Ever find yourself barking back at the TV set?
That's been a common practice for some family members of Utah soldiers in Saudi Arabia as they've watched the around-the-clock news coverage of events in the Persian Gulf over the past few days."We know they're filling time" to be able to keep up the 24 hour coverage, said Susan Griffith, whose stepson, Bryan, is with an Army unit near the Kuwait border.
But sometimes it's hard to resist telling the news reporters what you think of their commentary when the announcing strays into outrageous speculation or redundant comments the average Joe could have thought of without risking life and limb by hanging out the window of a Baghdad hotel while cruise missiles are whizzing above the streets.
"Would you be sitting in a hotel in Baghdad if you didn't have to be there? I don't know if they could pay me enough to stay there," said Helen Lunt, whose husband is also in Saudi Arabia."I worry about some of you news guys."
Still, the comments about television coverage of the Persian Gulf events since Wednesday's attack on Baghdad are generally positive.
The heaviest television news watching took place Wednesday evening as the initial broadcasts announced the allied attack on Iraq for the first time.
"We finally conked out about 1 in the morning. Since then (the TV) is on most of the time. But I found myself yesterday just turning it off once in a while just to get a break," Griffith said.
A difficulty of the constant coverage is the continual reminder of the conflict, which can heap more stress on an already stressful situation. "It's really hard, especially when you're emotionally involved, when there's someone right there that just has it constantly battering at you," she said.
"The first day I watched it most of the evening," said a Sandy woman whose husband is with the Utah Army National Guard's 144th Evacuation Hospital in central Saudi Arabia. "I decided I can't do that any more if I'm going to carry on."
There hasn't been much word about ground forces - which is where the bulk of Utah's National Guard and Reserve troops are. Family members recognize that no news is good news, at this point, but they want to know what's happening on the ground if and when the hostilities are no longer just an air battle.
Lunt said she has heard the soldiers hear mostly the bad news - seeing clips of the anti-war protests in the United States. President Bush referred to that kind of coverage during a Friday afternoon press conference in which he assured the troops that the nation is solidly behind their efforts.