NYT-MoveOn.org's 'Petraeus -- Betray Us' Ad Cited NYT's Own Reporting Wrongly

The New York Times evidently didn't do much vetting on the adolescent, infamous, and deeply discounted anti-war ad from MoveOn.org that appeared in the front section of Monday's paper.

The ad, headlined "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?", cited the Times' own reporting in defense of its argument that Petraeus is a liar.

"Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That's because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, death by car bombs don't count."

Huh? Not even the Times anti-war editorial page has gone that far. Here's an excerpt from an article by Times reporter Michael Gordon from September 8, two days before the MoveOn.org ad appeared, that directly contradicts MoveOn.org's claims. As Gordon makes clear, types of deaths may be classified differently, but they are all counted.

"American officials concede that it is not always easy to distinguish sectarian killings and criminally motivated murders. Victims from car bombs are treated as sectarian casualties if the attack appears to be directed at a sectarian or ethnic group. The August truck bombings that killed hundreds of Yazidis in northern Iraq and the July car bombs that killed many Kurds near Tuz, for example, were classified as sectarian attacks.

"Casualties that result from fighting between groups, like the Mahdi Army and the Badr Corps, however, are not classified as sectarian, as they are the result of clashes between two Shiite organizations. But victims of all car bomb attacks and Shiite and Sunni infighting are included in the overall civilian casualty count."

The New York Post has more on the deep discount MoveOn.org apparently got from the Times.

MoveOn.org New York Times David Petraeus
Clay Waters's picture