The news outlet that cried “Wolf.”

Here’s a quick chronology, followed by my comments.

First, during this summer’s Israeli/Hezbollah War, AP, along with several other news outlets, was shown to have relied upon doctored and staged photographs, and false and/or misleading stories fed to them by local stringers sympathetic to Hezbollah. (You can read all about it here, at LGF.)

Second, for some time in the Iraq War, major news outlets have been caught relying on information, some true and some false, that they received from local “reporters” whose manifest sympathies lie with the insurgents. Many of these stories and photos have been nothing more than propaganda for the insurgents. I don’t know offhand whether AP has been caught in this propaganda net, but I suspect a little research would show that it has.

Third, this weekend, AP reported that Shiia militia burned six Sunni men alive.

Fourth, Curt, at Flopping Aces, dug into the story and discovered (a) that the source the AP cites is probably an imposter and (b) that the US Army has no knowledge of the alleged event — which is pretty surprising, because it was reported as a huge deal. Curt found a whole bunch of other stuff, which you should read at the source, but all of which points to problems, big problems with the AP story.

Fifth, the AP just fired back with the following story, which I read at Michelle Malkin. Please note the language I’ve highlighted:

By Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press BAGHDAD — The attack on the small Mustafa Sunni mosque began as worshippers were finishing Friday midday prayers. About 50 unarmed men, many in black uniforms and some wearing ski masks, walked through the district chanting “We are the Mahdi Army, shield of the Shiites.”

Fifteen minutes later, two white pickups, a black BMW and a black Opel drove up to the marchers. The suspected Shiite militiamen took automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers from the vehicles. They then blasted open the front of the mosque, dragged six worshippers outside, doused them with kerosene and set them on fire.

This account of one of the most horrific alleged attacks of Iraq’s sectarian war emerged Tuesday in separate interviews with residents of a Sunni enclave in the largely Shiite Hurriyah district of Baghdad.

The Associated Press first reported on Friday’s incident that evening, based on the account of police Capt. Jamil Hussein and Imad al-Hashimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, who told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes.

AP Television News also took video of the Mustafa mosque showing a large portion of the front wall around the door blown away. The interior of the mosque appeared to be badly damaged and there were signs of fire.

However, the U.S. military said in a letter to the AP late Monday, three days after the incident, that it had checked with the Iraqi Interior Ministry and was told that no one by the name of Jamil Hussein works for the ministry or as a Baghdad police officer. Lt. Michael B. Dean, a public affairs officer of the U.S. Navy Multi-National Corps-Iraq Joint Operations Center, signed the letter, a text of which was published subsequently on several Internet blogs. The letter also reiterated an earlier statement from the U.S. military that it had been unable to confirm the report of immolation…

…The U.S. military said that neither police nor coalition forces had reports of such an incident.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry later said that al-Hashimi, the Sunni elder in Hurriyah, had recanted his account of the attack after being visited by a representative of the defense minister…

…Seeking further information about Friday’s attack, an AP reporter contacted Hussein for a third time about the incident to confirm there was no error. The captain has been a regular source of police information for two years and had been visited by the AP reporter in his office at the police station on several occasions. The captain, who gave his full name as Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, said six people were indeed set on fire.

On Tuesday, two AP reporters also went back to the Hurriyah neighborhood around the Mustafa mosque and found three witnesses who independently gave accounts of the attack. Others in the neighborhood said they were afraid to talk about what happened.

Those who would talk said the assault began about 2:15 p.m., and they believed the attackers were from the Mahdi Army militia loyal to radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He and the Shiite militia are deeply rooted in and control the Sadr City enclave in northeastern Baghdad where suspected Sunni insurgents attacked with a series of car bombs and mortar shells, killing at least 215 people a day before.

The witnesses refused to allow the use of their names because they feared retribution either from the original attackers or the police, whose ranks are infiltrated by Mahdi Army members or its associated death squads.

