Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The First Casualty Of War: News Reports Match Misperception Of Civilian Deaths, Study Finds

Date:
November 6, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Researchers have found that the discrepancy in media reporting of casualty numbers in the Iraq conflict can potentially misinform the public and contribute to distorted perceptions and gross underestimates of the number of civilians killed in the armed conflict.

Researchers reporting in BioMed Central's open access journal Conflict and Health found that the discrepancy in media reporting of casualty numbers in the Iraq conflict can potentially misinform the public and contribute to distorted perceptions and gross underestimates of the number of civilians killed in the armed conflict.

In February of 2007 Associated Press conducted a survey of 1,002 adults across the United States about their perceptions of the war in Iraq. Whilst the respondents accurately estimated the death toll of U.S. soldiers (the median estimate was 2,974 while the actual toll at the time was 3,100), they grossly underestimated the number of Iraqi civilian casualties (the median answer was 9,890 at a time when several estimates put the toll at least 10 times that number and some as high as 50 times that number).

To assess the potential reasons for this discrepancy, Schuyler W. Henderson and colleagues at Columbia University examined 11 U.S. newspapers and 5 non-U.S. newspapers to collate the number of Coalition and Iraqi fatalities reported in the media between March 2003 and March 2008. They specifically looked at tallies (numbers of death over a period of time) and the descriptions of specific casualty events.

The results of their study showed U.S. newspapers reported more events and tallies related to Coalition deaths than Iraqi civilian deaths, although there were substantially different proportions amongst the different U.S. newspapers. In four of the five non-US newspapers, the pattern was reversed.

The authors of the study suggest that as newspapers reflect the interests of their readers, it is not surprising that U.S. newspapers describe more casualties related to Coalition deaths than Iraqi civilians, however they go on to question whether this is consistent with the goals and tenets of ethical and accurate journalism.

"We feel that this study casts an important light on the role of the media in covering armed conflict and communicating the human costs of war to the public" said Schuyler. "Our paper calls into question the role of the media in providing a tool for civilians to accurately gauge the true effects and outcomes of military action and ongoing warfare."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schuyler W Henderson, William E Olander and Les Roberts. Reporting Iraqi civilian fatalities in a time of war. Conflict and Health, 2009; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "The First Casualty Of War: News Reports Match Misperception Of Civilian Deaths, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105201443.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, November 6). The First Casualty Of War: News Reports Match Misperception Of Civilian Deaths, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105201443.htm
BioMed Central. "The First Casualty Of War: News Reports Match Misperception Of Civilian Deaths, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105201443.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

Reuters - US Online Video (July 22, 2014) Ten years after releasing its initial report, members of the 9/11 Commission warn of the "waning sense of urgency" in combating terrorists attacks. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins