Where’s Mohamed? Apologies needed from Media to the Mothers of Egypt

The stakes were high in Sinai. The numbers of dead soldiers reported in the Sinai attacks July 1, 2015 ran wild. Fear swept through Cairo. You could feel it in the air.
The media reported 70, 50, 53, 64, 30, 38, soldiers dead, and some taken captive! Then, at 7 pm, the Egyptian military announced its final count: 17 soldiers had lost their lives. No soldiers captured by terrorists.  
Reuters reported “Of the 17 soldiers killed, four were officers, and 13 more soldiers were wounded, the statement said. Some security sources put the death toll for army and police much higher.”
Terrorists didn't need to shed hundreds of bullets to sow fear if they or their proxies get journalists to report untruths like 64 or 80 soldiers killed and some captured. They get their kills without firing one round if media report such wrong and large numbers. 
Some media outlets kept reporting inaccurate numbers in the heat of breaking news but have stubbornly continued to not accept the military's count of 17 soldiers killed. The Associated Press report still wrongly alleges that the "militants also took soldiers captive.” To their credit, the New York Times did correct, cutting AP’s false claim that soldiers had been captured by 11:16 am the day of the attacks.
The Independent tells iMediaEthics it continues to stand by its number of "at least 64” dead, which means it claims 47 more young men were killed than were officially counted.     
How is this possible among close-knit families in villages and every male having to serve throughout Egypt? 
This claim of 47 more dead soldiers than the official count is not just a number, but hides a serious and extraordinary allegation of corruption in the military and cooperation of 47 mothers. In science, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. 
Where is your extraordinary evidence? iMediaEthics asked The Independent editors in an email: How can there realistically be so many dead soldiers necessitating so many people with emotional investment to cooperate in a cover up? 
A cover up requires a new and different set of evidence and sources than the anonymous sources who made The Independent’s July 1 claim that 64 soldiers were killed. 
The most logical alternative than a massive cover up, iMediaEthics told The Independent editors, is your anonymous sources were wrong. 
Did The Independent ask the Egyptian Defense Ministry for their explanation or rebuttal regarding possible mistakes or their suggestion of corruption in the military’s count? 
“No,” Defense spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said.
As part of seeking the truth, on July 1, 2, did Associated Press (AP), The Guardian or Sky News explain why their soldier death numbers were much higher than yours, or ask to see evidence that your numbers are right? The Guardian reporter declined to respond. AP, Sky News did not comment by press time. 
“No, never, I am quite sure,” Samir answered. “No international media has ever called or messaged us on Facebook to conduct a [personal] interview, just you and CNN,” Samir told iMediaEthics. This is a major methodological and ethical failure. Major news outlets have to develop key spokespersons as sources, and at least meet them, when reporting seriously on security and defense.
What about the media’s wildly different numbers of dead soldiers that recently add the assertion of 21 killed? “Not the truth, only 17. I insist,” Samir told iMediaEthics. 
So six weeks have passed. Where are these 47 men? How could 47 Egyptian soldiers loved by families and friends, often engaged to marry, supposedly vanish? Is the media speculating that Egyptian mothers have accepted bribes for their silence?
What is the mechanism that would realistically keep 47 brave sons of Egypt unremembered and families, friends and whole villages silent? The media needs to explain.  
Does the media want you to seriously believe that out of 47 young men after six weeks, there is not one mother or young woman, slightly more than a girl with a marriage contract, crying out in her village and demanding to know, “Where’s Mohamed?”
Is it possible that 47 mothers, an entire village, an entire nation would simply leave their sons unacknowledged in the Sinai sands after sacrificing their lives for Egypt? I may be an American, but I say impossible!
The mothers of Egypt deserve a correction and an apology if the media continues to fail to provide any evidence that the official count of 17 dead soldiers is wrong.  
For some media outlets, one shady anonymous source will do. Egyptian mothers of draftees protecting Egypt and all the readers of what was thought to be elite international media deserve better.
Rhonda Roland Shearer, an American from New York City, is editor in chief and publisher of iMediaEthics, a media ethics news site. She is reporting on media in Egypt and has been living in Cairo since June.

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