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March 27, 2004

Comments

Byron Matthews

End of story. Or, rather, the real story is that one way to REDUCE the suicide rate among young men is to get them into the Army in Iraq!

In fact, if the suicide rate actually turned out to be higher for men in the military, compared with men in civilian life, that finding would be real news. That's because it would contradict everything researchers have learned about the determinants of suicide, from Emile Durkheim forward. We expect to find military suicide rates to be lower than civilian rates, and that's exactly what the data show.

The media's rule of thumb here is obvious: If the facts do not provide an opportunity to impugn the military and Bush's policy in Iraq, then it's OK to just make something up. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

IceCold

And let's not forget the hilarious chapter wherein the estimated rate of depression among Gitmo detainees was given wide and censorious play -- natch -- only to be followed by someone's observation that the comparable rate for the whole US population was estimated to be much, much higher. Sad but obvious rule of thumb for any intelligent newspaper consumer these days: you have to spend the time to look through the data or reports or surveys yourself, at a minimum; sometimes even that isn't enough. But you're rarely going to get either an intelligent or accurate read from the journalists doing the story, if the paper's a big one and the subject is anything related to Topics On Which There Is An Indefensibly Stupid Yet Unchallenged Anti-US or Anti-Bush Position.

Media Hound

This is absolutely appalling.

In a normal world, LA Times writer Esther Schrader, and her
Editor would be reprimanded.

In the real world, Schrader wrote the article with her editor's
enthusiastic approval.

"High Troop Suicides"  >>>  "Bad for Bush"  >>>  "Good"

Which equals "pathetic journalism."

One would think the LA Times would have learned their lesson
from their March 31, 2003 incident, where they fabricated a
front-page photo, falsely depicting troops pointing a weapon
at an Iraqi civilian holding a baby:

http://www.zonezero.com/magazine/articles/altered/altered.html
(scroll to bottom of page)

marc

The best and truest indicator of troop morale is and always has been, retention and re-enlistment rates. I believe both are at an all time high.

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