A Correction About Jamil Hussein!

posted at 3:37 pm on December 25, 2006 by see-dubya

Unfortunately, the correction in question is not from the AP, but it’s a good one nonetheless. On Dec. 19th, Media Matters cranky-pants Eric Boehlert misquoted me and changed the meaning of what I said. He also wrote about the “deafening silence” from the “warbloggers” about the tragic murder of AP cameraman Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah–which I had blogged about. I set Boehlert straight here, and his latest column corrects it about as grudgingly as possible:

I did make a factual error in my last column. … I noted the “odd silence that emanated from the warblogs” at the time, which was accurate. I also wrote that warbloggers “uniformly ignored” the news. That was not accurate.

Warblogger SeeDubya at The Junkyard Blog did write about the cameraman’s death and offered his condolences. I’m guessing that’s the only instance I missed since warbloggers have combed over my column and nobody else has stepped forward with examples. That means dozens of warbloggers in the past month have breathlessly hyped the AP saga, devoting tens of thousands of word to the controversy and often suggested that reporters are doing the insurgents’ bidding. Then when news came that an AP cameraman was killed by insurgents, one warblogger wrote about it sympathetically, devoting approximately 50 words to the murder. I think that gives readers all the perspective they need.

One could easily turn the tables on Boehlert and say, for example, “No anti-war blogger has noted the death of (specific American troop X) or (specific piece of good news Y). Therefore, they all hate the troops.” But extrapolating that from a single uncovered story would be meaningless, incorrect, and laughably transparent. It’s as false a caricature as Boelhert offers of “warbloggers”: that all of us think every foreign correspondent is basically Ramzi Yousef with a microphone.

Not only is it a ridiculous caricature; it’s a ridiculous argument. Just because Boehlert decided that not enough bloggers on the right reacted to the death of Mr. Lutfallah, he concludes that we all must have done so just because we hate the AP. Bizarre.

At least Boehlert concedes that the stakes here are worth pursuing, and that “there should be hell to pay if it turns out that the AP passed along phony news.” Which is looking likely; after all, the Washington Post’s Baghdad chief dismissed the account of the six burned Sunnis in Hurriya as a “rumor”, denied by two Imams the day after it was supposed to have happened.

In other news about corrections, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies founder Cliff May deserves one. He was said by the Washington Post to have been “won over” by the Iraq Survey Group. May was consulted by the ISG, but in fact he was decidedly not won over, and told the WaPo as much in a letter to the editor.

The letter wasn’t published, May was told, because the author of the WaPo article “disagrees with your letter”. Apparently the WaPo scribe decided May was just wrong twice–in the original interview and then in the follow-up letter–about how he actually felt. (Perhaps May was a victim of what the old Marxists called “false consciousness”?) Yet again, everyone thinks they know how the Right thinks better than we do ourselves.

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well at least you got something from the left for Christmas, eh?

One Angry Christian on December 25, 2006 at 4:46 PM

Used to be that when the writer of an article disagreed with a letter, the letter would be published and the writer would add a response. Seems to me that was the least the Post could have done.

The “Free for All” section is no way to handle this. That’s the section that my kids and I laugh about every week, where every stupid pedant writes in to complain that so-and-so put a comma in the wrong place.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 25, 2006 at 5:28 PM

Then when news came that an AP cameraman was killed by insurgents, one warblogger wrote about it sympathetically, devoting approximately 50 words to the murder. I think that gives readers all the perspective they need

Actually, yes, it gives readers all the perspective they need, because if not too much was said in the blogsphere about that report or anything else for that matter, it is an indication that the bloggers are comfortable enough that the MSM did at least as credible/fair a coverage as could be expected to the story. The bloggers then wouldn’t have much to add, would they? Where the blogs come into serious play is when the MSM reporting fails the fact-checks, the date-checks, the sequence checks, misleading headlines, photo captions, doctored photos, mangled or make up quotes – then the blogs weigh in – usually after a tip from someone who was close to the story somehow and leaked that all wasn’t right.
As usual, even a grinchy, grudging acknowledgement is just another opportunity for the Old Media to make a nasty dig at bloggers.

naliaka on December 25, 2006 at 5:30 PM

Yet again, everyone thinks they know how the Right thinks better than we do ourselves.

