US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack But Get No Front Page Headlines
US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack But Get No Front Page Headlines
The Intercept (7/19/16) illustrated its article on a deadly airstrike in Syria with a photo of a victim receiving medical attention. (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
By Adam Johnson / fair.org
Jul 21, 2016

A coalition airstrike reported on Tuesday that killed at least 85 civilians—one more than died in the Nice attack in France last week—wasn’t featured at all on the front pages of two of the top US national newspapers, the New York Times and LA Times, and only merited brief blurbs on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, with the actual stories buried on pages A-16 and A-15, respectively.

According to the London Telegraph (7/19/16), the airstrike killed “more than 85 civilians” after the “coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.” Eight families were represented among the dead, with victims “as young as three.” The Intercept (7/19/16) reported the death toll could end up being well over 100.

The Pentagon has not denied the reports, saying an investigation is underway, according to Stars and Stripes (7/19/16), a media outlet that operates inside the Department of Defense.

As many on Twitter pointed out, the number of dead was roughly equal to that of the recent Nice attack, yet the airstrike did not garner nearly as much media coverage, nor did news outlets convey an outpouring of grief:

By contrast, the Nice attack garnered multiple front-page stories in the New York Times and LA Times, as well as significantly more than 20-word blurbs in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

For those who see a “false equivalency,” there are two mitigating reasons for this glaring discrepancy: 1) The airstrike deaths were an “accident” and 2) Syria’s a war zone, where civilian deaths are to be expected. Neither of these retorts are satisfactory, and certainly not enough to justify a virtual front-page blackout.

On the issue of accidental deaths having less import than purposeful ones, this doesn’t explain why unintentional natural disaster deaths routinely receive splashing front-page coverage. Intent rarely affects coverage of these events; only death counts do. And this is granting the deaths were actually accidental, which we don’t know for sure at this time, or whether the US military was using tactics, like so-called “signature strikes,” that are known to greatly increase the chances of killing noncombatants.

As for the “war zone” factor, according to Airwars, a Western group that monitors civilian deaths at the hands of the US-led coalition, the total number of civilians deaths since the beginning of airstrikes in September 2014 has been 190. To increase this number by almost 50 percent in a matter of days would indeed be a radical departure from the normal course of events—rendering it more than newsworthy.

Indeed, all of the publications in question ran a story on the “dozens of deaths” at the hands of US-led airstrikes, so we know they deemed it notable. Just not notable enough, for whatever reason, to put in a prominent position for US audiences.


Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst for FAIR.orgFollow him onTwitter at @AdamJohnsonNYC.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Every Town Needs a Remakery
Jeremy Williams41,531 views today ·
Stressed out? This Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video May Be Just What You Need
3 min23,713 views today ·
Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?
Lynn Parramore13,870 views today ·
Revolution and American Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism”
Russell Means12,622 views today ·
Capitalism and Communism - Two Economic Systems With the Same Goal
Chris Agnos8,472 views today ·
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min6,284 views today ·
This is One of the Most Powerful Music Videos Ever Made
5 min5,567 views today ·
David Graeber: We Need a Revolution in the Way We Think about "Work"
4 min4,699 views today ·
21St Century Bastards #Faketoys May Be the Best Thing on the Internet
Andrew Butler3,946 views today ·
Load More
New
Stressed out? This Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video May Be Just What You Need
3 min
21St Century Bastards #Faketoys May Be the Best Thing on the Internet
Andrew Butler
MP Says Government is Intentionally Making People Destitute to Prevent Organised Opposition
2 min
From the Politics of Division to the Politics of Humanity
Willy Mutunga
Capitalism and Communism - Two Economic Systems With the Same Goal
Chris Agnos
The Real Truth About Fake News
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective
Sticky - Beautiful Animated Tale About a Remarkable Insect
19 min
Bright Spots - Stunning Animated Exploration of Island Conservation
8 min
Ending the Empathy Gap
Clio Chang
Load More
What's Next
Airstrikes in Syria Kills Dozens Including Children
2 min
Man Kills Himself Holding 'Tax The 1%' in Front of Capitol-and Nobody Hears About It
Thirty Three and a Third
Noam Chomsky: US The Leading Terrorist State
Noam Chomsky
Like us on Facebook?
US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack But Get No Front Page Headlines