Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, November 12, 2007

Terrible Deaths, Terrible Reporting

Two wrongs don't make a right, but they do make for evidence of media bias.

Wrong one: US air strikes in Afghanistan. Even though we call off, in the words of one AF officer, "thousands" of these strikes out of concern for civilian safety, civilians have been killed, resulting in a flood of news stories like this WaPo story from July:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, [Note that the story is reported from an entire country away] June 30 -- Just a week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai chastised international forces for being "careless," Afghan officials reported Saturday that possibly 100 or more civilians had been killed in a NATO and U.S.-led assault.

The battle in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, which was prompted by a Taliban ambush, began Friday night and continued into Saturday morning, Afghan officials said. It ended with international forces bombing several compounds in the remote village of Hyderabad.

More than 100 people have been killed. But they weren't Taliban. The Taliban were far away from there," said Wali Khan, a member of parliament who represents the area.
A couple paragraphs down, WaPo got around to mentioning that U.S. forces say the claims are exaggerated by "an order of magnitude," or 10 vs 100, but that's not the point. Rather, it's that when we make a mistake, it's guaranteed global critical coverage.

Now, let's look at wrong two, as evidenced by this photo from today's AP coverage and the caption:

A woman walks through a room of a house that caught fire after a roadside bomb blast in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007. A roadside bomb missed a passing U.S. military convoy in eastern Baghdad's Baladiyat district on Sunday but killed a 12-year-old girl and wounded four other Iraqis, police said.

A small tragedgy by Iraqi standards: a girl horribly killed at a wonderfully innocent time of life, four killed and families disrupted by fires. But compound it by tens of thousands (three orders of magnitude!) and you have the reality of the civilian deaths caused by the enemy in Iraq.

Of course there's a major difference between the two: We try like crazy to avoid civilian deaths, and those crazy Islamists deliberately pursue them.

Yet from the coverage, you'd think we're the bad guys.

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