Two of the witnesses — a 45-year-old bookshop owner and a 48-year-old neighborhood grocery owner — gave nearly identical accounts of what happened. A third, a physician, said he saw the attack on the mosque from his home, saw it burning and heard people in the streets screaming that people had been set on fire. All three men are Sunni Muslims…

That’s the rundown. Here’s my comment about the language I highlighted in the above “news” report:

Who are these two unidentified AP reporters? If these are the same types of stringers who have been filing false reports and shilling photos during both the Iraq War and the Israeli/Hezbollah War, why should we believe these further assertions? Frankly, AP doesn’t have any credibility with me. I’d like some independent corroboration. I’d be a whole lot more interested in this alleged proof if the AP would name the reporters who went back to the neighborhood to update their witness list.

I’m also sorry to say that, by this time, I’m unlikely to believe any local witnesses, and would accept only forensic evidence from the site itself. Because the story has legs, and because the insurgents’ favorite news outlet has been challenged, I think any witness who comes forward now is tainted. It’s just as likely that these purported eyewitnesses are plants who have been carefully groomed to give “nearly identical” and possibly false accounts of something that may or may not have happened.

AP has only itself to blame for this, even if the story is in fact true. Having blown its credibility with a series of demonstrably false stories in the past several year, why should I trust it now?

UPDATE: Read about CENTCOM’s response to the AP’s latest salvo in the War against the American Military. By the way, I love Charles Johnson’s new name for AP — Associated (with terrorists) Press.

UPDATE II:  You can see Michelle Malkin’s clear rundown of the whole sequences of events here, at Hot Air.

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Comments

  1. Wayne Floyd says

    Bookworm – did the AP report say exactly what the three witnesses actually saw? Did they actually see the people set on fire or the bodies burning? Where are the bodies? In the section you highlighted at least one “witness” did not seem to see anything he just heard people in the street say some people had been burned.

  2. says

    Two of the witnesses — a 45-year-old bookshop owner and a 48-year-old neighborhood grocery owner —

    Can’t be that many 45 year old bookshop owners you know. We can put out a hit just in general. You really shouldn’t be giving out these details if you want your informants to remain alive and anonymous.

    Frankly, AP doesn’t have any credibility with me. I’d like some independent corroboration.

    Bookworm, at this stage in the game, I’d settle for just “sane” corroboration.

    Having blown its credibility with a series of demonstrably false stories in the past several year, why should I trust it now?

    you should trust them because they are predictably pliable in terms of how they can be manipulated.

  3. jg says

    What is more disturbing for me is that the American press indulges in sensationalising the horrors of war–more so if fabricated– for the interest and fascination of its public. Americans are denied the factual reporting of an ongoing struggle in which our best live and die to defend us, yet the Mainstream press spares no expense in exaggerating stories of torture and death as if they were prime time fare. Which they are, leading the headlines at many major ‘news’ sites.

    Have the AP become as devoted to violence and murder as the subjects of their news stories? Do they trade in death as do the terrorists they love to flatter? And why do we, the moral world outside Iraq, allow them to continue their tales of pillage and rape of a people?

  4. says

    Our dismal performance in the information war is frequently blamed on the Bush administration — in part because he says nookler instead of nuclear. But who’s placing the blame there? The left in and out of the media.

    The primary reason we are losing the information war is that our media is on the wrong side. Their consistent negative drumbeat fuels worldwide MSM because journalists all over the world look to American media as the media they’d like to work for.

  5. says

    Bush doesn’t blacklist the media. That’s one problem. Second problem. Bush doesn’t fire the Pentagon press system which is so messed up that they are cracking down on military bloggers and imbeds.

  6. alef says

    First, I am not sure what you mean when you describe yourself as cryptoconservative. You sound to me rather like a Pelosi clone out to confuse patriotic Americans.

    Second the fact that USArmy and the ministry of interior claim they heard nothing does not prove anything. Do not forget that this happens in a city where there is electricity for 6.5 hours a day and everyday decapitated or otherwise mutilated corpses are left on the streets.

