Sunday, January 11, 2009

NPR's Gold Standard = Bush's Gold Standard

Let's travel back in time to October 2006 when the Lancet published it's 2nd report on Iraqi civilian deaths and came up with the horrifying number of about 600,000. And what was the reaction of the team Bush-Blair?
But wait, as the BBC reported, UK officials were a tad more honest off the record. A Ministry of Defense science official described the report as "robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to 'best practice' in this area" while a Foreign Office official noted that "it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."

So you might think Lourdes Garcia-Navarro would be a little bit embarrassed this morning when David Green asks her, "How many Iraqi civilians have died, do we have a sense?" and she answers:
"The short answer, David, is no, we don't know. Let me go through the numbers. The gold standard really is Iraq Body Count - according to their website which we's the most credible one out there for now....There was one very controversial and well known report published in 2006 by the Lancet..."
Zounds! This is about as sloppy and dishonest as it gets. As the UK officials secretly noted above, the Lancet report was anything but controversial in its methodology. Others have noted that identical studies are used to cite authoritative death estimates in places like the Congo and Darfur with no hint of "controversy." The only thing controversial about the Lancet report and the ORB report (which Garcia-Navarro doesn't even mention) was the disturbing truth that so many hundreds of thousands (now over a million) of innocent people have perished in the Bush-Blair Iraq war. Any dispassionate look at Iraq Body Count (IBC) would find it anything but a "gold standard." Media Lens has an extensive look at its shortcomings and the BBC in its coverage of the challenges to IBC from Media Lens lists many endorsements of the Lancet's findings from actual experts in epidemiological studies.

Lastly, NPR's Iraq report today (and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson's dismal piece last week) was somehow supposed to balance the deluge of generally prowar "Impact of War" reports that NPR has run. It was supposed to address the concern of a listener who challenged NPR,
"I would be further moved if NPR could consider any of the millions of Iraqis affected - the million dead, and the millions wounded or displaced. What effect would a story of a victim of an American bombing have."
Neither report offers a shred of intense, personal stories about innocents killed by the US. But if you are a big fan of Bush, Blair and their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then you'd have to agree that for spin and distortion, these reports are the gold standard after all.


Anonymous said...

Jesus, I missed this. Unbelievable! I hope you emailed Lourdes Garcia-Navarro or the NPR ombudsman your critique. Iraq Body Count is simply disinformation propaganda as far as I'm concerned; they're tools deliberately obfuscating the true death count, and when challenged they are very antagonistic and defensive.

Lately, on cable news channels - and, I believe, also on NPR - I have heard reporters refer to "tens of thousands" of iraqi deaths. It has blown my mind. Nobody can unwittingly use that phrase without knowing what they're doing.

Anonymous said...

Was puttering around the house when I barely heard the "report." Was rather amazed that this thinly-sourced piece was supposed to be the in-depth, equal time journalism listeners had demanded in the face of their "nobody suffers more than American soldiers" cant. Sheesh. It's like they're not even trying anymore.

Porter Melmoth said...

However, Our Lady Lourdes was really trying to come off as hip and 'concerned', like she had really agonized over getting to the 'truth' in the numbers. This sort of act is put on in order to keep NPR's more critical listeners thinking that National Preposterous Radio is still interested in 'liberal' issues.

Again, NPR is dealing with horrendous subjects when it's safe to do so. After everybody's dead and it's OK to come out: that's NPR's beat.

Oh but wait, there was another hideous bomb blast in B'dad again today. Or was it two or three? Dunno. We don't keep track.

Anonymous said...

LuLu, as Green called her, spent more time one morning talking about a dog they found than she was able to do here.

This series is classic propaganda.

dguzman said...

Incredible. Are journalists really this dishonest, or are they just lazy?

Anonymous said...

IBC is an undercount any way you look at it.

I'd have to say that Lourdes Garcia-Navarro uis either grossly un- informed, grossly mis-informed or grossly dishonest.

It's not just NPR though. It's the entire mainstream media in this country.

They're like a flock of parrots who merely repeat what they get off the White House script.

Actually, I seriously doubt Navarro is even capable of understanding the methodology of a scientific study like Lancet (I or II). Most journalists are as clueless about science as the vast majority of the American public, which is pretty damned clueless.

So Navarro audience is likely as ignorant as she is on the subject.

In my opinion, one should not be able to get a college degree without having a minimum understanding of basic science.

But that's just my opinion (worth nothing, of course).

Anonymous said...

Even if one takes the IBC's count at face value, let's ponder for a moment what that means.

It means that at a bare minimum, close to 100,000 civilians have died violent deaths as a result of the US invasion and aftermath. (IBC: documented civilian deaths from violence 90,318 – 98,594)

That's one medium sized US city -- obliterated. Every man woman and child snuffed out.

Garcia-Navarro should chew on that a bit.

Like so many other Americans, she appears to be a completely callous ..... (rhymes with itch)

These people are not journalists. They are disgusting human beings, though.