The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) is out with a new analysis of the data used by CNN national security expert Peter Bergen on numbers of civilian drone casualties.
Bergen, and CNN, derive their data from Bergen’s New America Foundation (NAF) which the Bureau says is the most frequently cited drone data source by US media — including CNN.
CNN is reporting zero civilian deaths in Pakistan in 2012. The Bureau strongly disputes that claim, calling it unfounded. In fact the problem is much deeper, according to the BIJ:
It is not just in NAF’s 2012 data that credible reports of civilian deaths have been missed or ignored. NAF’s Pakistan data also contains many other inaccuracies. A number of confirmed strikes are omitted, for instance, and its overall estimates of those killed are significantly below even the CIA’s own count. The consequence is a skewed picture of drone activity which continues to inform many opinion-makers.
If BIJ is correct this is a major indictment of US media reporting on civilian causalities from the drone strikes by the Obama administration.