  7. Morley says

    So, is your point that if those six people hadn’t been burned alive then things are going pretty well in Iraq? Or, maybe, is your point that if the elite left wing media establishment would only run more stories about plucky Iraqi entrepreneurs then we would be much farther along toward a free Democratic Iraq. I don’t know, maybe your point is that Iraq already is free and democratic and a beacon for everyone in the Middle East but no one know about it because of the lying dogs at AP. It sure is sad that the press was able to screw up that country so badly.

  8. says

    Wow, Morley. Your inability to read and understand a straightforward post is impressive. My point is a simple one: the media relies on unreliable sources who lie. When these lies are exposed, the media then tries to cover for that fact. I don’t recall saying anything at all about whether conditions are good or bad in Iraq, or better or worse now, as opposed to then. I just point out that, with increasing frequency, we see that the major news outlets lie.

  9. Morley says

    Bookworm, I think you are being a little disingenous by ignoring the subtext of your post, which, judging by your credentials as a “cryptoconservative”, seems pretty clear; that the liberal media have an anti-american agenda. Of course, I could be mistaken. I’ve never seen your blog before. Maybe you are a sincere and dogged media watchdog. If that is the case, then I apologize. I’m just wondering if you were as critical before the war about Judith Miller’s single-sourced WMD stories, or the mainstream press’s acquiescence, or even the mainstream media’s stubborn refusal to point out when President Bush simply lied, like when he said, “We found the weapons of mass destruction,” or that Saddam had “kicked out” the weapons inspectors before the war. I can find much to criticize about the media as well, but often people on the right use it as a red herring to avoid honest criticism of this administration and its policies, which was the point I was trying to make.

  10. says

    Plenty of honest criticism, but it ain’t coming from the media.

    I’ve seen this trick before. This fake balance, which they think of as consistency, but really isn’t. After all Morley already knows what he wants the media to report. So why does he seem to be talking to Bookworm about “balance” or “consistently” watchdogging the media?

    Morley’s not interested in consistency, but in having the media as a puppet.

  11. jg says

    Morley, I have yet to see honest criticism of the media and the Left outside the conservative blogosphere. That’s where you are now, by the way. Welcome to the intellectual stimulation.

    Perhaps you can show me that ‘fairness’ that seem to be the ‘subtext’ of your post.

    You seem intent on joining media and the Left in accusing your government. Part of the ‘un-biased’ herd. But what if you’re wrong?

    How do YOU know YOU’RE right? And, IF you’re wrong– Then what?

    Your first comment about terrorism in Iraq is appalling and amoral, by the way.

  12. Morley says

    All right, first I would like to address Ymarsakar. Although I do like puppets, I’m not interested in having the media as a puppet. I just want news people to do an honest job and to employ decent journalistic standards. I get my news from a variety of sources (I even watch FOX News, which I see largely as a joke, although Chris Wallace usually plays it pretty straight down the middle). My most trusted source of television news is the News Hour on PBS with Jim Lehrer. I challenge anyone out there to provide a concrete example of bias from this program.
    To jg, I can’t agree with your premise that I am joining media and the left because I don’t believe the media and the left are together. As to how I know I’m right, I guess I would like to go back to my main point. Last week in Iraq more than 200 people were killed in one day in the deadliest bombings since the U.S. led invasion. This in itself is an horrific event. No one is disputing the facts about this, so I know I’m right that deadly bombings took place in Iraq. If six more people were killed by immolation, this was an horrific addendum to this tragedy, but doesn’t change the overall picture that Iraq has degenerated into a chaotic scene of brutal killings and brutal reprisals. The preponderance of the evidence has shown that on all of the major disputes about Iraq; WMD’s, the lack of a relationship between Sadaam and Al Quada, whether the early post-Saddam violence was an insurgency, whether free market capitalism could flourish in post-war Iraq, whether the administration failed to adequately plan for the occupation, the “liberal media ” have been right on the button. Have the conservative bloggers been right about any of these things? So, I’m pretty confident I am right about a lot of these issues, and if I’m not, well, what are you worried about? The “liberal media” couldn’t stop George Bush from taking office, it couldn’t stop the war. And as far as bias is concerned, I couldn’t help notice that your weren’t shy about calling some of my comments “appalling and amoral,” but had nothing to say to Ymarsakar, who I believe suggested that the US start burning people alive as a strategy to reduce violence in Iraq.
    I will leave now so you people can get back to agreeing with one another.

