Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kathleen Carroll, you may resign your post. 
UPDATE: Welcome, InstaPundit Readers!!! For more on how the AP has already demonstrated itself willing to lie and conceal in order to protect itself from criticism, see this post here.

I didn't get out in front of the whole Mystery Captain Jamil Hussein story too early, because it's really easy for Americans to screw up Arabic names. Now that the Iraqi Information Ministry has also come on record saying this Captain Hussein does not exist, it's clear that AP has a problem.

But this bogus source is the least of AP's problems.

Kathleen Carroll, a senior VP and executive editor of Associated Press, is now saying she is "satisfied with AP's reporting."

Yes, only two sources will go on record, and one has recanted his testimony, while the other apparently does not exist, and Kathleen Carroll is "satisfied with the AP's reporting."

She is not putting any pressure on her own staff to produce the cop. He shows up to work every day, but this is too tall an order for AP.

She doesn't name the Iraqi stringer who collected the report. No, "she's satisfied with the reporting."

If Kathleen Carroll's name doesn't ring a bell, it should. It was Kathleen Carroll who lept to the defense of the AP's coverage of Green Helmet Guy and the AP's shameful complicity in the Hezbollah exploitation of images of dead Lebanese children:

“It’s hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

Carroll said in addition to personally speaking with photo editors, “I also know from 30 years of experience in this business that you can’t get competitive journalists to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described.”

The record, of course, shows Carroll to be a fool or a liar.

In the case at hand, Carroll moves the football forward not one iota. She castigates CENTCOM, sure, and stands behind AP's "on the ground reporting." But doesn't bother to grace the reader with enough transparency to identify just who it is that's doing this so-called "reporting."

Carroll completely sidesteps the issue of Hussein's identity. She defends her position by again asserting that AP reporters talked with a police captain who has been reliable in the past - but simply repeating an assertion is not a defense. It is a gross logical error.

Carroll also claims that CENTCOM suggests the AP pays for information and then denies this. This is naive. The AP may not pay for information. But that does not mean that other entities out there don't pay, or otherwise compensate, blackmail bully people into giving information to the AP to suit their own ends.

Carroll is no reader advocate. She has abandoned the journalist's culture of verification and commitment to the truth long ago. She is now simply a crisis management shill for the AP and an easily duped apologist for sloppy or dishonest journalism.

Consider this a vote of no confidence in the AP and in Kathleen Carroll.

Kathleen Carroll, you may resign your post.

Splash, out


UPDATE: More on Carroll here

With the AP use of apparent nonexistent officials as news sources and their refusal to acknowledge such is extremely frustrating. It is not just that they are that arrogant, it is that the lies are now world wide, continue to influence American public opinion and that they proceed to respond negatively to Centcom and Iraqi factual challenges to their reports. They lied in Vietnam and continue to do so in a most vital effort to protect America and our interests. I have written twice to FOX questioning why they have ignored this story, especially since they have been taken in by this news service. Unless I have missed it, they continue to ignore the story. Let me tell you, when I have been lied to at work and end up reporting that information to others, the one who lied to me will receive a public dressing down and find themselves fired if I have had any control over their job security. I would expect a similar treatment for AP by at least FOX.
Renata Adler nailed something profound, years ago in her fine book 'Reckless Disregard'.

A quote: "...once a journalist has been the first to publish certain 'facts' amounting to a 'story', all other journalists tend to go after the same story, wanting only to tell more of it, sooner... whatever rivalry exists, however intense it may be, is essentially the rivalry of a pack going in the same direction. There is simply no notion, for instance, among journalists of a counter-scoop - and journalists are notoriously vindictive when the work of any of their number is criticized in print."

And Fox Media of all sorts still most likely has a great majority of its 'journalists' sailing under the flag of this herd mentality. Not surprising that they ignore the pointers to AP's mendacity and malfeasance.

Sorry to say, the MSM still owns about 99% of the microphones and presses by which the American voter gets 'news'. Until blogs and independent newsgathering grow significant enough to counter this grim fact, it'll be a long slog to break the MSM monopoly of tendentious journalism and let some fresh breezes blow in.
OMG!!! I've been Instalanched!!! Thank you, oh Great One, for the link. Like Manna from Heaven, so is Your traffic to a lowly wretch like me.

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 transperency in the AP newsroom.
Ok, you know me I have to be the spoiler, but I just need clarification.

The bitch from AP claims that:

"AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll rejected the accusation. "The implication that we may have given money to the captain is false. The AP does not pay for information," she said. "

His allegations were checked with the AP reporter, who had been in routine contact for more than two years with Hussein, in some cases sitting in his office in the Yarmouk police station in west Baghdad. Hussein wore a police uniform during the face-to-face meetings.

