It’s spin time. The Associated (With Terrorists) Press is now waging a p.r. campaign against what it calls the “so-called blogosphere” over detained photographer Bilal Hussein. After five months of stonewalling, the “so-called reporters” at AP finally reported what this blog reported on April 12–that Hussein had indeed been captured by the US military in a Ramadi apartment building where bomb-making materials were found…along with an alleged al Qaeda leader. Hussein reportedly tested positive for traces of explosives.
AP reporter Robert Tanner interviewed me by phone yesterday. Here is his new piece filed last night. Instead of focusing on AP’s questionable news suppression and Hussein’s so-called journalism, Tanner quotes a few critical bloggers and then devotes the rest of the article reiterating the AP’s defense of Hussein’s work, quoting the AP and left-wing human rights crowd’s call to free or charge him, and quoting liberal bloggers accusing conservative bloggers that unearthed this story of “thuggery:”
A number of liberal blogs defended the work of these journalists.
“The broader campaign by the right against war coverage has, with a few exceptions, amounted to little more than thuggery designed to get news orgs to think twice before bringing images back to America of the carnage in the Middle East,” wrote Greg Sargent at The Horse’s Mouth, a blog on reporting and politics, part of The American Prospect’s Web site.
You want carnage?
This is carnage. Click to watch the video and listen to the chilling sound of cameras eagerly clicking while those thugs pose with kidnapped Italian hostage Salvatore Santoro for Hussein and two other “journalists.”
You tell me: What exactly is the journalistic value of having Hussein hanging out in the desert with civilian-slaughtering terrorists and snapping Theater of Jihad glamour shots for them? Why doesn’t the American media leave that job to as Sahab, al Qaeda’s media production unit, and its analogues?
Urging news organizations to think twice about being used as tools in the terrorists’ propaganda war isn’t “thuggery.” It’s responsible journalism and responsible citizenry. Oops, did I say a bad word?
AP’s corporate communications office has been busy e-mailing bloggers and posting notices to correct blogger errors. Rusty Shackleford, who has raised questions about Hussein for the past two years, responds to AP on the Santoro photos and video here. Charles at LGF immediately corrected his error on the Haifa Street photo here.
Tellingly, the “so-called blogosphere” has responded far more quickly to AP than AP had responded to inquiries about Hussein in the first place.
From my column today:
The mainstream media enjoys mocking bloggers as journalistic wannabes who don’t do any “real” reporting and have no concern for the “public interest.” But as in the case of the Reuters photo faking debacle this summer, it is bloggers in their little home offices—not the professionals on the ground thousands of miles away—who smoked out a war story with profound national security implications. Well before this blog reported on Hussein’s capture, many military bloggers and media watchdog bloggers had raised persistent questions over the past two years about Hussein’s relationship with terrorists in Iraq and whether his photos were staged in collusion with our enemies. (For a thorough overview, see Jawa Report’s Bilal Hussein archives.)
…In an investigation of war photo staging and fakery earlier this spring, National Journal’s Neil Munro exposed another dubious Hussein photo taken in October 2005 of a purported funeral image outside Ramadi. An accompanying article claimed the U.S. had bombed the crowd including 18 children. But according to the military, video footage of the air strike against terrorist roadside bombers in that incident showed only what appeared to be grown men where the bomb struck. Munro reported: “AP officials declined to make Hussein available for an interview.”
The Hussein case may be the tip of the iceberg. In December 2005, AP television footage was used to spread bogus reports (see RantingProfs) of a fake “uprising” in Ramadi. Earlier this spring independent milblogger Bill Roggio identified another suspicious AP/Hussein-photographed scene in Ramadi. (see here). And blogger Clarice Feldman at The American Thinker recently highlighted an Iraqi intelligence document that bragged about “one of our sources (the degree of trust in him is good) who works in the American Associated Press Agency.”
The MSM has little or nothing to to say about AP’s five-month blackout on this story or the disturbing appearance of collusion and deception of pro-insurgent imagery disseminated by AP and other major media outlets highlighted in Munro’s piece. In fact, Tanner told me he interviewed Munro for his latest AP piece on Hussein–but whatever Munro told him didn’t make the cut.
The Associated Press proudly calls itself the “essential global news network” and a “bastion of the people’s right to know around the world.” But when it comes to the “people’s right to know” whether Associated Press employees are cooperating with terrorists overseas, the “essential global news network’s” message to bloggers and the world is:
To the deluded apologists who still insist our media would neeeever collude with our enemies and compromise their journalistic neutrality, a reminder:
FYI: The AP’s Jack Stokes got back to me this afternoon in response to my question about whether any other AP employees are currently in military detention. He says “No.”
The NYTimes editorial board is crusading on Hussein’s behalf.
You can see the AP’s video report on itself here.
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