Tuesday, May 10, 2005

As many papers as one can read

Slate's "Today's Papers" column is an valuable tool to compare how the big national papers cover the news. Eric Umansky notes the difference between the LA Times - which is on the scene for a battle in Iraq - and the rest of the papers covering the battle from Baghdad.
With their reporters presumably stuck in Baghdad, the other papers basically channel military spokesmen accounts. Skepticism does not abound, nor does careful sourcing. "MARINES KILL 100 FIGHTERS IN SANCTUARY NEAR SYRIA," announces the Post. That figure has issues. As you might notice, most of the papers' stories actually cite "as many as" 100 insurgents killed. (Kind of like TP is "as much as" 6ft. tall). Then turn to the LAT, which quotes the commander in the field puzzling over the hundred figure and saying "a couple of dozen" insurgents were probably killed.
Some have complained that most papers are covering Iraq and ignoring good news - I'd settle for them covering actual information instead of spin.

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