Tuesday, January 9, 2007

On Terrorists, Bloggers, Pirates and Journalists

You know, when you think about it, there are damn few careers you can engage in now-a-days without a whole lot of pesky and downright serious credentials.

The other day I heard some pundit say, ‘Terrorists aren’t exactly brain surgeons.”
Well, YEAH!

Neurosurgery requires something like twenty-five years of school, followed by an arduous surgical internship and an extensive and equally arduous residency in that specialization.

On the other hand, one day you’re a falafel-maker, or fry-cook with a third grade education and the next you’re a “terrorist mastermind” (aren’t ALL terrorists “masterminds?”). I mean all you need is a dream and a plan...a plan to pretty much blow things up and generally wreck shit.

Same with bloggers, pretty much anyone can set up a web log or blog and pretty much fly their pirate colors and enter the “marketplace of ideas.”
<>"I believed it, we published it. Official questions had been raised, but we stood by the story and her. Internal questions had been raised, but none about her other work. The reports were about the story not sounding right, being based on anonymous sources, and primarily about purported lies [about] her personal life -- [told by men reporters], two she had dated and one who felt in close competition with her. I think that the decision to nominate the story for a Pulitzer is of minimal consequence. I also think that it won is of little consequence. It is a brilliant story -- fake and fraud that it is. It would be absurd for me or any other editor to review the authenticity or accuracy of stories that are nominated for prizes."

Cooke resigned, the prize was returned and the reputation of the venerable Washington Post was sullied.

So the MSM doesn’t merely filter the news people get, they also editorialize in news stories and fictionalize stories, making up subjects and sources as they go along.

Currently the entire Associated Press has apparently claimed an imaginary friend ("source") in the apparently fictional Iraqi policeman named Jamil Hussein - (pictured above?)

Is that a “Collective psychosis,” or “Mass neurosis?” Damned, I wish I’d taken more psych classes.

The fact of the matter is that today, while the MSM engages in blatant editorializing in news stories, relying on fake/fictional “sources” for quotes and equally fake/fictional subjects for its reports, the blogosphere offers pure commentary on a broad and vast cross-section of news accounts from a variety of sources. And with Commentary, at least you know up front which slant you're getting.

Sometimes (and by sometimes we mean OFTEN), the blogosphere actually catches the media with its pants down, as with Rathergate, or the AP using staged photos from the mysterious “Green Helmet” (http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/07/who-is-this-man.html) character during the Israeli-Lebanon war.

To be fair, the Jamil Hussein controversy (also called Jamilgate and “the Burning Six controversy”) refers to allegations that some Associated Press reporters were using fake sources in their reporting on Iraq.

In at least one case, an entire story was claimed to be false - a story which stated in part that six people were burned alive and four mosques were destroyed in Hurriya, a neighborhood of Baghdad.

The controversy erupted after the Multi-National Force - Iraq, responding to the Hurriya story, said they could find no confirmation of people being burned, and that only one mosque had sustained minor damage due to fire.

Most recently, the AP has insisted that Jamil Hussein IS real and the Iraqi government has apparently now found the police officer it previously claims did not exist.

On December 20th Flopping Aces (http://www.floppingaces.net/2006/12/20/the-latest-on-jamil-hussein/) reported that, “The most interesting new information, as Michelle writes about in her new post, is the fact that there is a police Captain whose name is quite similar to what the AP reported, minus the Hussein:

“There is only one police officer whose first name is "Jamil" currently working at the Khadra station, according to my CPATT sources.

“His name is Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim (alternate spelling per CPATT is "Ghulaim.") Previously, Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim worked at a precinct in Yarmouk, according to the CPATT sources. Curt at Flopping Aces has received the same info.

“Now, go back and look at the full name and location information the Associated Press cited in its statement on the matter:

“[T]hat captain has long been know to the AP reporters and has had a record of reliability and truthfulness. He has been based at the police station at Yarmouk, and more recently at al-Khadra, another Baghdad district, and has been interviewed by the AP several times at his office and by telephone. His full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein.

“Let's review: AP's source, supposedly named "Jamil Gholaiem Hussein," used to work at Yarmouk but now works at al Khadra. CPATT says the one person named "Jamil" now at al Khadra -- Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim -- also used to work at Yarmouk. His rank is the same as that of AP's alleged source. His last name is almost identical to the middle name of AP's alleged source. (FYI: In Arabic, the middle name is one's father's name; the last name is one's grandfather's.)

“Lots of circumstantial evidence there to conclude this might in fact be our guy. Only problem is that he denies ever speaking to the AP, according to our CPATT source.”

Then on January 4th, 2007, Yahoo News carried this AP story; “The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.


The existence of a “Jamil Hussein” doesn’t change the troubling aspects of a MSM that has routinely editorialized and fictionalized news accounts, often using dubious “sources,” from “Green Helmet,” to the mysterious and obviously erroneous “Jamil Hussein.” - the story of the burning Sunnis is without question a fabrication, as were many of the other details of that account given to the AP.

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