Some MSM types were not too happy about President Bush citing the words of Baghdad bloggers and Pajamas Media editors Omar and Mohammed Fadhil yesterday in his remarks to the press. Check out the anti-blog editorializing in this Associated (with terrorists) Press account:
To back up his point that pulling out of Iraq would be a disaster, President Bush has quoted opinions from the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top U.S. general in Iraq—and now, two bloggers from Baghdad.
Bush made a surprising reference to the blogosphere during a spirited defense of his war strategy on Wednesday. The mention seemed even more unusual because the president didn’t identify whom he was quoting, so he seemed to be leaning on anonymous commentary.
“They have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we’ve got here,” Bush told the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Then he began to quote: “Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening. We feel safer about moving in the city now. Our people want to see this effort succeed.”
His point was that Iraqi people are seeing signs of progress—and what better example of their unbridled expression than blogs.
It turns out, the White House made clear hours later, that he was quoting two brothers, Mohammed and Omar Fadhil. They write an English- language blog from Baghdad called IraqTheModel.com. Both of them got to meet Bush in the Oval Office in 2004.
In his speech, Bush was pulling select lines from an op-ed that the brothers wrote. It appeared in The Wall Street Journal on March 5.
Blogs are Web sites that tend to be narrow in focus and directed at a niche audience. Most operate without editors and give instant reaction to the news. Their freewheeling, open nature makes them popular but also ripe for unverified statements.
Don’t you know, President Bush? Only the MSM is allowed to circulate “unverified statements.” (See, for example, AP and the NYTimes and the Washington Post and the Associated Press again. Related–see also: Reuters.)
And never mind that Iraq the Model isn’t merely an “opinion” blog reacting to news, as the snobs at the AP would have you believe. They are reporting news from the ground–which is a serious threat to MSM outlets like the AP that continue to rely on anonymous stringers relying on anonymous sources feeding them unverified statements.
Update: The Fadhil brothers respond to the tinfoil-hatters and critics:
I would like to say a few words to the new visitors who are not so familiar with this blog. I have noticed that our traffic nearly tripled today and that most of the extra traffic is coming from pages talking about the recent speech by President Bush in which he mentioned a quote from our March 5 article on the WSJ…New visitors, welcome to ITM!
First of all we’re proud of it. It’s the ultimate ambition for a political blogger to have his or her words heard and better reach the desks of decision-makers.
Second I would like to make clear one point to bloggers like dailykos ans some MSM supported blogs who seem so upset for some reason that the voice of some Iraqis is being heard.
I’ve seen some of them publish stories full of lies and accusations they can’t support and I think it’s pathetic to throw the “you’re a sold-out propaganda” accusation at people just because they don’t share the same point of view…This only reflects their lack of knowledge and the bankruptcy of ideas they suffer.
We speak the language of facts, supported by images and statistics and more important, we live here while they don’t. We write about the good days as well as the bad days in Iraq’s journey to a better future.
Judith Weiss has all the background on the conspiracy-mongers.
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