I hate it when the muezzin sounds the adhan right
when McGyver is coming on

Water, food, medical supplies?

Nah. Give ’em TV:

The Iraqi economy is flat on its back. But here on Karada Out, the bustling boulevard just across the Tigris River from Saddam Hussein’s palaces, business is booming.

Specifically, the information business. In a two-mile stretch of this thoroughfare, 53 shops are selling satellite television receivers. Close to 100 stores have television sets on display on the sidewalks, where multicolored boxes from Korean manufacturers are stacked high.

At one store, Abdullah Salama, a 35-year-old manager, watched on a recent day as eight workers unloaded 3,000 satellite dishes from an orange tractor-trailer. The load should take only a few weeks to sell, Mr. Salama said. “Some people want to see entertainment programming,” he said, “but basically they want to see the news.”

The boom is taking place despite the on-again-off-again electricity situation in many places. Iraqis say they are mainly watching the Arabic language networks like Al Jazeera, though they have mixed opinions about whether they like what they see.


One outlet that does not appear to have won over most Iraqis is the occupying powers’ own Iraqi Media Network, a $5 million-a-month effort.

Many Iraqis complain that the network’s televised programming is dull and repetitive. The network, which is managed by a Pentagon contractor, has been criticized by some of its own officials, who contend that its credibility has been hurt by meddling by occupation officials and a bare-bones budget.

Its television director, Ahmad al-Rikaby, said he quit in protest last week over the network’s limited resources. “You cannot make television if you do not spend money,” he said an interview from London.

Don North, a television producer who has just returned to the United States after serving as an adviser to the network, said he grew frustrated by orders to run programs that in his view were not sound journalism, as well as a slim budget.

“Its role was envisioned to be an information conduit, and not just rubber-stamp flacking for the C.P.A.,” Mr. North said, referring to the civilian authority.

Could be worse…they could be getting PAX.

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