CBS can't get its numbers straight. An online report yesterday about the Israel-Hamas violence contradicts itself about the extent of civilian fatalities in the Gaza Strip ("Israel launches scores of airstrikes into Gaza"). The seventh paragraph of the story, appearing on the first stage, states that "at least half" of the Palestinians killed in "Pillar of Defense" are civilians. Here is a screen capture of that excerpt:
The minority of readers who bother to continue on to the second page of the story are then told a totally different figure:
We are accustomed to hearing about conflicting numbers on Palestinian civilian casualties, but not within a single article. CBS can't be right in both places, so which one is it? Exact numbers of casualties will vary depending on the time of day that reports were filed yesterday, but there is a broad concensus that the majority of Gazans killed as of yesterday morning, when the internally contradictory CBS report was filed, were combatants. Thus, AP reported yesterday:
In all, 35 Palestinians, including 13 civilians, and three Israeli civilians have been killed since the Israeli operation began.
According to Ha'aretz's Amira Hass, hardly known to err in Israel's favor, as of yesterday morning, Palestinian officials had said that of 39 Gaza fatalities, 13 were civilians (print edition, Nov. 18).
Likewise, Al Jazeera, another source hardly soft on Israel, reported yesterday:
The death toll from the conflict climbed on Saturday to 45: 40 Palestinians, at least 13 of them civilians, including women and children, and three Israeli civilians.
The Israeli air assaults yesterday killed 15 Palestinians, lifting the toll since Nov. 14 to 50, including 13 civilians and two infants, according to Ashraf al-Qedra of the Gaza ministry of health said.
So where does CBS come up with the "at least half" civilians falsehood? Unfortunately, the falsehood is not limited to this one online article. CBS correspondent Allen Pizzey reported on the Nov. 16 CBS Evening News broadcast:
At least 28 Palestinians have been killed so far, half of them civilians, including several women and as many as six children.