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September 24, 2006

Associated Propaganda?

Jules Crittenden has the good taste (and the good manners) to quote and cite the always readable Darleen. He also gets in a few memorable quotes of his own on the question of Associated Press impartiality:

The AP has had one or two exemplary war correspondents in Iraq. But this strange war has changed so many things. In late 2004, as the U.S. military was moving to rid Fallujah of the terrorists who controlled it, the AP wanted some eyes inside the city. It hired Bilal Hussein. He gave the AP photos of insurgents setting up ambushes and firing at Americans. He gave them photos of terrorists posing with their freshly slaughtered victims. His pictures helped the AP win a Pulitzer Prize.

A blogger named Darleen at www.darleenclick.com said it very well in December of 2004:

“I have trouble with how cozy this AP photographer is with the terrorists. I realize he’s a Hussein from Fallujah, so his own personal feelings and associations may be on display here, but did The Associated Press . . . employ Nazis to get photos showing attacks on the Allies and the execution of Jews?”

I wish it stopped with the AP’s effort to give the enemy in Iraq a fair shake, as if terrorists were freedom fighters. Then I look at the AP copy I see nightly. The president of the United States gives a speech. The AP grants him a couple of fragmentary quotes before allowing his failed 2004 challenger and other opponents several full paragraphs to denounce him.

There is the bizarre work of Charles J. Hanley, an AP apologist for Saddam Hussein. He dismisses evidence of weapons programs and reports on the deep frustration Saddam felt when he could not convince the world of his good intentions, in those years when he was murdering his own people and playing a hard-nosed game of cat-and-mouse with U.N. weapons inspectors that led to their removal.

Last week, the AP gave us a lengthy series on the U.S. detention of terrorism suspects. The AP’s opinion was evident. Bilal Hussein was the poster boy. The salient fact that Hussein was captured with an al-Qaeda leader was buried. Al-Qaeda has killed and abducted dozens of journalists, Iraqi, American and European. Mainly Iraqi. I wonder: What’s so special about this particular Iraqi journalist that he could associate freely with al-Qaeda?

I look at Hussein’s photos. Terrorists trying to kill Americans. Terrorists posing with dead civilians. Bilal Hussein knows things about these men, who they are, how they operate. I’m thinking, Bilal Hussein looks like an accessory to murder. I’m thinking, I hope the U.S. intelligence agents who have him are getting good information out of him. And I’m wondering, who does The Associated Press want to win this war?

Read it. Read it all.

And then ask yourself how sincere the angst of AP apologists like Tom Curley can truly be? Patrick Baz, in a quote from my earlier post today, said of Iraqi stringers hired by news services like the AFP:

"We don't hire them for [their skills as] reporters; we hire them because we can't go there.... We teach them and try to explain to them what a real reporter is. Some become real reporters, some do it for money, some are involved in the insurgency ... or terrorist activities, but we stop them when we find them going too far."

But is the problem that foreign journalists can't, or won't go into harm's way? I am sure that many of these Iraqi stringers are brave and dedicated people. Surely not all of them are working for the insurgency. And that implies an even more disturbing aspect to the employment of Iraqi stringers, one hinted at by Curley's editorial:

Bilal has shared the hardships of all Iraqis in disputed areas -- hardships that are worse for journalists, [really?] whose job is to get as close as they can to places where guns and bombs are being used. His home has been riddled with gunfire. His family has fled. At least once he had to ditch his camera equipment to run for his life.

As my earlier post pointed out, the mainstream media have cut both their embedded and general reporting staff back drastically. This means these dangers are no longer being borne mainly by foreign journalists. They have, instead, been shunted off onto the backs of native-born stringers who are, presumbably, viewed as "more expendable".

They are also, presumably, cheaper. Yet the mainstream media hasten to assure us there has been no dimunition in the quality or reliability of war reporting. If this is so, that doesn't say much for the value of being a veteran reporter.

And moreover, such tactics bring to mind CNN's cowardly and reprehensible failure to report the torture and kidnapping of its Iraqi employees: one more story some in the media feel entitled to keep to themselves.

Posted by Cassandra at September 24, 2006 04:14 PM

Comments

I tend to agree that there has been no dimunition of the quality of reporting. Looking at what the BBC product looks like, it is hard to believe that truth is what these kindred spirits are after. Also, apparently some of these stringers are drawing two paychecks.

Similar stories on Powerline indicate that the anti-American media is everywhere, especially in New York and Washington.

Posted by: George at September 24, 2006 08:24 PM

"Yet the mainstream media hasten to assure us there has been no dimunition in the quality or reliability of war reporting."

Or looked at from another perspective, that can be interpreted to mean that said "reporting" is as unreliable as ever...

Posted by: camojack at September 25, 2006 08:27 AM

You're totally right.

Without terrorists like the AP photographer (I don't actually have any proof he's a terrorist but his name sure sounds like it) the US would surely be winning this war. Maybe if we lock up all the journalists, our troops can go out there and kill everyone they ought to without interference from the so-called "citizens" of the country they invaded or from biased media outlets representing the people (ours) that the military is supposed to serve.

Maybe with the evidence you have in your possession (you know, the stuff that backs up your claims that Bilal is a terrorist, a terrorist sympathizer, an al-qaeda associate and takes evident pleasure in the deaths of American soldiers) we can put this issue to rest.

Have a great day.

Posted by: gwb at September 25, 2006 07:31 PM

Wow. You're really, really smart.

We've locked up so many journalists so far on account of their last names.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 25, 2006 07:39 PM

I DON'T KNOW WHY ANYBODY IS SURPRISED BY WHAT LENGTHS THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA WILL GO TO AND HOW BIASED THEY ARE. WHEN I WAS IN FALLUJAH IN EARLIER 2004 WE GOT SO TIRED OF CNN THAT WE STARTED WATCHING FOX NEWS TO ACTUALLY GET A TRUTHFUL AND CORRECT NEWS REPORT. CNN WAS SO IN BED WITH AL JAZEERA WHEN I WAS THEIR. CNN MIDDLE EAST/CNN EUROPE NEWS REPORTS BASH THE US AT LEAST 10 MINUTES PER EVERY OUR ON TV.

Posted by: RICHARD DAUGHERTY at September 27, 2006 01:55 PM

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