Friday, January 05, 2007

If Captain Hussein does, in fact exist ... 
... and it now appears that he probably does, do I owe the AP and Kathleen Carroll an apology?

Well, let's see what I was writing back in November:

Let me bring the argument to a finer point: I call for Carroll's resignation not because of the reporting on this story. I call for it because of her instinct for excusal. AP could produce the source tomorrow, and the Iraqi Ministry of Information could have been mistaken all along about Captain Hussein's identity, and the point will still stand, because Carroll isn't trying to argue that he exists - beyond restating the assertion. Carroll's ultimate position is that the AP's word is beyond question.

Her lack of curiousity concerning the identity of the stringer and the existence of the source is unbecoming a reporter. Her logic is sloppy, in that she continues to rely on the legitimacy of the source when there is no reason to believe his validity other than that this source has fooled other reporters in the past.

No, Ms. Carroll - that's not relevant. What is relevant is if your organization can demonstrate that he is who he says he is.

Ms. Carroll also glosses over completely the fact that the AP was forced to abandon the "four mosques burned" story when it turned out that only one mosque was burned.

So much for a culture of verification in the newsroom. Yet Ms. Carroll is "satisfied with the reporting."

Ms. Carroll asserts that CENTCOM attacked AP's reporting because Hussein's name "is not on their list of authorized spokespeople."

That is a lie.

CENTCOM attacked AP's reporting not because Hussein is not an authorized source, but because Hussein doesn't exist - at least not as a police officer or MOI employee at all. The AP thinks he does. The AP has not given us any reason to believe them.

If it were just this story, that would be one thing. But viewing Carroll's intellectual dishonesty and obtuseness here and combining it with her demonstrated inability to even comprehend the extent to which the media was being had by Green Helmet Guy and his goons leads me to conclude that even if Hussein were produced tomorrow, Carroll cannot be trusted to fulfill her obligation to pursue the truth and maintain a culture of verification and transparancy in the AP newsroom.

I never based my argument on Hussein being fake. I based my argument on a pattern of behavior on the part of Kathleen Carroll that extends back to Green Helmet Guy, Reutersgate, and The terrorist photographer.

I was always prepared to accept the possibility that there was some name confusion with Captain Hussein, though after over a month, I didn't think he was going to turn up.

Now Ms. Carroll is blaming bloggers because a source her own news organization named on the record is a public figure.

Well, that's what happens when you elect yourself to become a public figure by talking to reporters 61 times. Something you say might come under scrutiny someday.

Says Carroll:

Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on Friday criticized those who questioned the existence of an AP Iraq source, who was proven this week to be real, saying the scrutiny has now endangered the man's life.

"I never quite understood why people chose to disbelieve us about this particular man on this particular story," Carroll told E&P, referring to Jamil Hussein, an Iraq police captain. "AP runs hundreds of stories a day, and has run thousands of stories about things that have happened in Iraq."

Well, gee...I don't know why people chose to disbelieve you here. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that neither the US military nor the Iraqi Information ministry could confirm his existence, the fact that nothing in the story could be corroborated, and in fact the part about 4 mosques having been burnt down appears to have been demonstrated false, since the said mosques are still standing without any major damage at all, save for an entry way fire.

Maybe our skepticism has something to do with that. Just sayin.

How obtuse is this lady?

"We took the criticism seriously and we kept reporting on it and asking questions about the incident."

Kathleen, it's kind of hard to take criticism seriously when you hadn't read the criticism, by your own admission, and you "probably will not."

Not even bothering to read the criticism is a funny way of taking it seriously.

Jus' sayin.

Splash, out


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