Public Is Less Aware of Iraq Casualties, Study Finds


Twenty-eight percent of the public is aware that nearly 4,000 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq over the past five years, while nearly half thinks the death tally is 3,000 or fewer and 23 percent think it is higher, according to an opinion survey released yesterday…

Related Pew surveys have found that the number of news stories devoted to the war has sharply declined this year, along with professed public interest. “Coverage of the war has been virtually absent,” said Pew survey research director Scott Keeter, totaling about 1 percent of the news hole between Feb. 17 and 23.

The Iraq-associated median for 2007, he said, was 15 percent of all news stories, with major spikes when President Bush announced a “surge” in forces in January of that year and when Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, testified before Congress in September.

What a wild coincidence. News coverage is currently at about one-fifteenth the level it was for 2007.

I’m basically taking that as a surer sign of ongoing success in Iraq than anything else. If and when the enemy’s adaptations find a weak point and they exploit it, you can be sure that media coverage will return faster than you can say “if it bleeds it leads.”