"Are Iraqi Insurgents Emboldened by Antiwar Reporting?" U.S. News and World Report (March 12, 2008). Short answer: yes, but.
- Yes, there's a definite, consistent correlation between American news broadasting and publishing a spike in "antiresolve" statements, and the number of "insurgent" attacks in Iraq. The attacks increase by 7% to 10%
- But, the study isn't exhaustive
- Baghdad attacks weren't included
- "The study does not take into account overall cost and benefit of public debate." (public debate=better military strategy, previous studies said, apparently1)
- Maybe insurgents were going to attack anyway, and were just waiting for American media to start an "anti-resolve" spike.
"It shows that the various insurgent groups do respond to incentives and shows that a successful counter insurgency strategy should take that reality into account," is what one of the authors, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Jonathan Monten, explained. U.S. News said it this way, "their results show that insurgent groups are not devoid of reason and unresponsive to outside pressures and stimuli."
It also shows that what editors decide to publish makes a difference.
1 The idea, apparently, is that the news media, by giving free publicity to people of the "out now" persuasion, helped by "forcing the Iraqi government to more quickly accept responsibility for internal security." U.S. News may be right.