A Study of Bias in the Associated Press
By Peter Phillips, Sarah Randle, Brian Fuch, Zoe Huffman, and Fabrice Romero
On October 25, 2005 the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) posted to their website 44 autopsy reports, acquired from American military sources, covering the deaths of civilians who died while in US military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002-2004. A press release by ACLU announcing the deaths resulted from torture was immediately picked up by Associated Press (AP) wire service, making the story available to US corporate media nationwide. A thorough check of Nexus-Lexus and Proquest electronic data bases, using the keywords ACLU and autopsy, showed that at least 95 percent of the daily papers in the US did not to pick up the story nor did AP ever conduct follow up coverage on the issue.
The autopsy reports provide positive proof of widespread torture by US forces. Our research team at Project Censored felt that this story should have been front page news throughout the country. Instead the story was hardly covered and quickly disappeared.
One of forty-four US military autopsy reports reads as follows: “Final Autopsy Report: DOD 003164, (Detainee) Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy revealed bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominately recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah, Iraq.”
A second report describes how a 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004 in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was “undetermined” although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death.
Another Iraqi detainee died on January 9, 2004 in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated. He was standing, shackled to the top of a doorframe with a gag in his mouth, at the time he died. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries.
Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, “There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths.” ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, “These documents present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations.”
Our research showed that the Los Angeles Times covered the story on page A-4 with a 635-word report headlined “Autopsies Support Abuse Allegations.” Fewer than a dozen other daily newspapers including: Bangor Daily News, Maine, page 8; Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque Iowa, page 6; Charleston Gazette, page 5; Advocate, Baton Rouge, page 11; and a half dozen others actually covered the story. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Seattle Times buried the story inside general Iraq news articles. USA Today posted the story on their website. MSNBC posted the story to their website, but apparently did not consider it newsworthy enough to air on television.
Given that nearly every daily newspaper in the United States subscribes to AP wire service and that AP had in fact sent out the torture story led us to question if story selection bias was widespread within US newspapers and if bias was evident within the AP system itself.
Much much more at link. The many faces of AP, guiding people into their version of reality--no matter how much it doesn't fit.
A report as only ProjectCensored can present it.