YOUR NAME August 2, 2011 News Article on Helicopter Deaths in Afghanistan War For this assignment, I selected three articles which dealt with the recent death of about thirty American Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan on Saturday…
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The exact number of US soldiers who died is not known, as the US military has not confirmed it, but the news sources reported the number at either thirty or thirty-one. There is some confusion as to exactly how the helicopter really crashed. The helicopter was involved somehow in an attack on a Taliban compound in Wardak Province of the country, but it is not clear how active a role this played in its crashing. According to the New York Times, the helicopter was “shot down … after a night raid” (Rivera, Rubin, & Shanker). The BBC also says that the helicopter was returning from an attack of some sort, but does not specify the cause, simply stating that it “went down” and noting that NATO was still investigating the reasons (BBC). Al Jazeera reports a source as saying that “the helicopter was apparently taking off from a roof of a building during this operation when it then crashed,” although they note that the Taliban was quick to claim they had shot it (Al Jazeera). The three news articles cover this event very differently, both in terms of what related material they discuss and in terms of the language they use to talk about the event. Of the three, the BBC article seemed to be the most neutral both in tone and in its coverage. The headline of this article was “US special forces Afghan helicopter 'downed' by Taliban” (BBC). ...
So, for example, instead of just saying the helicopter was shot down by Taliban, it notes that “Reports say the Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban” (BBC). By always making a note of its sources and that some statements may not necessarily be correct, the article sounds neutral and does not really take sides or try to make you assume something about the events it reports on. What is also interesting about the BBC article is the range of people it talks to for its information. It does not just get all of its information from American sources, or all of its information from ones in Afghanistan. Instead, there is a more or less even mix of the two, with quotes not only from US Officials and Afghan government officials, but even from the Taliban and just ordinary residents of the area. The version of events that comes out of all this is one in which nobody is really sure exactly what happened yet, and it is implied that we should take what everybody is saying with a grain of salt. The language in the article is also very passive, such as “An increase in US troop numbers last year has had some success combating the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan, but attacks in the north, which was previously relatively quiet, have picked up in recent months,” (BBC) which leaves off who increased the troops or attacked and does not take sides. In contrast to this, the New York Times article comes down very strongly on the side of the Americans. This is not surprising as it is an American paper. Unlike the BBC article, which starts of by simply stating what has supposedly happened, this article begings with the phrase, “In the deadliest day for American forces
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