From the Washington Post:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today presented an upbeat report of the conflict in Iraq and said he agrees with the commander of the U.S.-led coalition, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., that the news media has exaggerated the number of civilian casualties in the conflict.
Rumsfeld said that while insurgents are "obviously trying to ignite a civil war," Iraqi security forces have "taken the lead in controlling the situation" and the Iraqi government has taken "a number of key steps that have had a calming effect in the situation." But the news media in the United States and abroad has misreported the number of Iraqi civilians that have been killed and the number of mosques that have come under attack, Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference. This misreporting, Rumsfeld said, has swayed American public opinion. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll reported yesterday that 80 percent of Americans believe that fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq will lead to civil war.
I'd like to know what people think about this. I rarely see the American media even talking about Iraqi civilian deaths, so I can't see how they would be able to exaggerate in their reporting. Rumsfeld's assertion that this has swayed public opinion against our involvement in Iraq is ridiculous as I think if you asked the average person on the street to give a ball park number of civilian casualties in Iraq they would not even come close. I do see more reporting of Iraqi civilian casualties in the foreign press however, as well as more coverage of what actually happens to these civilians with pictures that you never see in the American media. Whether they over-exaggerate or not I don't know. I'd appreciate any comments, even if you disagree.
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