Different Tactics

? All too often slow to report the changes in tactics on the ground, the BBC has a curious way of headlining a reduction in the number of attacks on US soldiers -attacks often given a headline place over the recent weeks. It’s not that I think the picture should be rosy-tinted- the reality is still ugly. I just wish for a little rationale in their reporting that isn’t weirdly skewed and mistrustful of both reader and military sources. CNN has not been gung-ho, but at least this represents a fair hearing for the US Army news, within the context that suits it, of tragic continuing military deaths. To contextualise it within a story about a rise in Iraqi deaths is to elide two stories to the detriment of both- in fact, despite statements (often quotes) which appear intended to lead you there, it’s to miss the twist that the story of post-Saddam Iraq is taking. Bad news (higher casualties) is bad news. Good news (lower casualties) is good news. After reporting them both separately because to do otherwise does justice to neither, comment. Simple, right? Maybe if they hadn’t elided Iraqi deaths with a US attack reduction, they could have referred to this (via Healing Iraq)

Of course, while very relevant to the Beeb headline, the Talabani article could be quizzed and I would have no objection- but I do want to hear it.

I relished hearing from CNN the direct comments of the Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt. I can judge them for what they are- upbeat military remarks by a man eager to do a job yet who cannot ignore reality for long and get away with it. With the BBC what we get are the comments of the more obviously political figures like Bremer, and one of those typically troublous soundbytes from Abizaid that, while ok to hear, probably requires setting in a context that he would acknowledge as a necessary one given the chance. (via Instapundit)

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3 Responses to Different Tactics

  1. David says:

    Note the use of the word “but” rather than “as” in the topic sentence: “Attacks on American troops in Iraq have declined in recent weeks, but strikes against Iraqis are up, officials say.”

    The two clauses don’t oppose each other. In fact, the increase in stikes against enemy Iraqis may well have caused the drop in attacks against Americans.


  2. David says:

    I just came across the Reuters version of this story. It begins, “BAGHDAD, Nov 25 (Reuters) – A top U.S. general said on Tuesday that attacks on his forces in Iraq had halved over the past two weeks, while those on Iraqis had surged.”

    The BBC writer changed “while” to “but.”


  3. peter says:

    Unrelated, but this amused me as a really over the top effort by BBC to make a story out of nothing.

    On Friday, the website featured a scroll – the part at the top used to feature big breaking stories – that said “US Troops Kill Hungarian Citizen” or something like that.

    The story than actually said that some civilian contractor sped towards a checkpoint, ignored warning shots, and was then shot by troops. They had quotes from a Hungarian official who was pretty ho-hum about the whole thing – he ignored the check point and warning shots and was shot. Certainly not blaming US troops for anywrong doing.

    However, I’m sure the BBC.com people know that many people see this scroll but don’t follow through to the story, so they get to make their slanted point.

    I looked around other media and found no mention of this anywhere. Was this really newsworthy enough to feature as a “breaking news” item?