- Jamil Hussein has not made an appearance but has supposedly confirmed his story about the burning of the six Sunnis three times. Until we see him, he’s Iraq’s “Captain Tuttle” (one has to wonder if Mr. Hussein is destined to suffer Captain Tuttle’s tragic fate).
- AP now admits that the part of the original story about four mosques burning is down to one that is “badly damaged by explosives and shows signs of scorching from fire.” I am not aware of any formal correctons sent out to AP subscribers to correct this stunning error.
- No name identification of the remaining five alleged victims has been done. A person from AP who called me back in response to my phone request to speak with John Daniszewski, and my message left for him (my message was left with a person, not on his VoiceMail), confirmed this fact this afternoon. I informed this person that I was having a hard time believing that in roughly six days, some local Iraqi news outlet hadn’t published the names of the victims yet (that is, if there are really five other victims). I was told they’re “doing all they can.”
- AP utterly failed to explain how their “story” can possibly be true in light of the following assertion by Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, spokesman for Iraq’s Interior Ministry: “Khalaf said the ministry had dispatched a team to the Hurriyah neighborhood and to the morgue but found no witnesses or evidence of burned bodies.”
And I’m sorry, AP’s last paragraph so over the top I wonder why they shouldn’t just be booted out the country for being immature, childish jerks:
Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the government imposed censorship on local media and severely restricted foreign media coverage, monitoring transmissions and sending secret police to follow journalists. Those who violated the rules were expelled and in some cases jailed.
Y’know, Eason Jordan at CNN admitted it (a couple of years before he falsely accused the US military of “targeting journalists“), but surely other media outlets were willing to self-censor their Saddam-era coverage of Iraq to maintain their precious “access.” What Iraq’s Interior Ministry is asking is a courtesy that is no different than any other municipal police department would request and receive, namely that they (the police, and by extension the military in this case) be allowed to have their side of the story presented before news outlets go off half-cocked and issue incomplete and possibly inaccurate reports about what may or may not have happened when incidents take place. Without the context from the police (or military), the chances that errors in reporting will take place are greatly increased. Since the errors and lies in Iraq appear to routinely exaggerate the level of violence and mayhem, and to routinely falsely claim or exaggerate the degree of civilian casualties, AP’s and others’ inaccurate reporting could very well be feeding the anger that leads to the violence. Why should I not think that this is exactly what AP wants?
It seems to me that AP and the rest of the press in Iraq prefers to get their uncorrobated, uncontextualized stories out as fast as they can before the police or military can even respond. Thousands of news outlets therefore get rumors and, as has already been shown in some cases, demonstrable lies passed off as “news.” If they end up being exaggerated, or not true, it’s “oh well,” and nothing else happens. And then these people have the nerve to play the freedom of the press card as the main element of the story (“Iraq Ministry Forms Unit to Monitor News”)? Horsecrap.
The past two weeks have shown anyone with open eyes that it has never only been about the suppression of good news, which has been going on for years. No, it’s much worse than that. The press blindly passes on spin and propaganda from the enemy and questionable (if even existing) sources, and dismisses or ignores what our military or the Iraqi government says. This isn’t journalism; it’s subversion.
The lesson is that no reporting out of Iraq that does not give at least equal play to the military’s or government’s version of events can be believed. Policymakers and planners who are placing any reliance on unbalanced media reports out of Iraq are gullible and dangerous fools.
UPDATE: Other voices –
- Brutally Honest: “Ballsy bastards, eh?”
- USA Today’s On Deadline has an update.
- Hot Air: “…. nothing more than â€œfake but accurateâ€ with the â€œfakeâ€ part as yet unsettled.”
- SeeDubya at Junkyard Blog: “The answer appears to be that he doesn’t really exist, at least as a Police Captain. But even if he did, AP’s defense is no defense. It just affirms their incompetence.”
- A Syria(s) insight from Dan Riehl.
- Michelle Malkin, at the current end of her day-long post, has confirmed with Centcom that Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf Al-Kenani is legit. See AP? That wasn’t so difficult.
- Dean Esmay totally misses the point in so many ways, and his commenters let him have it. Not four mosques, Dean — ONE. No names of five victims, etc., etc.
- Stephen Spruell at NRO’s Media Blog says “it remains a standoff” (perception, yes; reality, no), but adds this question: “Given our enemy’s goal of driving us from Iraq by undermining domestic political support for our mission there, shouldn’t the AP be making more of an effort to explain fully to its readers just who the hell this guy is?” Well yeah; that’s why it is objectively NOT a standoff, Steve.
- Blue Crab Boulevard: “(AP) could have actually done themselves real harm this time. One can but hope.”
- Don Surber’s demand from earlier today stands: “OK, show him. Until then, I can only conclude he does not exist.”
- Confederate Yankee: “In short, we aren’t questioning all of AP’s stories based upon a single story, we are questioning a broken methodology that lead to such a story. There exists in the mediaâ€™s reporting in Iraq no effective editorial checks at the very root level of reporting, to verify that the most basic elements of the story are indeed factual, much less biased.”
- Ace: “AP dodges the issue, stating they merely erred by calling him an official police spokesman. But that’s not the charge: The charge isn’t that he’s not a spokesman. It’s that he’s not a cop at all.”
- Allah at Hot Air, in the process of vetting the acknowledged difficulties with name similarities, characterizes the final paragraph of the AP report (the Saddam comparison) in his inimitable way as “undistilled douchebaggery.”
- LGF: “(AP) refuse(s) to deal with this endemic rot, even though the corruption has been exposed over and over again.”
UPDATE 2: Curt at Flopping Aces has a direct Q&A answer to the “burned bodies” question at his “UPDATE 1545hrs PST”:
Q There is conflicting news about burning six people in one of the Baghdad neighborhoods. What is the truth about this incident?
A This is another rumor; we dispatched our forces to the area where the rumor claimed the burning took place and found nothing. We also send a team to Al-Dab Aladly (medical center) and I was in touch with this center. No one can confirm any burned, dead body was received. MOD also has no information about this incident, either.
UPDATE 3: Countercolumn — “Kathleen Carroll, You May Resign Your Post.” Carroll is the same person who criticized the critics of Green Helmet Guy and the fauxtography in Lebanon. She was shown to be a complete fool, and her news organization exposed as a complete tool. The AP’s Board of Directors needs to be asking serious questions, assuming they don’t want to see the American press’s print circulation drop faster than Carl Lewis used to sprint.
UPDATE 5: More (to be updated continually for a while) from Democracy Project; Right Wing Nut House; a soldier checking in with American Thinker (“A review of the databases that painstakingly record every single incident in Iraq shows no evidence or report of the event. It is hard to believe that something as momentous as this would have escaped the notice of both the U.S. military and the entire Iraqi government.”);