  13. says

    On the one hand you have the facts. On the other hand you have interpretations and manipulations of these facts. Sometimes they do go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. That’s why connecting the factual bombings that Morley spoke about, to the “media getting right” the interpretations and false manipulations of such information, is burning a bridge too many.

    And as far as bias is concerned, I couldn’t help notice that your weren’t shy about calling some of my comments “appalling and amoral,” but had nothing to say to Ymarsakar, who I believe suggested that the US start burning people alive as a strategy to reduce violence in Iraq.

    JG doesn’t like to argue with me, this is independent of whether we actually agree. I’ve noticed that I can say a lot of critical things on certain blogs without getting the reaction that a Lefty would, because I hit to the heart of the frustration about Iraq and Bush. A fake liberal, if he went to blackfive and started talking about war this bush that, would get into an argument automatically. I go there and talk about the same subjects, in a different light, just as critical if not more so, and nobody finds it particularly outrageous enough to argue about it. It is not that they agree, it is just that they know where I’m coming from. I may not be on their side precisely, but I’m much nearer to their orbits than the Left. Same with Jimbo. He starts talking about the draft, ranting about Parliamentary systems and votes of no-confidence. Don’t agree, but I get where he is coming from.

    The Left doesn’t really understand this phenomenon because it is part of the glue that holds a society working together as a team. The left, the media being a perfect exemplar, would rather find divisions and create class warfare than create unity.

    But to get back to what is really important. Morley doesn’t seem to distinguish between facts and the media purposefully interpreting those facts incorrectly. Because of that, there is a problem when Morley talks about Bookworm watchdogging the media. I and I dare say Bookworm, do not watch the media to catch factual mistakes. We watch the media because they are a propaganda apparatus, and there are specific traits and behaviors that a propaganda apparatus has. Few people are interested in watching the media to catch minor mistakes due to human nature, that is both boring and unimportant. The mistakes we catch aren’t really mistakes, but purposeful distortion. Which is different from what Morley means by “watch dog”. We don’t watch for whether the media “gets it right”, because this presupposes a standard of what is right, which would automatically be based upon our own personal prejudices and judgements. When studying the enemy, one must remove all ego from the mix, as much as possible. To see things through the eyes of the enemy, in order to understand their motivations. Such should be the method used against the media. When studying media bias and “mistakes”, one should not base it upon whether one thinks the media got it “right” or not, but based upon whether the media knowingly distorted information and whether the media reasonably could be expected to do better with the information at their disposal. We know that the media knows that we know that they use stringers and that stringers are a poor replacement for proper imbeds. The judgements the media use, are transparent given what we already know to be true and given what we already know of the media’s actions.

    For some weird reason, I tend to view Morley’s view on “straight down the middle” as meaning being right half of the time and being wrong half of the time. Where the viewer, Morley, agrees 50% of the time and disagrees 50% of the time with the rest. That, to Morley, would most likely be straight down the middle. The New York Times editor said the same thing, based upon the same principle. That people “agreed” with him and “disagreed” with him, both on the Left and the Right. This “agreement”, this “perspective” from the readers on whether the Times got it right or wrong, meant that they were ‘straight down the middle’. I don’t think so, people. That kind of logic has problems, which I think leads to why Morley doesn’t quite understand the motivations of people like Bookworm concerning the media.

  14. says

    Look, the basic argument can be summarized with a simple construct. To Bookworm a lie is when people know something to be truel, and says or does something that is the complete opposite of what they know to be true. To Morley, a lie is mostly about whether he thinks someone got it right or wrong.

