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October 07, 2007

Reporters: More US and Iraqi Civilian Casualties Is News. Lower Casualty Rates? Meh, not so much.

On today’s Howard Kurtz show on CNN, Robin Wright of the Washington Post and Barbara Starr of CNN defended the MSM’s decision to downplay the recent decrease in US and civilian deaths in Iraq. After Kurtz points how most media outlets (ABC World News Tonight and Lou Dobbs being the exceptions) buried the news he asks both reporters if that news should have gotten more attention.

ROBIN WRIGHT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not necessarily. The fact is we're at the beginning of a trend -- and it's not even sure that it is a trend yet. There is also an enormous dispute over how to count the numbers. There are different kinds of deaths in Iraq.

There are combat deaths. There are sectarian deaths. And there are the deaths of criminal -- from criminal acts. There are also a lot of numbers that the U.S. frankly is not counting. For example, in southern Iraq, there is Shiite upon Shiite violence, which is not sectarian in the Shiite versus Sunni. And the U.S. also doesn't have much of a capability in the south.”

KURTZ: Barbara Starr, CNN did mostly quick reads by anchors of these numbers. There was a taped report on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." Do you think this story deserved more attention? We don't know whether it is a trend or not but those are intriguing numbers.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: But that's the problem, we don't know whether it is a trend about specifically the decline in the number of U.S. troops being killed in Iraq. This is not enduring progress. This is a very positive step on that potential road to progress.

KURTZ: But let's say that the figures had shown that casualties were going up for U.S. soldiers and going up for Iraqi civilians. I think that would have made some front pages.

STARR: Oh, I think inevitably it would have. I mean, that's certainly -- that, by any definition, is news. Look, nobody more than a Pentagon correspondent would like to stop reporting the number of deaths, interviewing grieving families, talking to soldiers who have lost their arms and their legs in the war. But, is this really enduring progress?

So an increase in US and Iraqi casualties is by any definition news but a decreasing casualty rate has to be part of a trend before it gets prominent coverage.
I am sorry when did the definition of news come with the requirement that it be part of a demonstrable ‘trend’? Seems Larry Craig made a lot of ‘news’ but I am unaware of a ‘trend’ of US Senators from Idaho trolling for guys in the men’s room.

So of all the things the media covers it seems that good news from Iraq is subjected to a trend analysis. Why, one might get the idea that the media doesn’t want the American people to know about it.

Just remember they are the Deciders.

(Hot Air has the video)


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posted by DrewM. at 06:47 PM

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