Hussein confirmed the burning story on three separate occasions. AP reporters also went to the neighborhood and found three witnesses to the immolations who told nearly identical stories. Since then more people in the neighborhood have told about the incident in a similar fashion. Pictures of the Mustafa mosque where the incident occurred show that it is badly damaged by explosives and shows signs of scorching from fire.

Scrawled in what appears to be spray paint on the mosque compound wall is the phrase "blood wanted," which Iraqis say has appeared on many structures in areas of heavy Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict throughout Baghdad.

The phrase is a warning to the sect that is the minority in the neighborhood, Sunnis in the case of the region around the Mustafa mosque in Hurriyah, that they will be killed if they return."

Ok I know it's her word. But what else do we have on any story. Are you telling me shes lying? Or is there something she is missing? I ask because I want to know.

I mean what is the alternative, are you suggesting that we replace AP only with:

"The spokesman said the ministry [MOI] had a large public relations staff and said they should be contacted by the media to "get real, true news.""

Are you really suggesting that we should get all our news from the "ministry"?

I know the story might still be false, I thought it was false, but I need more evidence in the face of this new information. I guess it could be that the stinger gives a false name, but the other sources cited above, I have to believe that they are all in on the conspiracy, and AP is being played like a rag doll. Or AP knows the sources are all false and they are in on it too.
"Are you really suggesting that we should get all our news from the "ministry?"


This is part and parcel of the intellectual dishonesty surrounding the AP's position. I never said anything of the sort.

But you're trying to conflate my point with another, made up one.

The AP is also already conflating "respectully request" with "demand", and conflating a request for correction with censorship.

It's intellectual dishonesty run rampant.

Remember, these are the same people who willfully ignored (or actively concealed) a number of relevant facts from their reporting on the Bilal Hussein case, including that two reviews found him dirty, that he personally tested positive for explosives, and that he was captured at an Al Qaeda safehouse, hanging out with an Al Qaeda leader.

The AP lied by omission about that, too.

The ethical and intellectual climate at the AP is rotten at the top. And Carroll is part of that rot.
"But you're trying to conflate my point with another, made up one."

That was never my intent, I was trying to bring that aspect of the story into the conversation. Poor communicating skills are not malicious intent.

It does IMO add a whole new dimension to the story. If we are looking for nefarious intentions in this whole story about poor reporting coming out of the war zone I think the motivations of the ministry must be taken into consideration. They have a horse in the race too. The new ministry is much less powerful than the old. maybe they are working to regain lost power. Maybe they are the original source of bad information, put out just so they could tear it down and make a case for the need of new power. I am very suspicious of their motives. They are already announcing some kind of new commission, with arrest powers.

I don't know, regardless of the motive of the AP we should be careful that in the end we don't end up being the ones played.
Red Herring.

The MOI is not really relevant here, except in that they have stated that Hussein is not a cop at all.

The burden of proof is on the AP, except they won't pick it up. They'll just look at the burden and bitch about someone else's motive for not doing their job.

They should do their job first, and THEN we can discuss the motive of the MOI.

Everyone's got motives and loyalties. They are all red herrings when we have a specific factual matter to ascertain first: Who is Jamil Hussein?

The AP is entitled to its own suspicions. They are not entitled to their own facts.
The AP did offer something, they said their reporter had meet in person with Hussein several times, in uniform, in his office at the Yarmouk police station.

I know this is Iraq and anything is possible. but that would seem to be a response to the MOI's assertion that no such person exist.

I still think there must be more to this story than what we are seeing. If they guy is lying or does not exist I imagine we will not be seeing anymore reports attributed to him, and I expect at some point someone working inside AP will be writing a book to expose those responsible. I just hope we don't have to wait till then to get to the bottom of this.
Yes, they did say that their own reporter met with Hussein several times. Well, so that reporter says.

So, who's that reporter?

After all, if Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair say they met someone, that is not at all dispositive.

Who's the reporter? Why won't the AP share his identity, along with all the other stories he's contributed to?

Why is his claim over and above review within the AP? Especially since this reporter had already gotten so many other key facts wrong from the very start?

All the AP did is reassert the very claim which is under attack.

That the AP considers this solid argument or evidence is evidence of their own sloppy thinking.
The record, of course, shows Carroll to be a fool or a liar.

Or a fool and a liar.
Well at least we have narrowed it down to a single question. WTF is this AP reporter that is said to have meat with Hussein several times in uniform, at his office, in the police station.

It should not take the bloggers more than an hour to find this guy.

It might also be important to find out if he is an Iraqi, or a foreign reporter. I don't think anyone has said anything about that.

Someone out there has to have the contacts in the AP to be able to answer these questions. I could be wrong, but I have heard of anonymous sources, but anonymous reporters? Has that ever been the case?
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