Reuters Shows Us How To Write A Biased Story About Iraq

by John Hawkins | September 23, 2003 5:08 pm

We’ve heard a lot of complaints about biased coverage in Iraq lately and if you want to see a perfect example of it, look at this Reuters[1] article written by Suleiman al-Khalidi.

It’s headlined “Iraqis Skeptical Bush Speech Means Brighter Future” and it starts out by saying, “Iraqis reacted with skepticism Tuesday to a call from President Bush for more international help in rebuilding Iraq, saying the United States was looking after its own interests at their expense.”

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “How did they poll the Iraqis that fast”? But of course, there was no polling. The reporter simply cherry picked Iraqis who said things like…

“America is now in a real mess and they want to find a way out… It’s worse than Vietnam but getting more troops will only make it more difficult for them here”

…and implied that the 5 people quoted actually represented the opinion of almost 25 million Iraqis. Even in a best case scenario, that makes little sense. After all, do you think you can simply ask 5 randomly selected people in let’s say the US their opinion about something and get an accurate feel for what the whole country is thinking? Of course not, that’s ridiculous.

But let’s be honest here, it’s not as if the reporter simply published the first five opinions he heard. In actuality, he probably wrote out a general idea for the story, something like “Iraqis are unhappy about Bush speech” and then he went out and started interviewing people. After he got enough material, he took the 4 or 5 juiciest comments he could find that fit his theme, slapped them together in a story, and then tried to make it appear as if that’s what everybody thinks.

Stories like this one are exactly why we have a “bipartisan congressional group” pointing out[2] that, “(j)ournalists are giving a slanted and unduly negative account of events in Iraq”. Al-Khalidi’s article is slanted, it is biased, and I wish I could say I was surprised to see this sort of propaganda masquerading as journalism coming from Reuters. But let’s face it, if you’re fighting a war on terrorism, you have to just accept that you’re not going to get a fair shake from an organization that refuses to even use the word “terrorist[3]“.

  1. Reuters:
  2. pointing out:
  3. terrorist:

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