Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why You Can Trust the Los Angeles Times for Biased Middle East Coverage--A Continuing Series

In the preceding Hedeghog Post, we linked to a YNet news story from Friday, June 29, 2007, about an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation in Nablus, which discovered a Fatah bomb factory and a large Fatah weapons cache. Five Israeli soldiers were wounded in fighting with Fatah gunmen during this operation. What follows is the entire Los Angeles Times coverage of that operation, which appeared on Saturday, June 30:

Israeli troops kill Fatah member
From Times Wire Reports
June 30, 2007

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian militant with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement on the second day of a large-scale military raid in the West Bank.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers shot the man as he fled from troops in a refugee camp near Nablus.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has accused Israel of trying to undermine Abbas' emergency Cabinet.

That's it. No bomb factory. No weapons caches. No battle in which 5 IDF soldiers are wounded. Just one man, shot as he fled from a refugee camp; and an accusation that Israel is deliberately undermining the emergency cabinet of the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas and Salan Fayyad. The slain terrorist may well have been armed, and may have fired at the IDF soldiers, but the L.A. Times news story leaves, probably deliberately, the impression that the nasty Israelis shot a fleeing, unarmed man in the back.

The same attitude prevails in the Los Angeles Times Iraq coverage. Operation Phantom Thunder, the largest U.S. single military campaign of the Iraq war, has been underway for about two weeks in Diyala province. The leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq have been encircled in the provincial capital of Baqouba. ABC News reports that U.S. troops in the past week have killed more than 159 suspected insurgents, detained more than 700 and seized 128 weapons caches. Other reports note that former Sunni insurgents in Diyala assisted the Americans in their operations against Al Qaeda, as previously occurred in Anbar Province. As U.S. military operations in Bagdad begin to have an effect, Iraqi civilian casualities in June fell 36% from May, to the lowest level this year.

Anyone foolish enough to rely on the Los Angeles Times as his sole news source would know none of this. A search online disclosed that the Times has only run a single story on Operation Phantom Thunder (under the name Arrowhead Thunder), back on June 20, when it had scarecely begun.

The Times totally ignored the drop in civilian casualties, today instead running a story about how a U.S. raid in Sadr City on Saturday, conducted without the permission of the Iraqi government, had angered Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. [Maliki's government has strong ties to the Shiite militias in Sadr City, and it is highly like that had the U.S. sought permission in advance for this operation, the Shiite militias targeted by the operation would have been tipped off.] The final paragraph of the story states that June ended the deadliest calendar quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the invasion. Although this would have been an excellent place to note the contrasting drop in Iraqi civilian casualties, that information apparently would have offended the Time's campaign to keep its readership uninformed of any positive developments in Iraq.

The high U.S. casualties of the last three months result directly, and not unexpectedly, from the commencement of aggressive offensive operations against Al Qaeda and insurgents, made possible by the troop surge. Without the context of stories about major military operations and their successes, the increase in U.S. casualties naturally may mislead the uninformed to assume that the war in Iraq is going more poorly, when the opposite is true. And that, my friends, is exactly what the Los Angeles Times intends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog.

Monday, July 02, 2007 9:06:00 AM  

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