?” Rhodes added. “Holy shit. I mean, seriously, holy living shit! We could have really boosted our ratings on this. But if you can get the same ratings by covering gay-marriage protests here, it keeps your overhead down. It costs a fortune to send reporters overseas. Plus the names there are too hard to pronounce. In the end, it just doesn’t pay.”