Monday, May 24, 2004

What liberal media? 

Daniel Cooney and Omar Sinan of the Associated Press have written about the "dramatically higher" number of violent deaths during the first 12 months of the Iraqi occupation, versus the number of violent deaths before the war.

That, frankly, is a disgusting thing to say. I guess the hundreds of thousands of people killed under Saddam didn't count.

Here's how they start the article:

BAGHDAD -- Punctured by bullets or torn by bombs, broken bodies keep coming into Baghdad's main morgue. Some are dumped on the blood-splattered concrete floor. Others lie naked on metal gurneys in a hallway, waiting for autopsies as flies buzz in the spring heat.

Even before the spasm of bloodshed that began early last month, Iraqis were suffering a heavy toll from crime, tribal revenge killings, terrorist bombings, and fighting between coalition troops and insurgents.

An Associated Press survey of the deaths in the first 12 months of the occupation found that more than 5,000 Iraqis died violently in Baghdad and in three provinces. The toll from both criminal and political violence ran dramatically higher than the number of violent deaths before the war, according to the statistics from morgues.
Statistics from morgues. As if a human being would be taken to an Iraqi morgue after being fed through a plastic shredder or dumped into a mass grave in the desert.

To even try to imply that more Iraqis are dying now than before the war is about the sickest example of media bias that I've ever seen. It appears that shame is dead in the journalism field.

But wait, they cover their asses later on:

That doesn't mean Iraq is a more dangerous place than during Saddam Hussein's regime. At least 300,000 people were murdered by security forces and buried in mass graves during the dictator's 23-year rule, US officials say, and human rights workers put the number closer to 500,000.
How many people actually kept reading this deep into the article, instead of skimming over the first few sensationalist paragraphs and moving on to the horoscopes? In any case, Cooney's and Sinan's numbers forget the half million people who died in Saddam's war against Iran. That would put the total closer to a million. But did you notice the convenient use of the phrase, "US officials say?" In the language of the liberal media, that means "officials you shouldn't trust say..." I've got a better idea. How about "as the horrifying mass graves which are uncovered on a disturbingly regular basis prove."

They cite numbers from human rights workers, but the journalism field has a long tradition of discrediting them, too. Their ignored pleas from the scenes of countless humanitarian tragedies are evidence enough of that. If the authors actually believed the US officials and human rights workers, then they could not have written that "[t]he toll from both criminal and political violence ran dramatically higher than the number of violent deaths before the war"

It its coverage of Iraq, it's clear that the media has a dog in the fight. And it's clear which dog is theirs, and which is not.
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