Most of the papers that are in the public forum, are not interested in the military aspects of the problem. They are in the political game. They do not care if helicopters are there or not, or is helicopter support from the US command sufficient. What matters for them, is to beat the present government over the head, an issue that reverberates nicely with a public that wants to see the back of this government asap.
Though I share your frustration Dr North, that the MSM is not dealing with the military problem in Afghanistan, I do believe that seeing the back of this government asap, is the best thing that can happen for the country, and for the war effort.
Not convinced the Tories will do any better ... not to judge from the performance of their front bench defence team. But you are right. Helicopters are "totemic" - something easy the media (and the opposition pols) can grab hold of. If the Talib shot down a bunch of helos, they would still be saying we need mere helicopters - as indeed we would, simply to replace the losses.