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Rumsfeld Says Media Exaggerating Iraqi Civilian Deaths
Defense Secretary Suggests Misreporting Swaying Public Opinion
By Bill Brubaker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 7, 2006; 3:57 PM

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today presented an upbeat report of the conflict in Iraq and said he agrees with the commander of the U.S.-led coalition, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., that the news media has exaggerated the number of civilian casualties in the conflict.

...But the news media in the United States and abroad has misreported the number of Iraqi civilians that have been killed and the number of mosques that have come under attack, Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference.

This misreporting, Rumsfeld said, has swayed American public opinion. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll reported yesterday that 80 percent of Americans believe that fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq will lead to civil war.

"Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side," Rumsfeld said today, referring to recent reporting on the conflict. "It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq."


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