  15. says

    Morley, regarding being a media watchdog: I’ve never much cared for the American media. When I was still on the Democratic side of the fence, I realized that it had become a thrill-seeking entity, with every reporter out for the next Watergate. (I wasn’t thrilled with the Lewinsky witchhunt either.) I think that media dishonesty has increased, because one can’t get around the fact that the 80% Democratic press is writing about a much reviled Republican president.

    Two things have changed, though, since I became conservative, making it easier and more important to track media dishonesty. First, the internet means that more unfiltered information is available to everyone and it means that more minds are actively analyzing every story and then disseminating the results. Second, with a war on, media duplicity (and secret-breaking) suddenly has huge national security dimensions. Propaganda’s always been out there, but in this assymetrical war, it matters more and the Jihadists have a willing co-conspirator in a hostile and credulous American and European press.

  16. Danny Lemieux says

    YM, I congratulate you on one of your most clearly stated posts, yet. I actually followed every twist and turn of your argument and agreed with it (thereby providing more grist for Morley’s snarky comment). Just one comment, just what exactly do you do for a living that allows these thoughts to flourish.

    Book, what I appreciate about you is that you were once on the Democrat Left and are therefore able to perceive both sides of the issues from opposing worldviews. This is something that the Morleys, Gregs and BigAls of the world lack – they are locked into an ideological template that probably won’t be shaken until something very, very big happens in their lives.

  17. bert says

    There is no need to talk about propaganda during wartimes. What is sure is that propaganda is coming from both sides. I just have to talk about Jessica Lynch, or the picture of Hussein’s statue being toppled, or the stories planted in iraqi papers directly by US forces.

    As for the name of the AP journalists, I agree with you, we should know them, and the same for all those anonymous US officials quoted in various papers each and every week.

  18. says

    That’s a nice thing to say, Danny, thanks. I don’t think my profession had anything to do with the things you are wondering about. Because I tend to think that any human being can acquire knowledge and wisdom, they are not limited nor even helped by what they do in life. What matters, as I see it, is what you think about, how you think about it, and how long you think about it.

    I’ve seen this kind of media discussion before. Meaning, the perspectives from Morley, I understand because I’ve seen it before. I wouldn’t say that i have spent 4 years thinking on this, but I will say that it started 4 years ago. This media problem, fall of Baghdad, media jubilation. Because I’ve spent time with this subject before, and written about it, I can devote more time and energy to communicating the concepts I have found. Just as a chess master can look at a chess position and recall exactly what he should do because he has seen it before. Whereas a neophyte has to spend time analyzing the positions and stressing himself out.

    One of the few bits of wisdom I picked up was from a California college professor, who was teaching philosophy, namely Epistemology and Logic. I’m in Georgia, so he wasn’t my professor. But he did concur with me, when I was emailing him and I said this. “Yes, I am ignorant of some of the information that you have, but doesn’t this also give me a fresher perspective from which to look at the picture?”

    Someone who is ignorant on a subject has one advantage and one disadvantage. Disadvantage is he starts off slow, behind everyone else in knowledge and experience. Advantage is that he comes at it with a fresh perspective, he isn’t chained down by the prejudices of those who “know what works or doesn’t work”.

    Bookwork, by readjusting some of her life beliefs or alliances, share in some of this. This fresh perspective. True, she didn’t start off as a believer in conservative values, I dare say, but she came to it in the end, and brought with her a viewpoint that was very interesting, wise, and useful. Trish and Don has some of it as well. They didn’t start off as believers because of their religious backgrounds, but tried to look at things in a new manner. How they think, therefore is different than a person who simply learned what he knew and that was just it.

    I understand your question, Danny. You must wonder how do I make these connections. Intelligence has something to do with it, but it is a minor part I believe. I think the way I do primarily because I am intensely curious. I am the person who always asks why, and how, and for what reason does this thing exist. When I see a new subject, Danny, I go at it. I write about it, I think about it when I see things that seem to be unrelated, and I try to form connections by thinking about my thinking of the new subject.

    Out of the box thinking, you have heard.

