Thursday, March 09, 2006

The War That The Media Lost

Now remember that this is the new fact about the Iraq war. If the war is lost it will be the fault of the media. This new wingnut theory is gaining rapid ground and Donald Rumsfeld is one of its pushers:

Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon that he thought the news coverage since the February 22 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in Iraq had been filled with inaccurate information that would inflame the situation there.

He based his comments on remarks made Friday by U.S. Army Gen. George Casey, the top-ranking U.S. military official in Iraq.

"From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey," Rumsfeld said. "The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated."

Much of the sectarian violence that has followed the bombing of the Al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra has pitted Shiites vs. Sunnis.

On Friday, Casey said the military had confirmed about 30 mosque attacks and about 350 civilian deaths. CNN and other media outlets, citing local officials, have reported more than 100 mosque attacks and at least 500 deaths during the same time.

"Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side," he said. "It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq."

The number of deaths has been exaggerated. Ok. The Washington Post has an excellent article on this very topic, but given that it's part of the media it is naturally going to be biased, right? Decide for yourselves:

Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine unleashed a wave of retaliatory killings of Sunnis, the leading Shiite party in Iraq's governing coalition directed the Health Ministry to stop tabulating execution-style shootings, according to a ministry official familiar with the recording of deaths.

The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared for his safety, said a representative of the Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ordered that government hospitals and morgues catalogue deaths caused by bombings or clashes with insurgents, but not by execution-style shootings.

A statement this week by the U.N. human rights department in Baghdad appeared to support the account of the Health Ministry official. The agency said it had received information about Baghdad's main morgue -- where victims of fatal shootings are taken -- that indicated "the current acting director is under pressure by the Interior Ministry in order not to reveal such information and to minimize the number of casualties."


On Sunday, as a Washington Post reporter briefly visited the morgue office, five bodies were brought in from a town just outside Baghdad. All were neatly dressed men, all had their hands bound, and all had been shot in the back of the head. Morgue officials took the bodies to one of the refrigerated trailers. No mention of the five appeared in news reports.

This is a proper article, an actual piece of investigative reporting, and my short quote from it doesn't give it justice. It's a beauty. Do read it, and then save it as there might never be another one, once the media is made to heel the desires of the U.S. and Iraq governments. Er, I meant once the media is made to stop exaggerating the numbers of the Iraq dead, natch.