Monday, December 19, 2011

Dec. 19: Bad editing, bad news services in the Times and Transcript

These blogs have often mentioned the unreliable sources and the sloppy editing of the NewsToday section. Today provides a classic example of it.

For this section, the TandT relies essentially on two sources - Reuters and Postmedia, and both are unreliable. Now, let's take a look at the lead story of this section. "Last U.S. troop leave Iraq, ending war.

It comes, of course from Reuters.

For openers, that's not really a flash. The war ended last week. There was a ceremony marking the end of it. The NewsToday editor must have known that because it appeared in News Today last week - in fact, the story appeared at least  twice. To run the same story three times is pretty sloppy editing.

Then there's the bias of Reuters.

The story that tells us that  the war cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis. Now, methods of counting war dead vary widely. The most conservative count I have seen can be found on Google. It's called Iraq Body Count. It counted only those seen to be killed by correspondents. It did not count thse who died of wounds weeks (or even days) later. It did not count those who were killed unseen by reporters. It did not count those who died of exposure or starvation in the war. It  did not count those who died because the war left them with almost no hospital space. It did not count those who died in the displacement of five million refugees. To the best of my knowledge, Iraq Body Count is the most conservative count that there is.

Its count is somewhere over a hundred thousand. (Yes, that is tens of thousands. But we usually say tens of thousands to suggest it was under a hundred thousand.) The US government admits to 120,000 to 130,000. Other counts, from quite unbiased and reputable sources go higher, much higher.

The Lancet, the very prestigious British medical journal, published studies putting the death toll at close to one and a half million.;

But Reurter says it's tens of thousands.

US oil companies are now "helping Iraqis to develop their oil fields." In fact, US oil companies have taken over Iraqi oil fields as spoils of war - and on very favourable terms. They are not required to leave any of their profit in Iraq - and the price of Iraqi oil is effectively controlled by the oil companies. Oil companies are "helping" Iraq develop in the same way that a bank robber "helps" a bank to clear some storage space for new money.

Then we are told the country is being torn apart now by religious strife. Oh? Iraq has been there a long time. How come religious strife didn't destroy the country a century ago and more?

Could it be that the strife comes from Iraq being smashed into poverty - with electricity still not working more than a few hours a day, with schools and hospitals and houses and roads and sewers blasted into rubble?  With high unemployment, with lack of food?

The US claims to have spent billions on rebuilding Iraq. So how come even the electricity system doesn't  work most of the time?  Where did all the money go?

It went the same place as the American earthquake relief  for Haiti went - into the pockets of contractors who were friends of the American government. That's why 2,000,000 Haitians are still living in tents with no water and no sewage. That's why Iraq is still a mass of rubble. Indeed, US senators were recently insisting that Iraq should repay the US for the trillion dollars it spent destroying the country.

None of this appears in the Reuters story. Nope. The big problem facing Iraq, according to Reuters is that them their Islams is all tore apart by religious strife.

US taxpayers spent a trillion dollars and killed enormous numbers of people and destroyed a nation to --get weapons of mass destruction that never existed. It was a lie, an  excuse to get control of the oil for American ( and some British) private companies.

It was all a lie; and Reuters knows it was all a lie. Even the NewsToday editor at the TandT must have figured it all out. But that's still the story Reuters has been telling and that the TandT has been publishing. 

 So now, the official version is it was all caused by them there iggerant religious fanatics. Besides, Saddam was a bad man. So it was worth killing - let's be conservative - tens of thousands of innocent people to get him

Oh - by the way - if Saddam was such a bad man, why was the west supplying him with weapons - especially to support his invasion of Iran that killed another million?

And if Saddam was so bad for killing innocent people, what were Bush and Tony Blair?

Never trust Reuters. Be careful of trusting any foreign correspondents. But be especially careful of official Chinese news sources, official Russian news sources - and of Reuters.

And of Post media - but that's another blog.

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