Friday, 2 November 2007

Comment: The trouble with facing and reporting facts

I am forced to pay my licence fee for this crap? I want information: facts and detail. Instead I get another poorly written article that seemingly the BBC struggled to type, as it pains them that the US are in fact succeeding with aspects of the campaign in Iraq, "The Struggle for Iraq" as the BBC have disingenuously called it, but that's another article altogether!

To start with, why the quotes in the title? "Deaths in Iraq 'continue to fall'" - it's not an attributable quote and it isn't conjecture; it's fact. I'm 'getting fed up' with the BBC's overuse of sodding quotes for emphasis, it automatically introduces a slant of suspicion to their reporting. If I want opinion I will read blogs or the comment sections within the media. When I go to read the news, I want the news. Impartial, balanced and detailed news. Instead I get this rubbish.

There is no single reliable source for statistics but a number agree on a marked improvement, correspondents say.

Really? Well CNN provide a reliable source, the Iraqi Government no less:

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in September was 844, down from 1,990 in January, according to Iraqi governmental figures provided to CNN.

Source: CNN

And they're hardly known for their Iraq support, yet they can muster up the courage to name their source. Indeed the LA Times is quoting the source directly as the Iraqi Health Ministry, not that difficult is it?

But what's this a few paragraphs below?

AFP news agency quoted interior, defence and health ministry data as saying at least 554 Iraqis were killed and the bodies of another 333 people who may have been killed in previous months were found.

Oh look! There it is - the source after all! So either the BBC is inept in it's writing or deliberately misleading. Most probably both. Furthermore, the figures look pretty exact; would 554 or 333 be used if they were just unreliable estimates? I think not. So the lack of reliable sources for the statistics is essentially bollocks.

The BBC's Jim Muir Baghdad says different sources do have different casualty figures for October but they all agree that the number of Iraqis killed by violence was again at a much lower level, as it had been in September.

What a coincidence having the town of his posting as his surname! The BBC editorial team seem to have been too busy working out how to put a negative slant on this article than to worry about the basics of grammar. The small yet important point of this is that standards need to be upheld.

I digress, back to the article itself:

Our correspondent says one question is whether the improvement is a predictable temporary result of the surge that might be reversed when the US military starts drawing down troops.

"Predictable temporary result"? Sounds as if they almost want it to end! Notwithstanding the fact that this is the objective of the surge is it not? And yes it may well be reversed when they finish the surge, but it would be hoped by that point that the Iraqi army will be able to fill the gap and continue to reduce troubles. I don't believe the correspondent realises that in trying to attack the strategy he is in fact advocating it's continuation.

Now I don't know how much they pay their correspondent, but I sure as hell hope it isn't a great deal...

However, our correspondent says despite the improved figures, bombings and shootings happen somewhere in Iraq every day.

Well whaddya know?! Did I just read that right? I cannot believe they have the nerve to state the aboslute bloody obvious. I'm glad they did 'cos 'til tonight I thought things were all peachy over there...


John Trenchard said...

thanks for the invite. there is plenty to blog about in the military/security sphere. my last few posts have been military related, but i dont think they are suited to the more British political JohnTrenchard blog. so thanks for the invite. i now have a home for such postings here.

Thomas Gordon said...

No problem John

It is my belief that there will be an increased interest in military affairs:

1.Pakistan will become an increasingly important story
2.The Irainian crisis
3.Continuing work in Afghanstan and Iraq

I hope this blog gives news and views that are not covered in the MSM.

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