"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tens or Hundreds?

Dear Sir/Madam,

There is a serious inaccuracy in one of today's RTE website reports:

Change to US strategy in Iraq is recommended


The report reads: "tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed."

This should read: "hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed."

This statement would be in line with the recent figures published by the Lancet last week.

I hope you can address this issue.

Yours sincerely,

To: Treacy Bree
Subject: FW: Inaccuracy in one of today's RTE website reports


Just to advise you that the writer of the following e-mail is associated with the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and is in constant e-mail contact with our Newsroom regarding our reporting on the Iraq war and the Middle East conflict areas.


On 10/18/06, Treacy Bree wrote:

Dear David

Thanks for your mail and your interest in the site. The section you referred to is re-edited copy from Reuters. There is contention about the number of civilian casualties in Iraq but we strive to be accurate with our News coverage and 'tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed' is accurate.

Thanks again for your interest.

Bree Treacy

Dear Ms. Treacy,

Thank you for responding.

However, I don't see how the fact the text was copied from a Reuters piece is relevant to the issue. Contrary to your contention, there is no reasonable or scientific refutation of the study's findings. The 'contention' you referred to is, as you are no doubt aware, politically motivated and should have no bearing on RTE's responsibility to report the facts to the best of their ability. Also contrary to your assertion, the phrase 'tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed' is about as accurate as writing post 9/11, "tens of Americans have been killed." The latter would never appear in a respectable newspaper and neither should the former.

I remain hopeful that you will address this inaccuracy.

For your information, I have no 'association' with the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Yours sincerely,

And another Email: Nick at MLMB