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"Verifying" the news
Left I on the News
Consider this story from the Los Angeles Times on the fighting in Western
Iraq. The headline, and the lead, are that "Six U.S. Marines were killed by
roadside bombs." As we read further, we are told that "The U.S. military
said Friday that at least 50 suspected insurgents were killed." No mention
of Iraqi civilians, until we get to this: "Sheik Usama Jadaan, a tribal
leader in the city of Karabilah...said the fighting in the west was so
brutal that residents 'are now seeing members of their families being killed
in front of their own eyes by the American bombardment.'" And in response?
"The allegations of civilian deaths could not be verified. Lt. Col. Steve
Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman, said he had no reports of civilian
casualties in the offensives." Of course, they could have been verified (or
refuted) by a reporter actually going on site, or even calling the local
hospitals, what the reporter means is that they weren't verified, and that
their definition (as with all the corporate media) of "verification" is
"acknowledged by the U.S. military." And the U.S. military didn't even deny
it, they just claim (which is probably true) that they "had no reports" of
And there the matter will rest, never to be mentioned again in the U.S.
media, except indirectly, when the relatives of the dead and wounded
civilians set the next round of IEDs, killing more U.S. soldiers, who deaths
will once again make the headlines and be "verified."
Note also that there is no question that the deaths of "50 suspected
insurgents" (nor any evidence that they were insurgents) could be verified;
once again, the word of the U.S. military seems to be both the source of the
news and the "verification" of the news.