Thursday, August 21, 2008

 

Media Malfeasance (Part 5,697)

Reporters and editors of the Associated Press (AP) just can’t help themselves editorialize in “news” reports on events in Iraq.

With news of US and Iraq reaching preliminary agreement on a framework for limited, condition-based withdrawals of American forces from Iraq, the AP steps back in time to gratuitously label our efforts an “increasingly unpopular war:”
Iraq and the U.S. have reached preliminary agreement to withdraw American forces from Iraqi cities by next June, six years into the increasingly unpopular war, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Talk about stuck in the past! You have to wonder if the AP has had a template prepared, come the day when an official agreement for US forces coming out, and that the template hasn't been updated since the "unpleasant" reversal of fortunes in Iraq.

Increasingly unpopular? Maybe before th surge. Since the amazing (to critics) success of the surge, and the dramatic security turnaround in Iraq, even naysayers like the Editors at the NY Times have acknowledged our victory in Iraq. Naturally, the attendant change in public attitudes have been changing as well, with more and more Americans reporting that the effort was worth it, or that they're pleased with the results. (Not to mention, proud of our fantastic military forces!)

Subjective editorializing, matched with very selective cherry-picking of what are otherwise undisclosed details. You’d think the AP would have been satisfied with merely drenching in triumphant tone its reporting, on what Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice called “aspirational timetables” for US withdrawals.

The AP also made sure to include this characterization, with a fuzzy, negative, but ultimately unverifiable reference to Iraqi “losses,” no doubt as helpful “background” for its readers:
U.S. military forces went into in Iraq in early 2003 and overthrew President Saddam Hussein and the war is now in its sixth year. There have been more than 4,100 U.S. deaths there and countless losses among Iraqis.
There are counts of “losses” among Iraqis out there, if the AP actually had any sincere interest in honest reporting on Iraq. Some are wildly inflated and partisan, like the discredited Lancet numbers, others are no doubt incomplete.

Reports of civilian casualties notoriously cannot distinguish between non-uniformed combatants and civilians, and civilian counts too frequently involve selection bias, count manipulation, complete lack of documentation or verification, and anecdotal reporting from sources of questionable knowledge of the data reported. (If not outright dishonesty, as is likely the case with agenda-driven count teams, such as those used by Lancet “researchers.”)

Mainstream media refuses to attempt an honest or impartial accounting, making judgments on data from US military, Iraqi Government, or non-governmental organizations (NGO). Rather, they parrot obvious propaganda by enemies and opponents, data skewed by obvious conflicts of interest, or as the AP today, rely on a non-quantifiable but clearly ominous “countless losses.”

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