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The Media's War

| 12 Comments | 4 TrackBacks

Belmont Club has a pair of provocative posts today about ther media's role in terrorism, and when it crosses the line into collaboration or complicity. Recent statements by the Commander of Britain's Black Watch add weight to the issue, and debates from Salon, Roger Simon's comments section, and Belmont Club again round out the picture.

  • The Odds Against. Belmont Club notes the suspiciously good timing of AP photogaphers, who just "happened" to be there when the Iraqi "gunmen" (not terrorists, according to the media) executed a pair of election workers in the street. The obvious implication is that they were along for the ride with the perpetrators, as Eddie Adams was in Vietnam and the Paris Match photographers were in Iraq last year. Shades of Mike Wallace.
  • In The Lidless Eye, which deals with the Mosul mortar attack, Belmont Club is even blunter:

"But the enemy ability to exploit the limits of American response and attack medical personnel with public relations impunity are examples of military advantages that arise from political restraints....It is necessary to link the war criminal behavior of the enemy with the studied blindness of 'sophisticates' towards their most heinous crimes. They are twinned; with the former made possible by the latter."

The role of the media in war, and the question of their collaboration with terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, is an issue that needs to be raised. Kudos to Belmont Club for beginning this debate so strongly.

4 TrackBacks

Tracked: April 5, 2005 5:18 AM
Excerpt: As I noted earlier, the Pulitzers were announced Monday afternoon. One travesty was the failure to acknowledge Claudia Rosett's ground-breaking commentary/reportage of the U.N. Oil for Food scandal. Here's another potential scandal: Bloggers are raisin...
Tracked: April 5, 2005 1:05 PM
Excerpt: Michelle Malkin alerts her readers to the disgrace of the Pulitzer committee awarding the AP it highest honor for what amounted to staged photographs of the execution of a brave Iraqi election worker: Via LGF's readers, we are reminded that...
Tracked: April 5, 2005 6:52 PM
Excerpt: By now you've probably seen this Pulitzer winning picture from the AP and read some of the controversy surrounding it. It is a picture of 2 people getting shot in Baghdad. If you are new to the story, you can...
Tracked: September 18, 2006 5:10 AM
Excerpt: This is AP photographer Bilal Hussein, detained in Iraq for five months after US military captured him with insurgents, including an alleged al Qaeda leader, in a Ramadi apartment with bomb-making material. A sample of Hussein's photos: Alone in...


The lengths to which people will go to "be right" (i.e., see to be right/correct in their own and others' eyes) are incredible. It has been clear from the outset that many, as Norman Giras admitted and accused, of the left have long since crossed over into virtually lusting for the downfall of the Iraqi project as a whole in order to prove their hatred of the US justified.

This is beyond disgusting, it's actually bathetically pathetic. Self-decapitation to spite your nose.

seem to be

Lets see. A anonymous blogger tosses out an accusation, and lets face it, that's what it was, and now it's caught on in the blogosphere to the point where other bloggers are asking AP to hold a press conference and announce that the story is false.

OK... Assuming they did, which I think is highly unlikely, can we expect Wretchard to accept it?

I think the silliest thing about this entire affair is that a "semi" genuine media outlet printed a story on the subject.

I love blogs. But I'm starting to think that some bloggers are taking themselves way way too seriously.

Given past experience like the Paris Match journalists, and the consistent bias of the mainstream media in Iraq, Wretchard's curiosity re: conveniently capturing those street murders strikes me as a valid set of questions to be asking. I think his reply to the Salon piece, linked above, says it well.

The difference is that now these kinds of questions are public domain, and can't be dismissed as easily by news organizations like AP.

If the chorus rises high enough, AP may have to explain the provenance of their photo, and begin to publicly address some of the issues surrounding the media and how they are used by terrorists. Media coverage is to terrorism as oxygen is to fire, so it's long past time these questions were addressed seriously.

I must say, I find the notion that Belmont Club is somehow above itself for daring to question the AP kind of strange. This whole process strikes me as a positive development, and part of the required checks and balances for a healthy media system.


Alternatively, one might observe that AP has been taking itself far too seriously for decades.

When A.L. was posting anonymously was his anonymity of particular concern? I can't remember his name at the moment but that's because it has always been irrelevant to me.

Or are you attributing some sort of authority to AP that Wretchard does not possess? A lack of journalistic integrity on the level of that exhibited by CBS for example?

In the unlikely event anyone cares, here's an alternate view

I'm waiting for the condemnation of the photographer who was in the tent that was bombed in Mosul. What are the odds he would be eating lunch in that tent when the attack came? Didn't he simply have to know about the attack in advance? The odds he would be there, unscathed among so many casualties, with a camera ready, are just to great to be believed.

Aren't they? That's what everyone is saying about the photographer on Haifa Street.


I understand what you're trying to say, but there's a logic flaw. Targets are a much more finite set than "all the places a street execution could take place." The odds are very, very different.

The Salon article attacks Belmont Club's point on similar grounds. In response, Belmont Club's linked reply above sets out a situation that at the very least seems deserving of explanation.

Is there a link to the photograph taken of the bomber pushing the button in Mosul?


I'm not claiming that the Belmont Club is acting "above itself" at all.

The AP has already explained the provenance of their photo. They had a photographer in the area, which had experienced similar battles on a daily basis, which was not at all addressed in their reply to the Salon piece. They were doing their job.

And the insinuation that the AP was somehow sympathetic to the assasins could only come from someone who didn't actually read the included article.

There is absolutely no evidence, other than what some see as incredible luck but others might write off to a good situational awareness on the part of the AP journalists, that they had any idea an execution was about to take place.

There are lots of good reasons why the reporter and photographer would have been at that place at that time.

Additionally, with such a large percentage of journalists spending their days camping out in the Green Zone these days, on might consider praising the journalists for going out and trying to get the story.

I'm tempted to just write this off as paranoia. Yes it's somewhat unlikely that the AP photographer just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but the problem with coincidences is that they often look planned.

All the same, it would be nice to hear a testimonial of some kind from the photographer.

Osama bin Laden
as paraphrased by G.M.: "Terrorists don't fight to kill soldiers; they kill soldiers to fight the will of mothers."

To kill the will.
The weapon is fear.
The vehicle is "news".
Killing is just propaganda.

As per Salon, the AP photographer was there on a tip. AP says, however, that the tip mentioned an impending demonstration and they were not aware of the true character of what was going down. The photographer was expected by the killers, who must now be regarded in hindsight as the source of the tip.

At the best the AP was set up, written into the script by the killers, if we accept the Salon interview with AP as true. Having gone through the trouble of getting the photographer there, the killers would logicallly allow or even encourage the stringer to take the pics.

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