Why The Media Is Broken

Wretchard at Belmont Club has yet another absolutely indispensible piece on the misreporting of the US strike in Iraq that supposedly killed 40 at an Iraqi wedding. Besides the media’s obvious jumping to conclusions and blaming the US, Wretchard notes that the media’s BS filters appear to be stuck in the off position:

Why was a wedding party in full swing at 02:45 am in the middle of the desert? A glance at the map would show the area in which the wedding took place was 250 kilometers from “Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi,” and who “put the death toll at 45.” A long way to go for medical treatment or burial when Qusabayah is 50 kilometers away. Under normal circumstances, there are two wounded for every dead. By the normal ratios there should have been at least 90 injured. There was a videotape of “showing a truck containing bodies of people who were allegedly killed in the incident. Most of the bodies were wrapped in blankets and other cloths, but the footage showed at least eight uncovered, bloody bodies, several of them children. One of the children was headless.” A video of the dead, but where were the wounded?

That’s something the media should have done. Reporters shouldn’t regurgitate whatever some Iraqi tells them. We know where the attack took place. We know that Ramadi is a great distance away from the attack and there’s a city much closer. The facts in this case don’t match what the media was reporting.

By the time the media gets around to reporting that there was a cache of weapons, a satellite phone, and over $57,000 in Syrian dinars at the area of the "wedding" the damage has been done. Millions of people now think the US attacked an innocent wedding party when the likely explanation is that they were fired upon and destroyed a terrorist safehouse.

The media seems to be unconcerned in thinking critically? What was a wedding party doing in the middle of nowhere just miles from the Syrian border near a place where dangerous terrorists were known to cross into Iraq? Why would a wedding party involve large amounts of cash – more than many Iraqis would make in several years? Why would a wedding party need a satellite phone and foreign passports? Where did the wounded go? Why would you take the dead to the provincial capital of Ramadi 250 kilometers away rather than town only 80 kilometers away? Why do the Iraqi’s reports seem so contradictory and difficlut to believe (such as the description of the US dropping "100 bombs" on the site)?

At the end, maybe the US did attack a wedding party by mistake. But without knowing the specifics of what really went on, no one can know for sure. One thing is certain – the media isn’t doing its job in critically reporting the news, and as long as they fail to do that it falls on the reader to use their own BS detectors to try to sort out the real story. In a world where critical thinking skills are practically a lost art, it means that the media is utterly failing to provide the kind of critical journalism necessary for people to make informed decisions.

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