Friday, November 24, 2006

Did the LA Times Print Another Iraqi Insurgent Propoganda Piece?

From time to time I have raised questions about the accuracy or objectivity of the msm reports we hear coming out of Iraq. Patterico has a post entitled, "Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side?," in which he investigates the accuracy (and integrity) of a recent news story in the LA Times.

His post begins with the following:

Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story?

You be the judge.

On November 15, the L.A. Times ran an article titled Iraqi residents say U.S. airstrike kills 30. The article emphasized that 30+ people, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike. A headline proclaimed: “Victims include women and children, witnesses in Ramadi say. The military has no immediate comment.” The story began as follows:
BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in the restive town of Ramadi killed at least 30 people, including women and children, witnesses said Tuesday.

The aerial attack, which took place late Monday, brought the number of violent deaths reported in Iraq on Tuesday to at least 91, according to military sources and witnesses.
. . . .
A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment and families could be seen digging through the ruins with shovels and bare hands.
Patterico's investigation, while not conclusive, does provide plenty of evidence to discredit this story; if not to the point of calling it patently false, at least to the point of implying that it should not have been published at all . . . at least not in the form that it was. Please read his full post to appreciate the efforts he made to get this story right.

By its very nature war correspondance is often incomplete and sketchy, punctuated with rumor and second-hand information. Even so, for such journalism to be deemed credible, it must admit to errors, offer correction when it has misrepresented facts and provide balance by citing all information, even when there are contradictions.

The LA Times has, from what I have seen, repeatedly failed in all of these matters . . . consistantly erring on the side of presenting the facts and scenarios most critical and damning of the efforts of US troops to do their honorable best to serve our country in harm's way.

In this most recent story, the charge is made that the LA Times relied on Iraqi sources tied to the insurgency for their information and that the Times published what was, perhaps, little more than a blatant piece of propoganda concocted out of thin air.

My belief is that they were fed a line and swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

The irony is that they are not choking on their meal. The rest of us are.