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So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

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So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby StlSluggers » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:03 am

Guess it depends on what company you work for...

MSNBC.com wrote:U.S. forces mistakenly killed seven Afghan police and wounded four in an apparent friendly fire incident early Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.

Police manning a remote checkpoint in Nangarhar province said an American convoy backed by helicopters approached and opened fire despite their protests and calls for them to stop.

“I thought they were Taliban, and we shouted at them to stop, but they came closer and they opened fire,” said Khan Mohammad, one of the policemen at the post. “I’m very angry. We are here to protect the Afghan government and help serve the Afghan government, but the Americans have come to kill us.”

CNN.com wrote:Afghan police mistakenly thought U.S. troops on a nighttime mission were Taliban fighters and opened fire on them, prompting U.S. forces to return fire and call in attack aircraft, killing seven Afghan police, officials said Tuesday.

FoxNews.com wrote:Afghan police mistook U.S. troops on a nighttime mission for Taliban fighters and opened fire on them, prompting U.S. forces to return fire and call in attack aircraft, killing seven Afghan police, officials said Tuesday.
Quite a disparity between those stories, wouldn't you say?
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Coppermine » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:51 am

I realize this is going in the direction that MSNBC is anti-American but you have to look at a few things.

All three articles credit the Associated Press with the story. It is also a developing story which may have details come to light periodically throughout the day; that said, the CNN.com article has its story's posting time at about 7:50 AM. The MSNBC story was posted at about 8:30 AM. The Fox story has no timestamp, but due to its similarity to the CNN article, I would assume that it's from the same news release CNN used.

Given that information, I would assume that MSNBC's article is a newer, AP story. If it turns out that they're jumping the facts to get the news out quicker, that's when journalistic integrity takes a dive. The point isn't which of the networks is trying to be pro- or anti-American, but which one is giving us the facts? Since they all credit AP though, then you would think they'd all be the same.

But I never gave any of the three, 24 hour news outlets much integrity to begin with.

Edit: On further examination, the MSNBC story says it was updated 2 minutes ago and presents the same story. I'm willing to give MSNBC credit for presenting the facts as they are, rather than choosing not to report them in an effort to not seem un-American.... if that happens to be the case.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby TheRock » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:18 am

Interesting that msnbc doesn't feel the fact that the Afghans fired first to be newsworthy. They don't even mention it. I actually would have expected CNN to spin it that way also.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby josebach » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:19 am

The MSNBC story cited "Afghan officials" as their source. Fox didn't. It would only stand to reason that both countries might very well have a different version of events.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Amazinz » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:24 am

Check out what the Afghan president's spokesman said initially...

Karim Rahimi wrote:The police checkpoint in the area thought that they were the enemy, so police opened fire on the coalition, and then the coalition thought that the enemies were firing on them, so they returned fire back.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Coppermine » Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:25 pm

As of right now:

MSNBC wrote:KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. forces mistakenly killed seven Afghan police and wounded four in an apparent friendly fire incident early Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.

Police manning a remote checkpoint in Nangarhar province said an American convoy backed by helicopters approached and opened fire despite their protests and calls for them to stop.

“I thought they were Taliban, and we shouted at them to stop, but they came closer and they opened fire,” said Khan Mohammad, one of the policemen at the post. “I’m very angry. We are here to protect the Afghan government and help serve the Afghan government, but the Americans have come to kill us.”
...
There were conflicting reports over how the fighting started.

AP is credited with the story

CNN wrote:KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Mistaking each other for the enemy, Afghan police fired 49 rocket-propelled grenades at U.S.-led coalition troops on an early morning mission Tuesday, prompting the Americans to fire back and call in helicopter gunships, killing eight police, officials said.

The deadly lapse in communication underscores the wide gaps -- and apparent mistrust -- between U.S. and Afghan security forces. President Hamid Karzai's office labeled the deaths "a tragic incident" caused by a lack of cooperation and communication.
...
"The police forces were not aware of the coalition's operation," said Rahimi. "The police checkpoint in the area thought that they were the enemy, so police opened fire on the coalition, and then the coalition thought that the enemies were firing on them, so they returned fire back."
...
"We are here to protect the Afghan government and help serve the Afghan government, but the Americans have come to kill us," said Khan Mohammad, one of the policemen at the post, who said the police thought they were under attack by the Taliban.

AP is credited with the story

Fox wrote:KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan police mistook U.S. troops on a nighttime mission for Taliban fighters and opened fire on them, prompting U.S. forces to return fire and call in attack aircraft, killing seven Afghan police, officials said Tuesday.

Gunmen on motorbikes, meanwhile, killed two schoolgirls Tuesday in central Afghanistan, as U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops killed more than 24 suspected Taliban fighters during a battle in the south on Monday, officials said.
...
"The police forces were not aware of the coalition's operation," said spokesman Karim Rahimi. "The police checkpoint in the area thought that they were the enemy, so police opened fire on the coalition, and then the coalition thought that the enemies were firing on them, so they returned fire back."

AP is credited with the story.

The CNN and Fox articles are nearly identical, except the Fox article's second paragraph is a seemingly unrelated blurb about two schoolgirls being killed by gunmen on motorcycles before going into the friendly fire story.

All three articles contain the same quote from Khan Muhammad claiming “I’m very angry. We are here to protect the Afghan government and help serve the Afghan government, but the Americans have come to kill us,” but MSNBC has the quote in the beginning of the article as opposed to the other two.

However, after reading all three articles, I'd conclude that they're all pretty much saying the same thing and that the CNN article is probably the most, at first reading, objective.

The biggest difference is that MSNBC starts the article from the perspective of the police on patrol and then goes into the conflicting reports. CNN starts with a lapse-in communication between US and Afghan forces and then Fox pretty much says the same thing only it starts with the blurb about the gunmen on motorbikes and goes into what Karzai's spokesman said.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Amazinz » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:12 pm

One version suggest that the Afghan police opened fire first. The other suggest the the U.S. forces did. This is not a minor detail. :o
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Coppermine » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:24 pm

The CNN and Fox articles both make it pretty clear that each side is currently blaming the other and that it is unclear who fired first. MSNBC is much more ambiguous on that fact.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby StlSluggers » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:31 pm

Coppermine wrote:The CNN and Fox articles both make it pretty clear that each side is currently blaming the other and that it is unclear who fired first. MSNBC is much more ambiguous on that fact.

The problem with the MSNBC article is that it blames the US troops for the incident and then much, much later says, "But that's not certain right now." They even place that one guy's quote about America coming to kill all Afghanis before they point out the obscurity of the facts.

They should lead with the comment that the facts are unknown then go from there.
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Re: So What Is It: America Good or America Bad?

Postby Amazinz » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:34 pm

IMHO NBC's presentation is only ambiguous within the context of all the other details you know. The good news is that no one lives in a vacuum and most people are aware of the slight of hand tactics employed by the media. Still I think this is the worst form of reporting. It is lying by omission and that just doesn't fall on the AP writer but also the news agencies that chose to run the story.
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