CNN Finds NEW Way to Count Body Bags, Now in Afghanistan

We've taken notice that Iraq is suddenly out of the news now that things are consistently going so well for U.S. forces there. Well, since CNN can't find much bad to talk about in Iraq they've finally found some "bad" news they can use as a needle to stick in the Bush Administration's collective eye. In Coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan surpass Iraq, CNN has discovered that they can make a body bag contest out of casualties between Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, joy!

For the second month in a row, U.S. and allied troop deaths in the Afghan war have surpassed those in Iraq, according to official figures tallied by CNN... In June, 46 foreign troops died in Afghanistan and 31 troops died in Iraq. In May, 23 foreign troops died in Afghanistan and 21 died in Iraq.

Stop the presses! And, did you notice that now they are adding foreign troops up because they can't get enough American deaths to report? Can you remember the last time the American press was worried about the casualties among our foreign coalition?

It also doesn’t escape notice that the headline is a bit misleading. Read standing alone, one would think that the headline is saying more troops have now died in Afghanistan than have died in Iraq for the entire war. After all, the headline doesn’t restrict itself to just the two months in question! A lazy reader might tend to take away the wrong impression by this badly composed headline.

Now, veteran newsers know that the largest amount of news readers only read the headline and the first few paragraphs before moving on to the next story. For that matter, many people only read the headline before they move on. So, all the bad news is often pushed up front so that the worst impression is left with the half-readers. And this story is a classic example of that.

Still, one should give this CNN report some credit because it does say things are going better in Iraq.

Violence in Iraq has dropped. Among the reasons that have been cited are inroads made by the "surge" military offensive; Iraq's military operations against militants; the growth of the Awakening Councils, opposing al Qaeda in Iraq, among Sunni Arabs; efforts at political compromise; and the cessation of hostilities by mainstream members of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.

So, kudos for that one. In fact there is quite a lot of good news in this particular report on how violence and deaths are down in Iraq and Afghanistan... all after the lede, of course.

Sadly, though, instead of headlining the story with the good news, CNN leads the reader with all the bad news first. All the better to leave the worst impression possible even while actually reporting some good news.

(H/T NewsBuster reader Frank)

Foreign Policy Iraq War on Terrorism Media Bias Debate Afghanistan Anti-Military Bias Journalistic Issues