The Liberal Media

I had a depressing and stressful conversation last night with a former co-worker who is now a rabid fan of Dubya and a big supporter of US policy (if you can call it that) in Iraq. And eventually we got to the Liberal Media conversation (sparked by his actual use of the phrase “keeping the truth from the American people” in conversation, which I’ve never encountered in the wild before).

So this morning he sent me an example of the bias of the liberal media, quoting an excerpt from Rumsfeld’s daily briefing:

There are two ways, I suppose, one could inform readers of the Geneva Convention stipulation against using places of worship to conduct military attacks. One might be to headline saying that Terrorists Attack Coalition Forces From Mosques. That would be one way to present the information.

Another might be to say: Mosques Targeted in Fallujah. That was the Los Angeles Times headline this morning.

But that was not the headline. The actual article (annoying free registration required, but feel free to use kficara/kficara) had nothing to do with a general US warning to stop using mosques as bases for attacks. It was about a single firefight between Marines and a group of insurgents, some of whom had holed up in the minaret of a mosque from which, the article says clearly in the second graf, “machine-gun fire had been raining onto Marines 200 yards away.”

The headline didn’t say “Mosques Targeted In Falluja,” recasting the warning to stop using religious buildings to conduct attacks. The article actually is not about the warning at all. It’s about one particular group of Marines targeting one particular mosque in which attackers were nested. And the headline says “Mosque Targeted In Falluja,” meaning the single mosque discussed in the article.

Not that it will make a damned bit of difference, but I told him, ” I think you sent me an example of Rumsfeld misquoting and distorting what the LA Times said, rather than the other way around.”

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