    I do have one thing to be thankful for, Danny. And that is military history, military science, the Art of War, and strategy. Because in order for me to learn about these subjects, I simply could not just “memorize” them. I had to comprehend them, and to comprehend such subjects, I had to understand about humanity. And in learning about humanity, I learned about myself, and how to increase my ability to think and learn.

    The first time I read Art of War, I could feel my mind stretching, as if it could not hold the contents of what I was reading. And I only, of course, understood a fraction of what the treatise was saying. Only a fraction. The rest came after I had seen more of life and could connect the theory to the reality.

    I think I can relate it to martial arts, Danny. A student trains in the lower levels by practicing the basics, “memorizing” the right way to do things. As you go higher up, you still practice your basics, but you also begin to understand the principle, the reasoning, the why of the matter. The bigger picture, not just the separate components. The discipline, concentration, and goal making skills needed for martial arts dedication, can be applied to life. Correct?

    To cut a long thing short, here’s a youtube video on physics.

    You might like it, and it is an example of that which I am trying to convey. I don’t see things in one color or way. I try to remain open to the possibilities, the connections. Situational awareness, I believe you might call it.

    One of the reasons why I visit Neo-neocon and Bookworm to read their thinking, is because by observing how they think, I can improve my own.

  19. says

    Lynch was almost entirely a media event. In point of fact. The Pentagon provides the media with many many hours of green and white videos shot by them, their dogs, and anyone else in the military. The Pentagon also provides the media with access to hours of executions of women and children by the terroists. None of it is used by the media, because the United States military has no propaganda apparatus. The only thing that even comes close, is milblogs and imbed reporters.

    People who don’t even know what propaganda is, can’t really tell where it is coming from, you know.

  20. Morley says

    Bookworm, In a broad sense, I can agree with your critique of the mainstream American media. So much of it is trivial and ratings driven. I also appreciate that you responded to the substance of my comment without suggesting that my point of view is the result of some sort of dysfunctional thought process or that I am unable to comprehend certain complex ideas because I am from The Left.(This seems to be a recurring theme with some of the contributors to this blog). Where we part company, I believe, is in the fact that I still believe that the media should play a central role in holding government accountable in a free society. You believe, it appears, that the American media are failing us now by falsly reporting stories that portray America in a negative light, and by recklessly revealing State secrets in a time of war. I believe that the media’s far greater failure was in abdicating it’s responsibility in the months leading up to the war in Iraq, when it fuctioned largely as an echo chamber for the administration and failed to ask any of the difficult or important questions that might have helped to avert this misadventure. Where we also part company, and, I suspect we will never agree, is your belief that the media has an inherent liberal bias. I’m not sure where you got your 80% democratic press statistic, but, even if that were the case, what percentage of that 80% do you believe have abandoned their journalistic standards and distorted the news intentionally? And of those who have done that, what is their motivation? Is their bias against this administration and their hatred of this president really so toxic that they would participate as willing (or even unwilling) co-conspirators with the Jihadists? That seems like such an unbelievable stretch.

  21. says

    In point of fact, it was Morley that used the straight down the middle, I didn’t falsely attribute it to him or to the editor of the NYTimes. If he somehow thinks he thinks differently than Keller, then by all means, he has had many chances to explain his thinking.

    Everything Morley didn’t like about what I said, was sourced directly from his words. I don’t even need to talk about the Left.

    In fact, not only is Morley talking about the Left as a way to avoid the strongest arguments presented here. He brought up the subject first.

    Or, maybe, is your point that if the elite left wing media establishment would only run more stories about plucky Iraqi entrepreneurs then we would be much farther along toward a free Democratic Iraq.

    So much of it is trivial and ratings driven.

    I’ve spoke about some concerning ratings to Bookworm. Basically my argument is that the media wouldn’t know a hot story if the sun went nova on them, and they wouldn’t know a story that sold, if the underdog stories uppercut Bill Keller.

    (This seems to be a recurring theme with some of the contributors to this blog).

