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[casi] Networks Change Casualty Count in Iraq Reports

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Networks Change Casualty Count in Iraq Reports
August 29, 2003
A recent FAIR action alert (8/20/03) pointed out that National Public
Radio and television network news broadcasts were often reporting a tally
of U.S. deaths in Iraq that included only "hostile-fire" or combat deaths,
which at present number roughly 64 since May 1, but account for less than
half of the total fatalities. In segments that have aired since that
alert, networks are reporting the higher totals for U.S. casualties in
On ABC World News Tonight (8/24/03), reporter Geoff Morrell said that "two
more American soldiers lost their lives in Iraq this weekend, 137 since
May 1st." CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts began the August 25
broadcast by noting that "as many US soldiers have now died since
President Bush declared major combat operations over as died during the
fighting. That number, by the way, is 138."
The following night (8/26/03), all three network newscasts aired reports
highlighting the fact that more soldiers have died in Iraq since Bush's
May 1 speech declaring an end to "major combat operations" than had died
up to that point in the course of the war. ABC's Charles Gibson announced
that "138 Americans were killed as the US invaded and took over Iraq, 140
have died since." Similar reports aired on NBC Nightly News and CBS
Evening News.
Recent NPR reports have also used casualty figures that more accurately
describe American deaths in Iraq. As NPR's Renee Montagne put it
(8/26/03), "The number of US troops killed in postwar Iraq has now
surpassed the number killed before President Bush declared an end to major
combat. Today a soldier died when a bomb hit a support convoy outside of
Baghdad. That means 139 US forces have been killed in Iraq since May 1st,
one more than died in the fighting beforehand." Later that day, NPR's
Alex Chadwick reported that "more US troops-- 139-- have now been killed
since the end of the major hostilities than during the war itself."
To read FAIR's original alert, go to:

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