The internet’s power

If any of you bloggers are getting disheartened, don’t. The internet does matter, even if gains are slow and grudging. Case in point: the bombed out mosques in Baghdad.

The story began in November when the AP reported that Shiite fights had destroyed four Sunni mosques in Baghdad and burned six men alive. Curt, at Flopping Aces, looked at the story with a jaundiced eye, asked some questions, and opened a huge Pandora’s box of journalistic malfeasance, with AP right in the middle of it all.

Now, after much blogging on the subject, after Michelle Malkin went to Iraq to check it out, and after the Confederate Yankee fired off a letter to the AP Board of Directors, the AP is grudgingly, gracelessly, half-heartedly backing down, although it’s still trying very hard to spin a major story where it’s apparent that none exists:

Four Sunni mosques attacked in late November in the embattled Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad still bear scars from the attacks and all are now either under Shiite Muslim control or closed.

Immediately after the Nov. 24 incidents, an Associated Press story quoted an Iraqi police captain saying the four mosques had been attacked and six men doused with fuel and burned alive at one of them. In some early versions of the AP story, which was updated several times as more information became available, the police officer referred to the mosques being burned or blown up.

The report was challenged a day later, when a U.S. military spokesman said it could only confirm an attack on one mosque.

Since then, the AP has confirmed damage at three of the four mosques, including burn damage at two and slight damage at a third.

Today, all four mosques are either clearly under the control of Shiites or closed and nonfunctioning, guarded by Iraqi army troops. The Iraqi army increased its presence in Hurriyah after the November attacks, which drove many Sunnis out of the neighborhood and put it firmly under Shiite control.

The loss of the Sunni mosques is a powerful symbol of how the formerly mixed neighborhood has changed to one where only Shiites are welcome.

You can read the rest of AP’s spin and retrofitting here.

I know that sometimes conservative members of the blogosphere get frustrated with the reach the MSM has. That is, even though there isn’t a vast Left wing conspiracy (a belief that would put us on the same level as Billary), the fact remains that MSM reporters have a tone and worldview that leans left, and they have the world’s biggest bully pulpit. I know that I often feel like Dame Partington, about whom the wonderful Rev. Sydney Smith (1771-1845) wrote:

In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm [at Sidmouth], Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up. But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.

What keeps me going is that I’m not a lone figure with a mop. I’m part of Glenn Reynold’s “ Army of Davids.” Even if I fall back temporarily from fatigue, or miss something altogether, there’s someone else (and usually someone with greater insight, more accurate information, and a bigger audience) to take up the standard.

UPDATE: Here’s Michelle Malkin’s post explaining all the spin still existing in the story. Obviously, the AP is never going to cave in on this one, because to do so would admit how deep the institutional rot runs. Nevertheless, I thinks it’s a stellar blogosphere victory that they conceded, however obliquely and grudgingly, that their first report was just plain wrong.


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  • mike wolff

    BookWorm I just read this story and I hope again you dont mind me posting this link. I am sure when Michele hears about it she will say the words I refrain from about the NY Times
    In case you get an ad first skip it.I am so disgusted at the NYT that I hope their ruin!!

  • Bookworm

    No, I definitely don’t mind, Mike. That’s a great story about journalistic ethics, or lack thereof.

  • mike wolff

    If you have an in with Michele let her know I think she will definitely use the words I refrain from. I am Livid over this story!

  • greg

    Pssssssst Sorry to rain on your authoritarian parade, but every word of Malkin’s story has been shown to be false/misleading/irrelevant/mere posturing. Not that that crosses the threshold of consciousness among those who despise a free press.

  • Zhombre

    “…but every word of Malkin

  • greg

    Google it, bud.

  • Zhombre

    Google this. Link or STFU.

  • Earl

    Unless you’re blowing smoke, Greg, you had the links to support your accusation.

    I’m with Zhombre….give the link, or don’t bother to project your emesis here.

  • jg

    “despise a free press”

    Exactly what the AP does. Despises a free press, that is, the blogosphere. Hey, don’t like the competition??!! GET used to it..there’s a lot more where this came from. Every word the AP prints that is less than honest.. get ’em.

    It’s called a free press.

  • Zhombre

    It takes some form of well-insulated effrontery, and latent hostility, to accuse people of being authoritarians seeking to diminish the First Amendment, and then refuse to back up one’s assertions. It’s like in poker, kid: put up or shut up.

  • greg

    Of course your accusations are true, Z-man, except that Malkin’s malevolence around this particular issue has been thrashed to death in the blogs. Anyone who reads anything knows that. It takes a peculiar effrontery on Bookworm’s part to review Malkin’s words and not acknowledge their mendacity. But, Bookworm understands the insularity of her readership. Kudos to her for that.

  • Bookworm

    Wow! Watching Greg is like watching a play right out of the AP play book. Never deny, never prove, just attack, attack, attack. It’s all well and good to attack Michelle Malkin’s “malevolence,” but even the AP has been forced to acknowledge the accuracy of her report that all four mosques are still standing — a fact in stark contrast to the AP’s initial report that they had been completely destroyed.

    But by all means, Greg-bot (because I too am beginning to doubt that you’re real and think you’re just a lib-bot), let’s not confuse this debate with actual facts.

  • greg

    Oh Book, are you ignorant that the original AP report of destruction existed for 20 minutes, before it was corrected, and was cited by no one?

  • ymarsakar

    Good turn around jg.

    You cannot correct reality and your mistakes, greg. Or are you trying to gain the mantle of Chavez power now a days?

  • Zhombre

    I still Greg is one of these guys:

    “You here that, Mr. Zhombre? That is the sound of inevitability, the inevitable crashing down of your authoritarian conservatist world.”

  • Zhombre

    Uh, should be “hear that”. Pays to proofread.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Oh, lookie..I just figured out how to be a troll, too. Simply highlight “Bush has cooties”, then [edit][copy][paste randomly [Paste][Paste][Paste].

  • greg

    I love how you authoritarians (Z-ray, D-lemming, Worm) flop about helplessly, when confronted with just the whisper of dissent from your cognitionless script.

  • ymarsakar

    I must have hurt greg’s feelings.

  • Zhombre

    “I love how you authoritarians (Z-ray, D-lemming, Worm) flop about helplessly, when confronted with just the whisper of dissent from your cognitionless script.”

    Oh God! LOL! “the whisper of dissent from your cognitionless script” Superb! If I were writing parody, I couldn’t invent such a phrase. Thanks, Greg. That one is a keeper.

  • greg

    Yes, I imagine it does suggest to you ways around your own hamstrung prose.

  • Zhombre

    Another great comeback, kid. You’re on fire.

  • ymarsakar

    Greg, stop ankle biting yourself.