    Pretty much, probably due to the fact that people like Morley come to blogs such as this and plant the word “left” and then wait for it to bloom, then go about hacking and slaying the dragon. Effective I suppose, for people who can’t tie the dots.

    I did a search for the word left on this thread. Imagine what I found, ha ha.

    Good old deductive detective work beats Morley’s irreducible logic every time.

  22. bert says

    I guess I can tell when I see propaganda. One example is when the US forces are paying to plant stories in iraqi press.
    Another example is to call mercenaries “private contractors”, as if they were civilians working in a normal country, and not heavily armed ex-militaries doing the job of the armed forces in order to release pressure on the US gvt…

  23. jg says

    Morley, you, as your friends in the MSM, deal in death. I note the bloodthirty nature of your post.

    Please tell me about the peace and prosperity you supported in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. We Americans removed him at the cost of our blood and treasure. It took a war. But war, which you know if you are at all honest and cultivated in your thinking, is always a nasty business. You blame us, the emancipators, for doing a dirty job which YOU WON’T DO. But we have done it; and Iraq is a better place for it. Despite all the lies of your kind, and the violence you love to indulge in spouting, it is better.

    Were you on the side of your country, you would be fighting for that betterment. INstead you give aid and comfort to the terrorists.

    “If six more people were killed by immolation, this was an horrific addendum to this tragedy, but doesn’t change the overall picture that Iraq has degenerated into a chaotic scene of brutal killings and brutal reprisals.”
    I am glad to see you acknowledge at least the existence of the terrorists. (Most of the MSM won’t.) Now, will you fight these killers? Or will you let them continue this SAME VIOLENCE in every part of the Muslim world (which you strangely fail to catalogue) Violence which THEY have spread to Europe. Death and destruction which has come to America, even your own people. Do you care?

    All the enslaved peoples of the Middle East, indeed much of the Moslem world, find cold comfort in YOUR callousness, your carping at their fate. They see your humanitarian philosophy as a lie. The Left, the Democrats care about nothing except their own small thinking, comfortable wealth, and means to power.

    What have YOU done to make the world a better place, Morley?

  24. jg says

    One goal: “to track media dishonesty. First, the internet means that more unfiltered information is available to everyone and it means that more minds are actively analyzing every story and then disseminating the results. Second, with a war on, media duplicity (and secret-breaking) suddenly has huge national security dimensions. Propaganda’s always been out there, but in this assymetrical war, it matters more and the Jihadists have a willing co-conspirator in a hostile and credulous American and European press.”

    They–the MSM and its Leftist handlers– would not have us think, Bookworm. Thinking is always dangerous to those who attempt to control thought. Marxism and Nazism hated free thought. Today’s Left does, too. You do make a difference with your work, as this summation offers.

    Thankfully.

  25. says

    I guess I can tell when I see propaganda. One example is when the US forces are paying to plant stories in iraqi press.
    Another example is to call mercenaries “private contractors”, as if they were civilians working in a normal country, and not heavily armed ex-militaries doing the job of the armed forces in order to release pressure on the US gvt…

    Comment by bert | December 1, 2006

    All of that is supposed to convince you to back the war? Come on. That wouldn’t convince a dog. What’s the point of calling private contractors private contractors? These ex SEAL and spec ops dudes certainly make as much money, if not more so, than the other private contractors.

    There has to be a story line and a purpose to propaganda. Otherwise you’re just noting things that are scattered and don’t make sense. If the extent of US propaganda is what you have listed, because you can’t think of any bigger example, then the Arabs must not be doing anything right? I don’t think so.A sense of proportion here is important. Arabs have much better propaganda, and even if what you listed, bert, is correct, so what? You have word games going on on the US side and executions on the terroists side. Whose propaganda message do you think will dominate? And yet all you talk about is the US propaganda, which doesn’t even classify as “propaganda” more like “PR” done badly.

