How Newspapers Lose Their Credibility

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 04, 2009 12:57 PM
There are two competing accounts of the President's efforts to secure more troops from Europe for service in Afghanistan.

The left-leaning Guardian shouts "Europe to contribute 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan: Troop decision at NATO summit provides political relief for Barack Obama."  The right-leaning London Times notes that "Barack Obama fails to win NATO troops he wants for Afghanistan."

The Times story goes on to specify that 

Just two other allies [besides the UK, who will send "several hundred" soldiers to monitor selections] made firm offers of troops. Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12. Mr Obama’s host, Nicolas Sarkozy, refused his request.

The Guardian story insists that

The countries agreeing to contribute further help, according to European diplomats, include Poland – which is to send as many as 600 troops – Spain, Croatia, Greece and the Netherlands. Germany is expected to confirm that it will be sending extra troops to the largely peaceful north of Afghanistan for the election on 22 August.

France is sending a further 150 military police to help train Afghan civilian police, arguing that last year it announced a large extra deployment.

Only time will tell who is right -- but it's remarkable to witness how the same set of facts can be spun so very differently.