I find it ironic that so many in the media who claim President Bush is in denial over the status of the war in Iraq do a good bit of denying themselves when anyone calls them on bias or questionable reporting.With so much evidence stacking up, from Rathergate to the fauxtography pictures to the recent Burning Six story, the credibility of media outlets like the AP and Reuters has taken serious hits. If those in the mainstream media don’t acknowledge recent problems and take action to address them, their credibility will continue to erode. I have more on this topic in my column at Townhall today.
Update: Robert Bateman believes the AP is in denial too.
But the Iraqi government and the U.S. Army have long warned the AP about its use of “spokesmen” who don’t exist. Indeed this time it appears that there is no such officer in the Iraqi police force in Baghdad. More, they could find no evidence of such an attack (though they did see that one mosque had been hit with some gasoline and had some smoke and scorching damage in the entryway).
Did the AP retract or reinvestigate? Nah. Instead, in a follow-up story a few days later, it simply noted the old (2005) news about efforts to plant Coalition press releases in the Iraqi media, accused the Iraqis of censorship and claimed that it had found three more (anonymous, naturally) witnesses. In effect, AP said that, no matter what the Iraqi police headquarters said, Hussein is one of its spokesmen after all.
Bizarrely, it seems that not even Iraqi Sunni politicians believe the AP story; even the radical Association of Muslim Scholars hasn’t embraced the account. But we here are supposed to anyway. After all, AP doesn’t make mistakes.
Be sure to read the entire column to hear an additional (and incredible) example of bad behavior by the Associated Press. The problems we are seeing now with some reports, especially coming out of the Middle East, are evidently nothing new. Just as the Rathergate story made me wonder how many other “fake, but accurate” stories had been reported through the years, these make me wonder just how widespread the bad reporting is. Hat tip to Lucianne.