« Some Things You Blog Just For The Headline II | Main | Danish Imams Sue Over Muhammad Cartoons »

ABC News Has Problems with Unnamed Sources

ABC News reports (and they are obviously unhappy about this) on the newly translated document that talks about meetings between bin Laden and Iraqi government officials.

Take a look at the following note which was placed at the end:

(Editor's Note: The controversial claim that Osama bin Laden was cooperating with Saddam Hussein is an ongoing matter of intense debate. While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim, the sourcing is questionable -- i.e. an unnamed Afghan "informant" reporting on a conversation with another Afghan "consul." The date of the document -- four days after 9/11 -- is worth noting but without further corroboration, this document is of limited evidentiary value.)

ABC News actually has the nerve to question the sources in this document because they are an "unnamed Afghan informant" and "consul." Is this a joke? The MSM uses unnamed sources all the time when they support the MSM's agenda. However, they're now being questioned because they contradict the "no relationship between bin Laden and Iraq" line they've argued for years.

Newsbusters has more on ABC's sudden "concern" about these "unnamed sources" and points out that ABC News used an unnamed source in an internet article about Cheney's hunting accident just last month:

Sources told ABC News that the vice president's team had debated issuing a statement early Sunday morning per the White House's request. But sources said Cheney's team decided it would be more credible to allow ranch owner and witness Katharine Armstrong to make the information public.

Interesting. There is no mention of these sources' names anywhere in the article. Well, "without further corroboration," this article's assertions are "of limited evidentiary value."


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ABC News Has Problems with Unnamed Sources:

» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. linked with Wizbang

» The Unalienable Right linked with The Iraq-al Qaeda Connection - Case Opened

» In Search Of Utopia linked with Is the American Public, THIS Stupid?

Comments (23)

Wow, that's a hell of a lot... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Wow, that's a hell of a lot of stories that ABC is going to have to go back and revise.

Maybe they just don't trust third-world sources. Those people will say anything, you know?

This is what I find hilario... (Below threshold)
jp2:

This is what I find hilarious about the "battle for the MSM" on both the left and the right. People decry the media as being unfair all the time - yet then they go and get their news from Kos and Powerlie and Wizbang. Makes no sense.

This site is willing to accept news from Free Republic (!) but questions anything coming from ABC. Bizarre.

Another example of the 'pla... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Another example of the 'plantation' racists. We don't like our port management from UAE, we don't like arab 'sources' either- unless of course they're commenting on the total failure of the GWOT and the incompetence of the President.

JP, you make me laugh. To think there is even any debate over the bias of the MSM is ridiculous.

As I have mentioned elsewhe... (Below threshold)
epador:

As I have mentioned elsewhere, the memo in question could not have been typed on an IBM Selectric, so it is obviously a fake.

An unnamed source in some d... (Below threshold)
mantis:

An unnamed source in some documents found in Afghanistan is a mystery. Who is the source? Who knows.

Unnamed sources in a news report are known to the reporter, just not to the reader.

I can understand criticism of the use of unnamed sources in news articles, but you do understand the difference here, don't you? Maybe not.

mantis,I agree wit... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

mantis,

I agree with you and you make a fair point. But don't you think the editor's note is a little bit over the top and that anyone reading this article would already know that this matter is of intense debate?

They are placing this unwarranted comment at the end to debunk what could be a very interesting development and a worthwhile piece of information.

I don't think it's an unwar... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I don't think it's an unwarranted comment. The document, which is from Iraqi intelligence, tells what an unnamed Afghan said that the Afghan consul told him, apparently while in Iran.

So what we have here is some Afghan told someone in Iraqi intelligence about something he heard from another Afghan in Iran. What is the context? Who was the consul talking to in Iran and with what purpose? Who is the Afghan informant? Does anyone have any documents from the Afghan consul? And the big question, why would the Afghan be telling Iraq that Iraq has met with the Taliban and bin Laden? Don't you think Iraqi intelligence would already know this? This is also interesting:

That in case the Taliban and bin Laden's group turn out to be involved in "these destructive operations," the U.S. may strike Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the Taliban and bin Laden's group turn out to be involved (in the 9/11 attacks). The Afghan doesn't even know if they were involved, so how much operational knowledge could he have? And if Iraq was in on 9/11 wouldn't they know that bin Laden and the Taliban were involved?

