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Preparing to hype the death toll again

Posted by Richard on December 15, 2006

Editor and Publisher is a trade publication for the newspaper industry. Describing their editorial viewpoint as liberal is something of an understatement. The other day, one of their columnists recalled "the last soldier to die for a mistake" in Vietnam and speculated about who’d be the last to die for the Iraq mistake, closing with "How many more years of torment and wasted lives remain in Iraq?"

On Tuesday, E&P provided a heads-up for journalists, basically telling them, "There’s another symbolically important milestone approaching in Iraq, so all you ink-stained wretches get ready to crank up the hype machine." Except they put it this way:

U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Hits 2,940 — Within 33 of 9/11 Total

By E&P Staff

Published: December 12, 2006 9:45 PM ET updted Wednesday

NEW YORK With five more deaths reported today, at least 2,940 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the Associated Press count. The AP count is six higher than the Defense Department’s tally, which often gets updated.

The most often cited number for those killed in America on Sept. 11, 2001, is 2,973, leaving the Iraq tally just 33 short.

At the current rate, the 9/11 number will be eclipsed within a week.

I imagine that a fair number of reporters, columnists, and editors almost immediately began work on news stories, human interest stories, analyses, and opinion pieces addressing the momentous occasion when the number of Americans killed by al Qaeda is eclipsed by the number killed because of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Halliburton/oil.

I predict that virtually none of these articles, analyses, and opinion pieces will mention how long it took for the number of combat deaths in World War II to eclipse the number killed at Pearl Harbor.

UPDATE: The toll in Iraq reached the number they were waiting for on Dec. 25. The MSM celebrated commemorated the milestone without drawing any comparisons to WWII and Pearl Harbor.

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