The Associated Press has again put out an Iraq story detailing
events that did not happen. This time, it involves an airstrike that, "
killed a family of four during a firefight." However, according to the
press desk of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, no air strike happened during that
firefight, and MNF-I also reported that which six insurgents were killed by
American troops in Baghdad on January 1. This is the second time in roughly six
weeks that the AP has been caught fabricating events.
November, the AP's report of six people being burned by in an attack on a
mosque, cited a Captain Jemil Hussein of the Iraqi police. This report was
challenged by Central Command and the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, who
pointed out that they had no record of a Jemil Hussein in their initial
searches. The AP has stood by the story, yet this questionable Iraqi police
official has not been quoted once since the story was questioned - despite
being used in dozens of stories prior to the controversy. After several weeks
of investigating, several blogs, including Flopping Aces, found very little
evidence that Captain Hussein existed - until the AP reported that an arrest
warrant was issued by the Ministry of the Interior for Hussein, whose phone has
conveniently been turned off.
is the latest media scandal involving phony news. In August, Reuters had to
pull photographs that had been doctored to create the appearance that Israeli
air strikes in Lebanon were doing more damage. Other photos taken during the
summer fighting were discovered to have been staged by Hezbollah. In 2005,
media reports that guards at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran turned out to
have no basis in fact (the actual flushing was done by detainees).
pattern of misreporting is being noticed by blogs, most notably Flopping Aces
(www.floppingaces.net). One of the Iraqi reporters for the AP, Quais Abdul
Raazzaq was recently interviewed, and made statements that appeared to be
biased. Other blogs have been digging deeper into some of the reporting. And
the skepticism about media reporting about Iraq seems to be increasing. In
December, the Gallup Poll reported that 56 percent of Americans believe the
mainstream media's reporting of the situation in Iraq is inaccurate.
continued stonewalling by the Associated Press is only going to make matters
worse for them. Not only are bloggers sniffing around and posting their findings,
but the call for an investigation is growing louder. With the AP now making up
an air strike, it seems the case of Jemil Hussein was not isolated, but instead
part of a pattern of misreporting and a focus on milestone casualties (the
United States recently suffered its 3000th casualty) rather than signs of
progress. Reports from the AP regarding Iraq clearly cannot not be trusted. For
accurate information, people can turn to the newsrooms of Multi-National
Force-Iraq (www.mnf-iraq.com) and Central Command (www.centcom.mil). - Harold
C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)