BBC’s anti-Iraq war bias

Remember back in 2003 how the British Navy’s flagship switched the TVs onboard from BBC News to Sky News because of complaints about the BBC’s war coverage, which many said contained a distinct pro-Iraqi bias?

The BBC is at it again, this time by trumping up desertion numbers in the British military. First, the story:

More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted since the start of the Iraq war, the BBC has learned.

Figures for those still missing are 86 from 2001, 118 from 2002, 134 from 2003, 229 from 2004, 377 from 2005, and 189 for this year so far.

The first thing they get wrong is simple math. The Iraq war started in 2003. If you take their totals from 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, it totals to 929. You have to add in numbers in the years prior they mentioned for them to get to the magic “over 1,000” number. So the correct way to report it would be to say that over 1,000 members of the British military deserted the military between 2001 and 2006.

This is where it gets really interesting though. The BBC reports this as though it’s very unusual, with the clear implication from the rest of its report being that the Iraq war is responsible for this ‘very unusual’ number of British military who have deserted.

But if you read this report from the BBC in June of 2000, you wonder why they’d report the story about desertions from the British military since the Iraq war started with such vigor (emphasis added):

Official figures show that record numbers of soldiers are deserting from the British Army.

Bullying within army ranks and pressures placed on soldiers and their families are some of the reasons given for the sharp rise.

Statistics show that last year around one in every 48 soldiers either deserted or went absent without leave, compared with one in 55, four years ago.
The Army insists it is taking a robust approach to the issue, with initiatives to combat problems such as bullying, racism, and sexism.

Just how many deserted in 1999?

There were nearly 2,000 recorded cases of desertion last year, some of which were spurred on by mistreatment or bullying by army superiors.

Nearly 2,000. In one year. Years before Afghanistan OR Iraq.

So why are the less than 1,000 desertions from the British military in 3 years reported by the BBC as though it’s an epidemic?

Anti-Iraq war bias, plain and simple.

Hat tip: USS Neverdock

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