Saturday, July 21, 2007

The "Fairness Doctrine" in Print Media

Thank goodness the "fairness doctrine" won't apply to print media.

Otherwise, the AP's editorialists news reporters would have to provide PowerLine's rebuttals right in their own releases.

From the AP:

Last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of combat-ready Iraqi battalions able to fight independently has dropped from 10 to six in recent months despite an increase in U.S. training efforts.

Those grim assessments follow years of optimistic public statements from the Pentagon about the progress in Iraqi security forces and have fueled calls in the Democratic-controlled Congress to begin withdrawing from Iraq.

From the actual record:

GEN. PACE: Yeah, I can tell you the numbers that are in my head. Last March, I think I said there were -- I did say and there were 10 battalions that were operating independently, and I think at the time I said there were another 88 operating in the lead. Today, the numbers I saw were six battalions operating independently and another almost 100 that are operating in the lead.

And so the question becomes, okay, how do you go from 10 to six, and why those changes? And the answer is, quite simply, that as units operate in the field, they have casualties. They consume vehicles and equipment, and need to come out of the line and be resupplied, just like our own units. So the fact that a number may be changing within a very narrow band shouldn't be of over -- overly of concern.

On the other hand, we do want to see the number go into double figures and start moving more toward more Iraqi units being able to operate on their own and more units that work operating side by side with us, moving into the lead. It is a valid thing to chase, but we shouldn't put too much weight on minor variations in those numbers.

So as PowerLine says:

So the "grim assessment" did not come from General Pace. It came solely from the Associated Press, and the AP made the assessment grim by simply ignoring the explanation and the other numbers that were given by General Pace.

Fairness? We don't NEED your stinkin' Fairness!!

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