AP Gives an Assist to Obama

In one of the more curious episodes of media bias to come to light recently, the Associated Press ran a "Fact Check" article on a statement made by Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in which the Illinois Senator seemed to accuse the US military of war crimes in Afghanistan.

In response to a question about sending more troops to augment the NATO led force in Afghanistan, Obama accused the Bush administration of deliberately targeting civilians in air raids:

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there,"
The Associated Press decided to assist Mr. Obama in his smear of the military:
A check of the facts shows that Western forces have been killing civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents have been killing civilians.

The U.S. and NATO say they don't have civilian casualty figures, but The Associated Press has been keeping count based on figures from Afghan and international officials. Tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify.

As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can't be attributed to one party.
Obviously, reading comprehension and other cognitive skills are not requisites for employment at the AP.

If one were to examine Obama's statement and compare it to the "facts" presented by AP, you would immediately be struck by Obama's failure to mention the "insurgents" or the Taliban in his charge at all. In fact, Obama was not comparing civilian casualties caused by both sides. He was not comparing anything at all. He made a clear statement that the only activity being carried out by our military in Afghanistan was "just air raiding villages and killing civilians." Numbers of dead civilians never entered into his statement in any way, shape, or form.

Beyond that is the extraordinary admission by the AP that the civilian casualty figures they use in the news article cannot be verified but they go ahead and print them anyway. In other words, let's pretend that we have verified these numbers so that we can publish "facts" about comparative civilian deaths between the two sides.


Finally, there is not a word in the AP article about the moral distinction to be made between the Taliban, who deliberately target civilians with suicide bombings, and the US Air Force, which takes incredible pains to avoid civilian casualties.

We saw the same thing during last summer's Israel-Hezb'allah war when AP, Reuters, and other international news services doted lovingly on every stray Israeli bomb that killed a civilian while ignoring the fact that the terrorists were launching rockets into Israel with the sole and expressed desire to murder innocents.

I suppose we should come to expect this kind of outrageous bias on the part of AP. But just when you think they can't sink any lower, they prove that there is no bottom to the rabbit hole.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky