Tracking how the Press lies

This post was written by marc on October 24, 2003
Posted Under: Politics

Here are two stories about the same event – both available on Yahoo. The story is about how sucessful the Bush administration is at getting OTHER countries to donate to Bush’s war. The first (the lie) is from Reuters – the second is from the Associated Press. I present the lie first. Read the articles and answer this question. How much money was pledged from non US sources.

Link to Original

Donors Promise Iraq $33 Billion, Smashing Expectations
Fri October 24, 2003 02:47 PM ET
By David Chance and Mona Megalli

MADRID (Reuters) – International donors pledged at least $33 billion in aid and loans over the next four years to help rebuild war-ravaged Iraq on Friday as the response to a U.S.-led drive for funds far outstripped expectations.

Spanish Economy Minister Rodrigo Rato said the combined offer — made at a gathering of more than 70 nations in Madrid — was equivalent to twice Iraq’s annual national income and was a global vote of confidence in the country’s future.

“If you take the American contribution which is hopefully totally a grant, then we have at least $33 billion, of which $25 billion is grants,” said Marek Belka, a former Polish finance minister who is spearheading the fund raising efforts of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

“All in all we are overwhelmed, we are very happy, it surpasses all expectations,” Belka told Reuters.

He said the figure took the lowest likely contribution from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and excluded trade finance and grants in kind.

The highest estimate for pledges from non-U.S. donors came from the Iraqis themselves. Planning Minister Mahdi Hafez told reporters they had matched Washington’s promise of $20 billion.

That is on top of $20 billion promised by Washington and is far in excess of what had been expected a few weeks ago, when political divisions threatened the existence of the meeting.

“A little over six months ago Iraq was the black sheep of the international community,” Iraq Governing Council President Iyad Allawi told a news conference. “Today I am again proud to be Iraqi.”


Now – here is an exerpt from the Associated Press Story. Again – how much money came in from sources outside the United States? Also – note the diference in the headlines.

Link to Original

Iraq Rebuilding Money Short of $56B Goal
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer

MADRID, Spain – Iraq (news – web sites)’s postwar reconstruction received a boost Friday as nations from Japan to Saudi Arabia pledged $13 billion in new aid on top of more than $20 billion from the United States. But the figure fell well short of the estimated $56 billion needed to rebuild the country, and much came in the form of loans that could saddle Iraq with new debts.

Continued in extended section ….


In the first article you can see that it gives the impression that Bush raised $33 billion. The second article clearly states that Bush only raised $13 billion and that $20 billion was from America. When you read further in the complete second article you’ll see in the details that most of the $13 billion was loans and that only about $5 billion was actually donated.

The interesting thing is – if you reread the first article you will see that they sort of say the same thing just enough to give them plausable deniability. The can say that “technically” they aren’t lying. But they have a different standard of lying that I do and I’m calling it a lie.

The point here is that this is a tutorial about how the media lies and what to watch out for in this age of deception. You can get the truth even when everyone is lying to you. You just have to understand the lying process.

Here’s the rest of the article.

Secretary of State Colin Powell (news – web sites) and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow promised to immediately campaign to convert the loans into outright grants.

“The United States will work with other nations to get the level down,” Snow said at a news conference, while Powell acknowledged the contributions were solicited so arduously it was not clear how many were in loans and how many grants.

Iraq already has a debt of $120 billion, with annual servicing charges of $7 billion to $8 billion. The Bush administration, mindful of the burden, planned all U.S. aid to be in grant form, but Congress is still weighing that approach. Some U.S. lawmakers favor loans based on the prospect that Iraq will be oil-rich in a few years and able to pay its debts with oil revenue.

After the conference closed, Spanish Finance Minister Rodrigo Rato said it raised $33 billion in pledges, including the American money, a figure that did not include export credits, technical assistance or other non-cash aid.

European Union (news – web sites) official Chris Patten noted that past fund-raisers have experienced long delays in making good on pledges. “We need to get the money out of the banks and into Iraq as soon as possible,” he said.

The pledges were drawn from Asia and, far less so, from Europe. Japan offered the second-biggest pledge: $1.5 billion in grants for 2004 and $3.5 billion in loans for 2005-07.

Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion. The richest country in the Arab world said half would be in loans through 2007 and the rest would be in export credits.

However, the kingdom also hinted at supporting a U.S. push to relieve some of Iraq’s debt. Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the foreign minister, said Saudi Arabia was ready to reduce some of the $24 billion it was owed by Iraq, but he did not give specifics.

In an interview with European newspapers published Friday, Powell expressed regret that France and Germany weren’t pledging new aid. The two leading opponents of the U.S.-led war in Iraq are holding back to show their disapproval of the U.S. blueprint for restoring Iraqi sovereignty.

Some of the pledges were unusual. Vietnam offered rice to Iraq, and Sri Lanka gave tea.

China pledged $24.2 million. Poorer countries chipped in too, like Slovakia with $290,000. Bulgaria and Egypt offered technical assistance but no money.

Iran, which fought Iraq from 1980-88 in a war that claimed 1 million lives, said it would let Iraq export oil through Iranian ports and supply its neighbor with electricity and gas.

Ayad Allawi, interim Iraqi president, called the donors conference “a historic occasion for my country, which a little over six months ago was the black sheep of the international community.”

“Today, I am again proud to be an Iraqi,” he told reporters. “The pledges made today will help us get back on our feet.”

Much of the $13 billion came from international lending institutions: $4 billion from the International Monetary Fund (news – web sites) and $3 billion from the World Bank (news – web sites). While the bank might provide up to $5 billion, the lower figure was used in the calculations.

The bank had estimated Iraq would need about $55 billion in the next four years, far above what the conference raised in pledges. Powell called that an “ultimate goal,” and the bank has said much will likely be covered by Iraq’s oil revenues, private investment and other resources, rather than donations.

“These have been two wonderful days in the life of Iraq and the world,” Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, told the closing session. “Iraqis are shedding tears. Humanity has stood beside them.”

In all, the European Union is giving $812 million next year, said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, whose country holds the EU presidency.

That’s less than the $931 million the 15-nation bloc offered to Afghanistan (news – web sites) last year, reflecting the absence of France and Germany.

However, Germany’s deputy minister for economic cooperation, Erich Stather, said Berlin might offer export credits and would play a “constructive role … in finding a solution of Iraq’s debts.”

French Trade Minister Francois Loos said his country is “willing to envisage and adapt its treatment of Iraq’s debt compatible with the country’s finance capacity.”

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