More 'Grim Milestones', or just Grim Outlooks?

Today Gateway Pundit and NRO's Tank point out the good news in Iraq, the continuing and rapid decline of US troop deaths. Why is it that despite this good news, the MSM can only give us their own grim outlook?

I have opined on this subject before, and would like to point out that the news is even slightly better than it appears. The casualty statistics that have been trumpeted in all the media's "grim milestone" reporting are all inclusive. They include everything to include traffic acidents, heart attacks, and even deaths outside of Iraq.

Take a look at today's reporting which hypes the fact that this year was the "deadliest year".

While all the numbers you will read like those above will say 901 (UPDATED) troops died this year. But in fact, if you look at true "hostile fire" casualties, the number is only 765. That is a 15% difference, which is not insignificant.

As Gateway and The Tank mention, the month of Dec 2007 has seen only 24 (up from earlier) deaths, the lowest since Feb 2004. However, this number does include 10 non-hostile deaths which includes injuries and traffic accidents. So in reality, there were only 14 hostile fire deaths in Dec.

No matter how you cut it the statement that this was the "Deadliest Year Ever", while factually acurate, is a loaded statement and willfully disregards the current ground truth.

Additionally, I have always thought that a better way to look at this 'metric' (if you will) is to look at it as "Hostile Deaths per day".

While the graph looks much the same as the regular monthly metric, the ratio takes some of the ambiguity out of the numbers.

The bottom line of course is that no matter how you look at it, the numbers are down dramatically, and it leads back directly to the change in strategy.

Why is it so hard for the media to recognize this and change their tune? Could it be that they are pursuing an agenda??