Iraqi Body Counts: The Times Gets Taken In, Again

The New York Times again portrays the far-left anti-war outfit IraqBodyCount as an objective source of casualty counts for civilians in Iraq.

Wednesday's story from Baghdad-based Sabrina Tavernise, "Rising Civilian Toll Is the Iraq War's Silent, Sinister Pulse," is clearly intended as a bookend to the paper's front-page story on the 2000th fatality among U.S. troops in Iraq. Iraq Body Count apparently has not issued a new report, so Tavernise is merely referencing the web site's death clock, based on this database of newspaper clippings.

"The war here has claimed about 2,000 American service members, but in the cold calculus of the killing, far more Iraqis have been left dead. The figures vary widely, with Iraqi and American officials reluctant to release even the most incomplete of tallies….In one count, compiled by Iraq Body Count, a United States-based nonprofit group that tracks the civilian deaths using news media reports, the total of Iraqi dead since the American-led invasion is 26,690 to 30,051."

Tavernise never clarifies how many of the dead are being killed by terrorists killing Iraqi civilians, and ignores the far-left nature of the group doing the tally.

The paper also ignored the leftist politics of IBC when it covered the group's July report marking "25,000" civilian deaths. That report referred to the terrorists who kill Iraqi civilians with car bombs as "unknown agents," innocuously defined as "those who do not attack obvious military/strategic or occupation-related targets." The Times didn't mention that.

IBC is also cited in today's front-page James Dao feature on the 2000th U.S. troop fatality in Iraq. As if to underscore that for some journalists everything is Vietnam, over an otherwise moving spread of small photographs and biographies of soldiers killed in Iraq, a subhead reads in part: "The dead come from all branches of the armed services and represent the highest toll since the Vietnam War."

Of course, an average of over 6,000 soldiers died each year during the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War, compared to 2,000 in two-and-a-half-years in Iraq.

UPDATE: Stephen Spruiell noted this item on National Review Online's Media Blog.

Iraq New York Times
Clay Waters's picture

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