Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Worse than eating broccoli

Today The New York Pravda's Opinion section comes out with a new Official Story on Iraq, presented in a quaint and artsy businesslike format.

You betcha it's All Good News, campers: only 500 civilians killed in 2008! Hardly anybody made homeless! We're winning one for the Gipper! Or Dear Leader, anyway!

In The New York Pravda's Business section:

Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America’s three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq.

“The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations’ ability or appetite to cover it,” said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.

Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces.

Except, of course, in Afghanistan, where about 30,000 Americans are stationed, and where until recently no American television network, broadcast or cable, maintained a full-time bureau...

“Americans like their wars movie length and with a happy ending,” Mr. Boettcher said. “If the war drags on and there is no happy ending, Americans start to squirm in their seats. In the case of television news, they began changing the channel when a story from Iraq appeared...”

Ah, the Free Market solution to justify ignoring the war: bad news doesn't sell.

That must be the reason for the coverage change, certainly not the Pentagon's control of what news stories are news.

That must be the reason for the differences in statistics.

Deaths per week:

The tally:
Deaths for 2008 to date: 8,969, not 500.

How are these numbers derived?

Iraq Body Count (IBC) records the violent civilian deaths that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention in Iraq. Its public database includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others.

IBC’s documentary evidence is drawn from crosschecked media reports of violent events leading to the death of civilians, or of bodies being found, and is supplemented by the careful review and integration of hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures.

Systematically extracted details about deadly incidents and the individuals killed in them are stored with every entry in the database. The minimum details always extracted are the number killed, where, and when.

Confusion about the numbers produced by the project can be avoided by bearing in mind that:

* IBC’s figures are not ‘estimates’ but a record of actual, documented deaths.
* IBC records solely violent deaths.
* IBC records solely civilian (strictly, ‘non-combatant’) deaths.
* IBC’s figures are constantly updated and revised as new data comes in, and frequent consultation is advised...

All this differs from the numbers in The New York Pravda, which are derived from the Pentagon, who essentially pull their numbers out of Robert Gates' ass.

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