Nearly all news news outlets of record repeated Bush’s claim of 30,000 Iraqi’s killed as if it is no big deal.
“He was citing what he has read in media reports,” said spokesman Scott McClellan.
The 30,000 figure isn’t inaccurate by any count — but isn’t it downright shocking? The media should elaborate instead of chuckling along with cute Georgie, perhaps providing figures from the Oxford Research Group’s thorough “A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005.” (.pdf here). Among other things, the report clarifies that:
Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).
David Sirota delivers a poignant post this morning, admonishing the shamefully distant reactions of the media and the public to Bush’s speech in Philadelphia yesterday.
His comments, the media’s reflexive complicity, and the audience’s laughter, is an incredible, if silent, commentary on just how callous our society has become to the real consequences of our government’s behavior.
Sirota is referring to this grotesquely absurd exchange during Bush’s Q & A yesterday:
QUESTION: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I’d like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq. Yes.
QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you —
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll repeat the question. If I don’t like it, I’ll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)
Well, chuckle on – no worries, because as an AFP wire story has it today, the White House is distancing itself from the 30,000-killed figure, “blaming terrorists for ‘a significant number’ of the dead and saying the figure is not official.”
If the terrorists are to blame for most of these deaths, how then did they increase during the so-called “last throes” of the insurgency?
And if the MSM can’t pick it up from here… perhaps Howard Fineman’s fingernails-to-the-blackboard portrayal of the real Bob Woodward last night (via Atrios) can serve as inspiration:
“He’s a great reporter, but he’s become a great reporter of official history.” Fineman, Newsweek’s chief political correspondent, concluded his uplifting lecture with this: “The news about news is really bad.”
The Heretik spots, and outlines a new four-point narrative being revealed in Bush’s speeches leading up to Thursday’s elections in Iraq…. check it out.
After the jump, a word from our bold leaders, followed by a little
story outrage regarding our fallen soldiers’ wooden box homecoming…
The RNC’s new Web video “Retreat and Defeat” starts with a flat-screen TV playing clips from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Sen. John Kerry. As they speak, a white flag waves over their faces while ominous music moans. Dean says the war in Iraq can’t be won; Boxer says withdrawal should start after the Iraqi election; and Kerry says U.S. soldiers shouldn’t be “terrorizing kids and children, you know, women.” Then the camera pans back, and we learn that we’ve been watching these clips over the shoulder of a U.S. soldier dressed in desert camouflage, his service rifle strapped to his back. Candy canes hang on the wall just above the screen, which flashes the message: “Our soldiers are watching and our enemies are too.” (via John Dickerson’s column at Slate).
Nitpicker refers to this lede from a local television news broadcast in disgust that the country is not enraged:
Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag — greeted by a color guard.
But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners — stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.
Is this coming before or after the weather forecast, one must wonder.
One needn’t look past Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech from last week:
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force ? yet. (Emphasis from Left End of the Dial’s post breaking down Pinter’s scathing condemnation).
Alas, we do have Brian Williams to step up and keep it relatively real. He conducted three exclusive interviews throughout the course of the Monday with President Bush, all of which have been available for viewing – unedited – at MSNBC.com, since Monday night – a rare treat considering NBC will not air the abridged interviews until Tuesday night.
And what’s more, Williams posted at least a half dozen times throughout the day from his blackberry to his Daily Nightly blog. His posts, with titles like “Back in the Motorcade,” and “On Air Force One,” personalized his experience as a reporter for his audience, and provided a unique and behind the scenes play-by-play with video blog-only video excerpts of his early morning interview with the president soon after it happened.
I’m beginning to really like this guy.