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Biased reporting

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2006

Thomas Sowell:

The same newspapers and television news programs that are constantly reminding us that some people under indictment "are innocent until proven guilty" are nevertheless hyping the story of American troops accused of rape in Iraq, day in and day out, even though these troops have yet to be proven guilty of anything.

We all need to understand the fraudulence of the claim that these media liberals who have been against the military for decades and who have missed no opportunity to smear the military in Iraq are now in the forefront of "honoring" our troops by rubbing our noses in their deaths, day in and day out.

Troops who have won medals for bravery in battle — including one soldier who won a Congressional Medal of Honor at the cost of his life — go unmentioned in most of the mainstream media that is focused on our troops as casualties that they can exploit.

A recent study by the Media Research Center found that the three big broadcast news networks — CBS, ABC, and NBC — ran 99 stories in 3 and 1/2 hours about the investigation of charges against Marines in the death of Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November.

These remain unproven charges in a country where people on the side of the terrorists include civilian women and children who set off bombs to kill American troops and who can set off lies to discredit those that they do not kill.

But the same networks that lavished 3 and 1/2 hours of coverage of these unproven charges gave less than one hour of coverage of all the American troops who have won medals for bravery under fire.

Every newspaper and every television commentator has a right to criticize any aspect of the war in Iraq or anywhere else. But when they claim to be reporting the news, that does not mean filtering out whatever goes against their editorial views and hyping unsubstantiated claims that discredit the troops.

Those troops deserve the presumption of innocence at least as much as anyone else.

You think Sowell exaggerates about the bias? Look at how little media coverage there was of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester. She was the first woman ever awarded the Silver Star for actual combat (previous female Silver Star recipients, in WWII, were battlefield nurses) and a genuine hero.

You’d think the gripping story of the battle, the heroism and skill of Hester and her comrades, and the historic nature of her achievement would make this a compelling "man bites dog" news story, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. As a commenter at the QandO post about Hester observed:

By the way, notice where in the WaPo the story appeared:


Now, if SGT Hester had put her panties on the head of a terrorist detainee, this would be on page A1 for the next several days. Instead, she gets A21.

Compare the number of stories, column inches, and broadcast minutes devoted to the heroic Hester with the coverage afforded to Jessica Lynch — a victim — and Lynndie England — a villain.

Google results (quotes included in search strings):

"Lynndie England" — 364,000 (plus 37,700 for the misspelling, "Lyndie England")
"Jessica Lynch" — 578,000
"Leigh Ann Hester" — 18,400

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One Response to “Biased reporting”

  1. VRB said

    Blondness and Sex sells

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