  26. Danny Lemieux says

    And I am sure that Bert was shocked, shocked to learn that CNN’s Eason Jordan admitted that CNN was shilling for Saddam’s Iraq in exchange for access, that AP, Reuters and Agence France Press use Palestinian stringers to report on Gaza strip violence…stringers that have openly been caught inventing anti-Israeli news, that the New York Times and Washington Post knowingly publishes false information (and, in the case of CBS, forged documents) to tarnish the Bush Administration (think Valerie Plame)…blah, blah, blah. Yeah, right.

  27. says

    Morley: You write “Where we part company, I believe, is in the fact that I still believe that the media should play a central role in holding government accountable in a free society.” We don’t part company there at all. My problem is that I don’t believe that a press that cannot acknowledge mistakes, that relies without question on propagandistic information from an avowed enemy, and that allows itself within America to be used to purvey (or hide) false political information is failing to hold government accountable. It’s cheapening itself and political discourse. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to develop this theme more, but if you stick with my blog, you’ll see me coming back to this point constantly. Freedom, I admire, even if I don’t agree with the point; falsity and dangerous credulity are unforgivable and Constitutionally dangerous.

  28. bert says

    Danny, I talked about propaganda coming from BOTH sides. I talked about propaganda, knowing that truth is the first casualty of war.
    There is no good propaganda, that is what I meant.

  29. says

    Of course there is good propaganda. Hollywood, upon Roosevelt’s edicts, did quite a lot of it in WWII to combat demoralization and lack of war fever.

    There’s now a law protecting truth in war. The lawyers and JAG Corp cooked that one up, I believe.

  30. says

    You’re right, Y: And I’m struggling to come up with something wrong with a market entity (Hollywood) making the decision to use its product (movies) to help strengthen the mood of America to fight a war. I have a really hard time, though, coming up with a defense for the Constitutionally defended Press using its unique status to promote the enemy’s viewpoint so as to weaken America’s ability to fight a war.

  31. jg says

    Bookworm, I am just beginning to study the Constitution. It was adopted by the 13 states, of course. (North Carolina was months behind everyone else!)

    It was created by the representatives of the people for the people. As such the Founding Document cannot be used to threaten the people’s ultimate well being. A malignant national press enjoys no special privileges. Nor, for example, might a seditious Congress, nor a traitorous President. All serve this country with well established duties.

    neo put it clearly when she once wrote that the First Amendment protects the ‘people’s right to a free press.’ THEIR rights.

    The First Amendment is a protection ‘for the people’, not a protection for any designated organisation, group, or body. IT’s not a blanket pass. (My latest readings say that Madison argued against that very concept. The Signers feared unlimited license.)

    YOu will hear me butcher Dr. Johnson in the future. Let me say this about our American media establishment:

    “The plea of constitutional Privilege today does seem to be the last refuge of numerous scoundrels, criminals, and foes of this country.”

  32. says

    It is true that as jg says, the right of the people for free unfettered information, if in conflict with the right of the aforementioned press to distort and lie, will always be judged for the case of the people over the case of the press to manipulate on a Constitutional basis. The press doesn’t like this and other folks like the ACLU don’t want the people to have more rights, so they try and distort their way. Or in the case of the press, distort their way from falling out of power.

  33. jg says

    Y., you put it well. Things could be worse, at least according to James Lewis at AT. WE fortunately DON’T LIVE IN Britain, where the BBC will openly make terrorist views mainstream:

    ‘The days of middle-of-the-road, balancing Left and Right, impartiality are dead. I believe we need to consider adopting what I like to think of as a much wider “radical impartiality” – the need to hear the widest range of views – all sides of the story. We need more Taliban interviews, more BNP interviews – of course put on air with due consideration and the full range of moderate opinions. … So get used to hearing more views that you dislike on our airwaves.”

    The good thing is the less-than-intelligentsia at the BBC may forfeit any shred of a reputation they may have. Who believes Al-Jazeera with an English accent? Those of any decency will not afford them attention. I know I won’t.

    Read the dailymailUK article through the link below. As one Brit politico says, “madness.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/12/britains_terrorpenetrated_gove.html

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