Journalism Is More Than Just Quoting Speeches

Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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16 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    Perhaps the New York Times linked the number of Iraqis who died with the money spent on the war to demonstrate that $800B was spent to kill100K. It’s not so much a crass juxtaposition, but an indictment of the war.

    I’m not saying that such an analysis is appropriate (and I imagine it was just a case of fitting as much info into as few sentences as possible), but there might be other reasons for the apparent link.Report

  2. Chris says:

    100k is a pretty damn low estimate, too.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    How many times will we hear that the war in Iraq is finally coming to an end? I count this as at least the fourth. #1 was “Mission Accomplished,” #2 was “Iraqi military ready to stand on its own with our ‘logistical’ support,” under Bush, and #3 was “Obama announces complete withdrawal from Iraq,” back in early 2009. And even after this, there will still be U.S. troops with guns in Iraq assisting with “intermittent exercises and high-level consultations” that are certain to involve actual hostilities with The Bad Guys. And, of course, the “contractors,” a polite term for “mercenaries.”

    As for poor journalism, the sort of thing you criticize here has been going on for a long time. There were, and still are, good journalists who have a care for what they write and do not simply regurgitate press releases. But there have been lazy journalists for a long time, too, including lazy journalists being assigned to cover important subjects. OTOH, it’s possible that someone made the editorial decision that readers of the Wall Street Journal might well consider the $800 billion price tag more significant and important a cost of the war than the 100,000 lost Iraqi lives.Report

  4. Tom Van Dyke says:

    The 100,000 Iraqi deaths are on the heads of the bad guys.

    “I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday.”

    —Harry Reid

    • The 100,000 Iraqi deaths are on the heads of the bad guys.

      You’re the teacher of a class containing a mixture of innocent little angels and viciously demonic juvenile delinquents.  You’re not a nice guy, but you manage to keep control by knocking heads, and occasionally throwing one of the JDs out the window.

      I pull you out of the classroom and take over, despite my inability to manage any group larger than me and myself, and all hell breaks loose, with the demons killing each other and the angelic little darlings.

      And none of it is on my head?Report

    • Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      I notice you don’t say who the bad guys are. I suppose that’s the only way to say that particular sentence and have it be true.Report

  5. Jeff says:

    I would have liked for Panetta to acknowledge the false pretenses under which the Iraq War was launched, or even the entirely specious evidence that led to such a 9 year struggle with so much death. 

    Then someone would have to explain why Bush (or, at the very least, Poindexter someone from his admisitration) is not on trial.   Cheney would be ideal — he’s admitted to war crimes (he bragged of water-boarding and admitted it was torture).  But that will never happen, so how could Panetta even mention it?Report

  6. Fnord says:

    Not to sound coldly calculating or anything, but using the various statistical values of life, 100,000 deaths and 800 billion dollars are in the same ballpark.  The EPA values a life at about 7.4 million dollars, which puts the “cost” of the deaths at 740 billion dollars.  Of course, that estimate is probably low (as other have noted) and certainly overlooks many wounded Iraqis.Report