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 Commander of Britain's Black Watch says recent media reporting during the Fallujah battle got several of his soldiers killed.
- 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.
- Salon's Mark Follman has a reply piece titled The Associated Press "Insurgency" (must watch a short ad to view). Follman attacks Belmont Club's charavcterization, and makes some good points re: how this could have happened wthout collaboration, though I'd like something more definitive than a guess from his AP source. Belmont Club has his own reply to Follman's article.
- Roger Simon's call for an official response by AP strikes me as a reasonable request. His comments section also has some useful background information on past incidents like this, how stringers work, etc.
- 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.