Wednesday, 11 January 2017

CNN is biased in coverage of US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

CNN is one of world’s most watched news channels. But its popularity doesn't seem to have any affect on its bias in defence of the US government. It hardly criticizes the government of the United States.

Its coverage of wars in Middle East seems to create the impression that it’s trying to defend US interests. I say this because it tries to either hide or downplay the civilian casualties due to US airstrikes.

In the last year (2016), the United States dropped over 20000 bombs on Iraq and Syria. These bombs were responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians including women and children.

But CNN's coverage of US airstrikes largely ignored the civilian casualties caused by the airstrikes. A simple Google search about "civilians killed by US Airstrike" restricting results to CNN’s website return results that are clearly biased in the interests of the United States.

Link to search: civilians killed by US Airstrike
The result at the top starts with a defence of US policies informing us that the US cares about civilian casualties. It says:

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that the Pentagon will look into reports that the U.S.-led coalition in Syria has killed more than 100 civilians since June.

It then cherry picks an excerpt from The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and cites another source to decrease the number of casualties.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes Tuesday killed 56 people, including 11 children, in the countryside north of Manbij.
Citing accounts from local activists and documentary evidence, Amnesty International said airstrikes on nearby al-Tukhar village Monday and Tuesday killed at least 60 men, women and children in their homes.
The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said strikes in Manbij and al-Tukhar killed 95 people, and a number of civilians remained trapped under building rubble.

The SOHR story it links to says in its headline:

104 civilians, nearly half of them children and women killed by the international coalition warplanes since the beginning of Manbij m military operation

CNN seems to have tried to hide the fact that nearly half of the victims were “children and women”. The report also decreases the death toll by citing a source that documented lesser deaths. SOHR recorded 104 deaths, National Coalition recorded 95 deaths. CNN cited the lower and less reliable figure.

The second result is about US admitting to have killed civilians. It starts with quoting the US military:

The U.S. military announced Friday that airstrikes in Iraq and Syria had likely killed two civilians and injured four others during July. 
The majority of the five airstrikes took place in Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq, two major ISIS-controlled cities, according to a U.S. Central Command news release. 
Last week Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria, reported the killing of eight civilians from April to July. 
"It's tragic, and it's not something that we want to do. One of the burdens of command is to weigh the military value of a target, versus the potential for civilian loss of life," the spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, Col. Steve Warren, told reporters Wednesday. 
He also said that coalition warplanes had conducted 6,516 airstrikes in Iraq and 3,266 airstrikes in Syria.

It sounds more like a US military's defence of its airstrikes policy than news (maybe that's why people accuse CNN of spreading propaganda?). What CNN published is the casualties admitted by the United States, not what actually happened. These figures are 100% false, according to Airwars which has documented far more deaths than what is officially admitted by the US.

According to their documentation, several hundred civilians were killed by US-led coalition airstrikes in that period (April to July, 2015). CNN doesn't accept their documentation even though they cross check the reports of civilian casualties from multiple sources.

The third result says in its title, “4 civilians likely killed in US airstrike”. It seems, CNN doesn't like to confirm the casualty figures if it’s inflicted by the US Military.

The fourth result is about US striking Syrian government forces. The fifth result is about Russia's airstrikes in Syria. Both are entirely irrelevant.

This isn’t Google’s fault. Google has algorithms that crawl pages based on their page rank. If a news report is more popular and links to more pages, it will show up higher in the Google's search result page. If a news website gives priority to some stories and widely circulates them on their Facebook and twitter page, then these reports rank higher in search engines.

CNN seems to give more priority to reports about Russia and Syrian government which seems to be the reason behind these irrelevant result.