March 28, 2004


The Reuters headline:

At least 15 die as US battles insurgents in Iraq

And the story below the Reuters headline:

Running battles between US troops and insurgents in the Iraqi flashpoint town of Falluja have killed a US Marine, an Iraqi cameraman and at least six other civilians.

As reader CJ points out, thatís eight.

UPDATE. Scott Burgess corrects me. I was wrong. The additional fatalities -- from a separate incident in Tikrit -- are mentioned deeper in the piece.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 28, 2004 01:31 AM

Their math is really quite simple. One witness said eight civilians, another said six, so together that's fourteen. Add in the U.S. marine, you have fifteen.

Once you've mastered those mathematical gymnastics, try this backflip.

Posted by: wv at March 28, 2004 at 01:42 AM

Hey, it might have been worse--might have been an anti-war protest--then the numbers "may have been close to 100,000..."

Posted by: ushie at March 28, 2004 at 01:49 AM

Notice the moral equivalency implied between US troops and "insurgents" regardless of the number of people killed. Guilt is spread rather liberally, don't you think? Well, it is Reuters after all.

Posted by: charles austin at March 28, 2004 at 02:03 AM

do I hear $5 for one slightly damaged USMC kevlar helmet?

Posted by: ben at March 28, 2004 at 02:09 AM

" U.S. Marine, an Iraqi cameraman and at least six other civilians."

That's eight

"Four members of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC), a paramilitary force working alongside U.S. troops and police, were killed during a morning raid near Tikrit."

That's twelve

"A U.S. military spokeswoman said three armed suspects were also killed in the raid."

That's fifteen.

Spleenville needs counters.

Posted by: Scott Burgess at March 28, 2004 at 02:39 AM

I hereby proclaim Scott Burgess to be Spleenville's Official Counter of Things.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 28, 2004 at 04:24 AM

<sarcasm>But but but... Tim.... You can't go around publishing corrections on the front page, next to the original story, and as soon as you become aware they're neccessary. It's just not done. Especially when the corrections don't push your particular political line. It's downright unprofessional.</sarcasm> You'd never find the SMH or NYT doing that. What if everyone did it?

Posted by: Alan E Brain at March 28, 2004 at 10:32 AM

Dear Mr, er, Brain. It's exceptions that make the rule. And I would like to congratulate the bloghead for his prompt correction. He made a bad call and corrected when it was brought to his attention. He forgot to actually read the whole story before cut and pasted his smug little missive. When he realised his stupid error, he owned up. He thought he'd won another major victory for the long suffering people of Iraq, instead he saw he himself was at fault, not Reuters. Perhaps sensing Reuters would demand he sack himself immediately for his misrepresentation, he quickly backflipped, figuring some pain now would be better than to have the issue drag on endlesslessly through the courts.


Posted by: Miranda Divide at March 28, 2004 at 10:27 PM

Dear God, Miranda.

What, you'd prefer Tim pretended he hadn't made a mistake? In the time I've known him, Tim has always publicly stated when he made a mistake, and has publicly apologized when he thought it the appropriate thing to do. Unlike, say, the ABC. That is what professional, and ethical, journalists do.

But of course you wouldn't know about that, would you?

Posted by: Alice at March 29, 2004 at 01:36 AM

Miranda is incapable of appreciating ethical behavior under any circumstances.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 29, 2004 at 03:16 AM

That's because she is a parrot. Rawk! Blogmire!

Posted by: Sortelli at March 29, 2004 at 10:16 AM