A Correction About Jamil Hussein!

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.