Washington Post Demonstrates Its War Coverage Priorities

The Washington Post published two articles today about the war in Iraq. One made the front-page, the other was relegated to page A16. Curiously, the one dealing with a major offensive along the Syrian border was buried. By contrast, the one dealing with American casualties was on the front-page. 

In an article entitled “For Many in Iraq, Death is Quick and Capricious,” Steve Fainaru shared recent casualty totals, while specifically detailing the actions of some of America’s heroes that lead to their unfortunate death:

“The growing number of U.S. military deaths, which reached 2,000 last month and has since risen to 2,035, underscores a grim reality: There are countless ways to die in Iraq.”

This article was not only on the front-page, but was also 1,800 words.

By contrast, on page A16:

“U.S. and Iraqi security forces swept through an area near the Syrian border to root out foreign fighters Sunday, the second day of one of the largest military offensives since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.”

Why is this offensive so important?

“Iraqi officials have acknowledged that they are failing to stop fighters from crossing into the country from Syria. The fighters traverse the Euphrates River valley region, dispersing weapons and explosives, and then move on to the cities of Ramadi, Baghdad and Mosul. The officials have repeatedly criticized the Syrian government for not doing more to control their side of the border, while also noting that Iraqi troops are not yet adequately trained to do the job without U.S. support.

“By Sunday afternoon, U.S. and Iraqi forces controlled seven of 11 neighborhoods in Qaim, witnesses said. At 10 a.m., the U.S. forces raided the neighborhoods and searched the houses, digging up gardens in search of contraband. The soldiers found weapons caches and papers linked to the al Qaeda insurgency, the witnesses said.”

Curiously, this article about a major offensive along the Syrian border to wipe out al Qaeda members was not only buried on page A16, but also given only 663 words – or roughly one third the space the casualties article on the front-page was given.

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Noel Sheppard's picture