Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Trend-Building By NPR

I came in to the office before sunrise this morning, so the AM conservative talk station I normally listen to was overwhelmed by a mariachi station out of Mexico. "Let's hear it for the global economy," I muttered while switching to FM and NPR. They were talking about Haditha and Mahmudia.
Host: So, do your sources in the Pentagon, who you've worked with for years, feel these are just isolated cases, or something indicative of a much larger problem?

Reporter: They don't know, but they're worried. They know that to win against an insurgency, they have to have the people of Iraq on their side.
Or words to that effect. This is one of the sleaziest reporting tricks out there. Take one or two very different isolated incidents and try to create something more newsworthy out of it: Voila! A negative trend!

There are 133,000 U.S. troops in Iraq who nobly carry out hundreds upon hundreds of missions every day. Less than a dozen of these troops are being investigated for two possible crimes, and NPR is hustling to make this a dangerous trend, indicative of the bloodthirstiness of our soldiers.

The more logical question to ask was, "To what does the Pentagon credit the remarkably low number of incidents like this?"

To which the answer should have been, "Really great guys in the Service, fantastic training and leadership, and a clear sense of mission."

In my dreams.

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