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We promised you that The Factor's coverage of the war would be the most honest in the country, and we hope we're living up to that. If not, let us know via e-mail. As a journalist for almost 30 years, I am angry and saddened by some of the newspaper coverage in the USA. In fact, this is some of the worst stuff I have ever seen.
If you read The New York Times Thursday, you will be confronted with once again with fierce fighting all across its front page. One problem with all that ferocity -- it's not being backed up by the stats. Eight days into the war, the U.S. military reports just 14 Americans killed in combat -- dead from Iraq fire -- 12 others killed in other circumstances. And the allies control three quarters of the country.
Now we grieve for everyone killed in this war. But the truth is that the allies are fighting a gang of thugs, not organized combat divisions yet. The thugs are dressed in civilian clothes, even U.S. uniforms. They hide in mosques. They hide behind women and children. They execute prisoners. Forget fierce, cowardly resistance is more like it.
Then there's The L.A. Times. On its front page Thursday is the headline: "Every Day Gets Worse and Worse". The sub-headline reads: "Along a busy Baghdad street struck by missiles, shocked residents mourn and curse the United States". The article was written by John Daniszewski and the third paragraph tells the story:
"'Every day gets worse and worse,' Sahar, a 23-year-old with a birdlike voice, said with a sigh Wednesday. 'I can't imagine what will be next week.' Sahar, who did not want to give her last name, had been assigned by the Information Ministry to guide, translate and keep an eye on foreign journalists."
Can you believe it? This L.A. Times reporter is quoting a woman who works for Saddam about conditions inside Baghdad, and her quote is a page one headline! Unbelievable. Why don't you just put Saddam's latest press release on the front page, L.A. Times!
As we explained yesterday, some American newspapers are trying to bolster their editorial opinions about the war by shading their hard news coverage. Absolutely awful.
Then there's the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation. One of its own war correspondents has written a letter to the brass accusing his own company of dishonest reporting. We'll have this story is coming up.
Millions of people all over the world are getting distorted war coverage and this, of course, hurts America. As far as The Factor is concerned, I have made one mistake so far. I failed to anticipate that the Pentagon would fight a political war in Iraq. I understand why they're doing it, I should have foreseen it. I did not. I apologize for the mistake, but at least it was an honest mistake.
And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Our pal, Jay Leno, had something to say about Connie Chung Wednesday night:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW: I'm Jay Leno. Connie Chung is off tonight.
Did you hear about this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. What's up?
LENO: Connie Chung got fired. CNN fired her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa.
LENO: Whew! It was so cruel how she found out. She was watching FOX News.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, once again, we respect Ms. Chung. She gave it a good shot. The cable news business is brutal. It could be ridiculous.