Today Tonight, the Seven network’s version of a current affairs program, ran an item recently that mentioned the number of dead in Iraq: 100,000. No attribution was offered, nor was the figure described as an estimate. The Lancet‘s dubious study, released prior to the US election for maximum effect, has become truth – at least for research-averse television journalists.
Repetition will do that to people. Upon its release, that study received notice from Washington Post, The Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, the Melbourne Age, CNN, the Sydney Morning Herald, the BBC, the Boston Globe, ABC news, CBC, Channel News Asia, MSNBC, the Daily Star, the Economist, the New Zealand Herald … well, everywhere.
So how does Noam Chomsky describe this massive coverage, and the subsequent assumption by so many that 100,000 is an accurate number?
The way the media treated this Lancet report is kind of interesting. I mean it was mentioned, it’s not that you couldn’t find it. But it was either ignored or downplayed.
It’d be interesting to learn Noam’s definition of simple words like “ignored” and “underplayed”. It’s bad enough that he struggles with “dictatorship” and “dissent” …
(Via contributor J.F. Beck)