Crusty old reporters like to complain that the Internet, Twitter, memes, GIFs, and whatever are ruining journalism and America. But when you look back at, say, the invasion of Iraq, it's hard not to think the country could have benefitted from a little mass mockery to puncture the madness. Here are seven GIFs that show the craziness that swept the country 10 years ago.
March 20, 2003, 5:33 a.m. Baghdad time: The invasion begins to "shock and awe." Cool live bombs on TV!
Geraldo Rivera, like so many reporters, was super excited to cover a real war. He got too excited, and gave away U.S. troop movements live on Fox News in late March, and was kicked out of Iraq.
The giant statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square, right next to where all the reporters were staying, was toppled on April 3, 2003. It was replayed on all the networks — on CNN every 7.5 minutes that day, as ProPublica explains, and on Fox News every 4.4 minutes.
This iconic moment gave us a sense that we'd won. We were wrong. As The New Yorker's Peter Maass explains, it was started by American troops and stage-managed.
George W. Bush landed a fighter plane on an aircraft carrier and declared Mission Accomplished on May 1, 2003.
Saddam Hussein was captured on December 13, 2003. Video of his dental exam was shown on TV.
The real story of the Iraq war had already begun. Insurgents planted IEDs because soldiers patrolled the roads. Soldiers patrolled the roads because insurgents planted IEDs.
It took us nine years to extract ourselves from the civil war we created. But for those first few months, it looked really cool on TV.