Friday, July 06, 2007

Casualty Reporting: The Importance of Cross-checking

In a rare example of apparent good journalism from the mainstream media in Iraq, the BBC seem to have actually cross-checked a US account of an attack. While the US version speaks of helicopters, armed with missiles, engaging and killing 17 al-Qaeda gunmen, the real story may well be very different.
"...villagers in largely-Shia al-Khalis say that those who died had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. They say they were local village guards trying to protect the township from exactly the kind of attack by insurgents the US military says it foiled. They say that of 16 guards, 11 were killed and five others injured - two of them seriously - when US helicopters fired rockets at them and then strafed them with heavy machinegun fire."
"The incident highlights the problems the news media face in verifying such combat incidents in remote areas"
For the full story: Village disputes story of deadly attack