Different Journalistic Standards Applied to Violence in Iraq?
Bob Owens of the Confederate Yankee blog would like to know what journalistic reasoning led the Associated Press to publish an unconfirmed report of sectarian violence in Iraq that turned out to be a hoax, while at the same time ignoring a strongly sourced story concerning an actual, verifiable Al-Qaida attack on an Iraqi village…
On Thursday, June 28, The Associated Press—and to a lesser extent, Reuters, and a small independent Iraqi news agency—ran stories claiming that 20 decapitated bodies had been found on or near the banks of the Tigris River in Um al-Abeed, a village near Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad, with sectarian violence strongly implicated.It’s a fair question. What is it about the Al-Qaida massacre that the AP deems un-newsworthy?
There were no named sources from this story from any media outlet, and the two anonymous Iraq police officers cited in the widely-carried AP account were nowhere near the scene of the alleged massacre, with Um al-Abeed being roughly 12 miles from the southeast edges of Baghdad, and Kut being 75 miles away, respectively….
This claimed massacre never happened, and was formally repudiated by the U.S. military on Saturday, June 30, who ascribed the claims to insurgent propaganda. To date, the Associated Press has refused to print a retraction or a correction for this false story, just as it has failed to print a retraction for previous false beheading stories….
At the same time, the Associated Press has refused to run the story of a verified massacre in Iraq discovered on June 29 and supported by named sources, eyewitness statements, and photographic evidence provided by noted independent journalist Michael Yon in his dispatch, Bless the Beasts and Children.
I would like for the Associated Press to formally explain why they are willing to run thinly and falsely sourced insurgent propaganda as unquestioned fact without any independent verification, but refuses to publish a freely offered account by a noted combat corespondent that some consider this generation’s Ernie Pyle.