Thursday, June 28, 2007

The News We Don't Get From Iraq

Employees of Private Security Companies or Private Contract Forces, those are the terms now. In the news, in 2004, they were "contractors". But whatever you call them, we're not hearing much about them.
Project for Excellence in Journalism
Missing in Action: News Coverage of Private Contract Forces in Iraq
Limited, Intermittent Reporting Leaves a Major Story of the War Largely Uncovered

June 21, 2007

Exactly how many Americans are serving in Iraq and what they are doing there might not seem complicated questions. Stories in the media regularly talk about the 150,000 U.S. military personnel in the Iraq theater. Coverage of events inside Iraq, which includes the actions of U.S. troops there, was the third-biggest news story in the U.S. media for the first quarter of 2007, according to PEJ research.

But those numbers do not include coverage of some 30,000 employees of U.S. and European-based Private Security Companies (PSCs), who work in some of Iraq's most dangerous areas.

These PSC employees are not like other contractors in Iraq. Many of them carry weapons and are hired to protect important people, facilities and convoys. They have been involved in firefights and scores of them, the exact number is unclear, have perished. Yet there are many basic unanswered questions about these armed forces, which augment by 20% the number of foreign troops in the country. ...(full article)
Private Contract Forces(?); Thirty thousand armed foreigners operating in Iraq! That's the size of the Bush/Republican 'Surge'! British troops have recently been reduced from 7000 to 5500.

We don't know who these "Private Contract Forces" are or who they're working for.

It's not because the public isn't interested. A PEW survey shows that news coverage on Iraq lags far behind public interest.

There's a monstrous media disconnect. Public interest in the situation in Iraq is five time greater than the news coverage. It really makes you wonder... are the major news outlets run by morons or is there something sinister going on? Even without making value judgements about the occupation of Iraq, it's clear that the public is

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We interrupt this post to bring you live coverage of Paris Hilton getting in or out of a car... [/snark]

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