Flopping Aces has an investigative piece that is pretty amazing — not just because of the content, but how comprehensive it is. Curt at Flopping Aces has done an incredible job uncovering something the mainstream media should have caught. Read the entire, exhaustive report, but here is the overview. The story reported breathlessly by all major media outlets about multiple mosques being burned in Iraq, and several people being burned alive not only cannot be confirmed by U.S. officials, but the sole cited source of the information, Capt. Jamil Hussein, has a long history of being the sole source of information about atrocities being reported in Iraq. Read all of Curt’s excellent report, including extensive updates, as well as See Dubya’s analysis at JunkYardBlog.
Update: Just a few thoughts on this story…anytime I see a story like this, as with the Dan Rather “fake, but accurate” story, I wonder how many more stories out there that have been widely reported and swallowed without question, are suspect as well.
Since the “fauxtography” stories broke earlier this year, you would think that the media would go the extra mile to get multiple sources and extensive confirmation for stories like this.
The thing that really has me perplexed is why so many of the stories, as with the instances of “fauxtography,” would be faked, or exaggerated, when there is so much bad news coming out of Iraq right now. Isn’t the real news bad enough? Is now the time the opponents of the US mission in Iraq need to be exaggerating or manufacturing bad news? Maybe these propagandists could take a lesson from Dan Rather. Prior to the Rathergate story, many people already believed it likely that George Bush had pulled some strings to stay out of Vietnam. Mapes’ and Rather’s use of obviously fake documents was not only unethical and unprofessional, but it was also unnecessary. That is how stuff like this strikes me — absolutely unnecessary. The situation in Iraq is violent. People get that. If the MSM keep running stories like this one without doing a bit more homework, their credibility will suffer as Rather’s did. To a great extent it already has.
Update II: Most of the people I know personally, who are not news junkies and blog readers like I am, are unaware of the fauxtography story and other stories about instances when the media has been found to have been wrong. They heard about Dan Rather and the Bush National Guard story, but few are aware of the suspect reporting coming out of Iraq and the rest fo the Middle East. What is worse, though, is that even though I know about the suspect reports, I generally don’t question the factual basis of the stories I hear from the Middle East unless someone else raises a question about the facts. I question the context, and the way stories are reported, but even knowing what I know, I don’t often consider the possibility that the stories I am reading from the news wires, which then get picked up by all the major news outlets, might be dead wrong.
I guess it is time to change my way of thinking and to start questioning the source for all of these stories. It is a bit disconcerting to think about how many other stories might have been based on the word of one person who now appears likely to be a one man insurgent propaganda factory. How many others like him are feeding news to a media all too willing to swallow anything that fits their storyline?
Update III: I will post more reaction later when I have more time to round it up, but Bruce Kesler has a fine piece to start with.
Jeff Goldstein has some great analysis:
From Curt at Flopping Aces comes the news many of us quietly expected: Centcom has confirmed that Capt. Jamil Hussein, the primary source for the recent kerosene mosque murder reports–and for a whole host of reports of Shia massacres recounted by the AP–is neither an employee of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior nor is he a police captain.
In short, the AP has been relying on a bogus source for much of its reporting on Shia violence against Sunnis since at least April.
For those who continue to suggest that the mainstream press has a negligible impact on elections, consider that the majority of Americans who bothered to pay any attention whatsoever to this story will be left with an account of horrific sectarian violence against women and children–and the belief that sectarian strife in Iraq is not only inexorable and savage, but pandemic.
Underlying this reportage, then, is an unseemly subtext: that Arabs in Iraq–and perhaps even Arabs in general–are incapable of working toward a free society, one that, through a series of ratified political documents and elections, has merely pretended to be taking its first tentative steps toward the acceptance of a baby pluralism.
For those who missed it, Patterico uncovered more evidence of the media being used as a terrorist propaganda mouthpiece over the weekend. Read it all if you haven’t and add it to the growing list of stories that get broadcast far and wide only to be found to be false later. Where is the big MSM story about how they got duped by a bunch of murderous thugs into misleading the American people? Funny isn’t it? (Well, not funny, but you know what I mean.) Many of the “Bush lied” stories have now been shown to be true afterall. The “16 words” comes to mind first. But many of the MSM stories about violence in Iraq have now been shown to have been exaggerated or fabricated. Just start with the great Iraqi museum looting and work forward. As I said earlier in this post, there is plenty of violence and bad news coming from Iraq that it is not necessary to make stuff up. How the heck are they (the terrorist propagandists and the MSM) getting away with this stuff?
Bloggers are just recently catching on and exposing fake stories, but these exposes have not yet reached the people in the form of a story on a primetime network newscast. What the heck will it take to get some serious MSM attention to this problem? Will they wait until their credibility is on par with Rather and Mapes? It would appear that is the course they have chosen. Michelle Malkin sums it up perfectly: “Journalists in the legacy press are too busy trying to write the Bush administration’s obituary to notice that they are writing their own…MSM credibility, R.I.P.”
Update VI: The Anchoress says much of what I have been thinking, but when I think it, it doesn’t sound nearly as good as she does here:
I wonder how many of our troops are being further endangered by the fakery we’re discovering here? I wonder how many of their deaths in the coming weeks will be due to this sort of stuff?
As usual with stories like this the fake story – and the impressions it has made on the minds of the public – is out there, damage done. I don’t see how alternate media can win against a major media that fabricates crap and puts it out there knowing that even if they correct the story a week later, they’ve done their damage. It’s a sneakly lawyer’s trick, actually – like putting an idea in a jury’s head and then having the judge tell them to “disregard” it.
I frankly don’t know how the president had endured this non-stop game, the incessant lying and leaking, distortion and hate-mongering in the press. I don’t know how anyone can endure it and not lose heart. Perhaps he has. The press is literally trying to not simply destroy the man but take down his government and surrender a military action that is important to the survival of our identity, and the West’s. And, sadly, they seem to be succeeding.
This cannot end well. The government needs to slap down the press and demand some accountability. They’ve needed to do it for a couple of years now. They won’t.
She chose the perfect analogy in a lawyer that throws something out there knowing that a judge’s instruction to disregard it is impossible. I can’t go as far as the government enforcement yet, although in some instances a strong case could be made for it. I just hold a small sliver of hope that the truth will win out. It ain’t gonna happen by accident though. It will happen when the American public demand accountability from their media. Unfortunately they have been too busy demanding entertainment value from it to pay much attention to the other stuff — you know, like facts and such. So, it is up to the bloggers at this point. Okay bloggers, let’s keep the heat on them. It looks like it’s going to be a full time job.