Friday, July 06, 2007

Journalism 101

Reporters are not known as experts in much of anything. This lack of knowledge is increased by the fact that many journalism departments are esentially places for honing one's writing skills at the expense of analysis and hard study in more demanding areas. Reporters-in-training take little or no mathematics, statistics, history or any discipline where actual research and analysis is required. With such a weak background, is it any wonder that so few reporters, unless they are among the few who have trained in a real discipline, can actually report complex stories with both accuracy and objective analysis?

The Washington Post newspaper provided a perfect case study with their July 5th article claiming that the body count in Baghdad has increased during the surge. Unfortunately for the Post and their incompetent staff, the real numbers do not support this story at all. In fact, as documented by John Wixted at Back Talk, the numbers clearly show that the body count among civilians has dramatically dropped since the surge began. And the Post itself published a story contining completely different numbers.

This is yet another example of reporters who understand neither statistics nor military strategy taking numbers from a non-official source that happen to support their particular agenda. While this behavior is understandable in the context of the Press' blind hatred of Presiden Bush and their desire to see his Administration destroyed, it is neither professional nor is it good business. This kind of pseudo-reporting is easy to debunk, and Wixted does a fantastic job, with plenty of corroborative evidence.

This is simply another nail in the coffin for the reputation of the mainstream media. They have shown us their bias, their incompetence and their unprofessionalism too many times. The only question remaining is why anyone still actually buys their increasingly pathetic product.

Hat tip to Power Line.

No comments: