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Dead Afghan Kids Still Not Newsworthy

November 29, 2011

This article by Peter Hart is re-posted from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.

Back in March, we wondered when U.S. corporate news outlets would find U.S./NATO killing of Afghan kids newsworthy. Back then, it was nine children killed in a March 1 airstrike. This resulted in two network news stories on the evening or morning newscasts, and two brief references on the PBS NewsHour.

On November 25, the New York Times reported–on page 12–that six children were killed in one attack in southern Afghanistan on November 23. This news was, as best I can tell, not reported on ABC, CBS, NBC or the PBS NewsHour.

There were, on the other hand, several pieces about U.S. soldiers eating Thanksgiving dinners.

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald was one of the few commentators to write about the latest killings. As he observed:

We’re trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: We’re just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting. Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: Two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious–pacifists!–point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done.

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