Of course. They erect their strawmen of what ‘that party is capable of’, part and parcel of the circular reasoning that characterizes the echo(location) chambers that puts Monty Python to shame.

It’s far easier to argue with a caricature of the other side than the real thing. That being said, there are people for whom a caricature would be redundant.

The Monster on December 25, 2006 at 7:26 PM

One could easily turn the tables on Boehlert and say, for example, “No anti-war blogger has noted the death of (specific American troop X)

It may be charicature on my part, but I’ve yet to see the death of any troop mentioned by an anti-war blogger without it carrying the distinct message of “Bush has killed another one. Troops home now!”
I don’t specifically remember the murder of the AP cameraman, but I would be surprised to hear if he was sympathetically eulogized by anti-war bloggers with no anti-war message embedded in the eulogy.

As for Jamil Hussein, the AP simply can’t back down on this one. They already have one stringer in US custody for being involved with the insurgency. The AP is desperately trying to make him an innocent victim of circumstance and military overzealousness. Imagine how it would look if they had another stringer (or source) with questionable allegiances- it may start to appear that the AP hasn’t been careful in its hiring practices! For Bilal Hussein’s sake, Jamil Hussein has to exist.

MayBee on December 25, 2006 at 7:43 PM

I did make a factual error in my last column. … I noted the “odd silence that emanated from the warblogs” at the time, which was accurate. I also wrote that warbloggers “uniformly ignored” the news. That was not accurate.

I take major issue with his premise, “Lefti-anti- anything Bush” Bloggers routinely ignore actually instances of digressions from their own camp —yet LOOOOOSE it if a republican does it…when called to the mat they routinely, like Boehlert desperately search for instances they cry about hypocrisy…I’m really, really sick of it.

Remember, this issue is what caused Glenn Greenwald’s puppetry…he was pathetically searching for instances that disproved Liberal double standard.

Topsecretk9 on December 26, 2006 at 1:00 AM

Hey, See Dubya:

Good to see a new voice on here, if for no other reason than it tells me that Allah may actually be taking some time away from this place.

Insomnia led me online quite early today. I ran across this gem of an AP headline on Yahoo: U.S. deaths in Iraq exceed 9-11 count. Kinda makes you wonder how long they’ve been salivating to run it. I can just imagine they were almost wetting themselves when the number reached 2,970.

Charles has some comments on it over at LGF. I’ve taken a few minutes to write to AP with some personal observations on their obvious fixation with numerology.

For people who are so keen on this sort of thing, you’d think they would have written down the phone number for Jamil Hussein somewhere. Or maybe they will run a similar story when the number of discredited MSM stories on the war equals the number of 9/11 victims (if that milestone hasn’t already been achieved).

If their story is food for thought, I’m becoming bulimic.

SailorDave on December 26, 2006 at 4:41 AM

Insomnia led me online quite early today. I ran across this gem of an AP headline on Yahoo: U.S. deaths in Iraq exceed 9-11 count.

Wait, I thought Iraq, according to Reuters (where Yahoo gets their news) had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al Qaida. So, is this tacit admission that Iraq is part on the war on terror? Or is it just some other useless milestone (e.g., “Iraq has lasted longer the WWII!”)?

cmay on December 26, 2006 at 9:58 AM

More BS from the MSM. Won’t they get tired of it sometime? Their brains should have exploded much earlier than now.

tormod on December 26, 2006 at 10:24 AM

The bit about Cliff May pretty much sums up the arrogance of the MSM – their “opinions” are just plain more important than reality.

Man, do we need a less buddy-buddy press corps. They should eat each other alive over this sort of thing.

Merovign on December 26, 2006 at 1:19 PM

This is more proof that the left is not capable of logically debating anyone from the right so their only defense is to attempt to discredit their opposite. Disenginous is not a strong enough word to label verbage from the left.

docdave on December 26, 2006 at 7:01 PM

Dude, why do you guys give so much homage to a schwanzlicking leftist like Boehlert?

Jaibones on December 26, 2006 at 11:23 PM