In any case, there are too many questions left unanswered. Wouldn't ABC have been remiss in not adding some sort of disclaimer about the authenticity of the information?

Another interesting wrinkle is this article about the new documents:

However, one of the documents, a letter from an Iraqi intelligence official, dated August 17, 2002, asked agents in the country to be on the lookout for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and another unnamed man whose picture was attached.

This seems to suggest that Saddam had his intelligence looking for Zarqawi. If they had a cooperative relationship why would this be? What does this say about Saddam and terrorists in Iraq? I don't know, but there are many unanswered questions here.

"To think there is even any... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"To think there is even any debate over the bias of the MSM is ridiculous."

If you think there isn't a debate, you aren't paying attention.

1. Mantis is correct that N... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

1. Mantis is correct that Newsbusters is comparing two different things that ought not be compared: a document whose sources are unknown to the reporter vs. a source known to the reporter but kept unnamed in the report.

2. But Newsbusters' error doesn't weaken the fundamental point, which is that ABC put a prominent qualifier on this story that it would not have put on a story that tended to undermine the Bush admin. If Mantis really wants to make teh case for MSM impartiality, Mantis needs to offer some examples of ABC posting similar cautionary statements about reports that tend to undermine the Bush administration.

these documents will bring ... (Below threshold)
jab:

these documents will bring another exposure of the lefties telling us what we can question and what we cannot question. notice their arguments always favor their own opinions.

mantis, jp2, your stupid aloofness is appalling. i choose to question your credibity, your arguments, your opinions, along with the unwarranted disclaimer the msm is alredy using.

i choose to accept the documents for what they are, damning enough, good evidence.

sissoed,I'm not ma... (Below threshold)
mantis:

sissoed,

I'm not making a case for media impartiality, I'm just talking about this one piece of news. Anyone who thinks the media are universially impartial or universally biased is a moron.

jab,

By your logic we should have accepted the CBS TANG documents at face value. Sorry, but I think I'll retain my skepticism instead of being one of the blind faithful. Btw I'm not telling you what you can or cannot question. Question whatever you want, and while you're at it, go fuck yourself.

mantis, the cbs tang docume... (Below threshold)
jab:

mantis, the cbs tang documents "WERE" proven to be fake. can you disprove these new documents released?

and please don't take it personally, it's not my fault your a liberal.

When you resort to name cal... (Below threshold)
jp2:

When you resort to name calling, jab, you lose. Sorry.

mantis, the cbs tang doc... (Below threshold)
mantis:

mantis, the cbs tang documents "WERE" proven to be fake. can you disprove these new documents released?

The TANG documents were proven to be fake because people were skeptical. You, on the other hand,

choose to accept the documents for what they are, damning enough, good evidence.

Don't take it personally, it's not my fault you're stupid.

If I remember right the mem... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

If I remember right the memos at the center of the Bush national guard story came from an unknown source. The reporters knew who gave them the documents, but that source later said he got them from some woman he never saw before or after. To me that's about as unknown as the Afghanistan source.

As far as disproving the do... (Below threshold)
mantis:

As far as disproving the documents goes, of course I can't do that as I am not the CIA. There are many interesting things to be found in them though. For instance, from the Army's synopsis of document #ISGZ-2004-019920:

Synopsis: 2002 Iraqi Intelligence Correspondence concerning the presence of al-Qaida Members in Iraq. Correspondence between IRS members on a suspicion, later confirmed, of the presence of an Al-Qaeda terrorist group. Moreover, it includes photos and names.

So Iraqi Intelligence, once again, suspects the presence of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Certainly doesn't sound like they were working together.

And let's not forget the disclaimer at the the top of the page hosting the documents:

The US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available.

I suppose you'll believe anything that fits your preconceived notions, jab, and dismiss anything that does not. I'll remain skeptical.

mantis, i have to admit the... (Below threshold)
jab:

mantis, i have to admit there may be questions about some info in the documents. my beef was with your motivation for trying to maybe discredit the material so soon. i have read your comments many times. you argue well, but you seem to be very bitter at the right. i question your motives for wanting to discredit the documents. i just don't think you want it to be true. the motives for the tang documents appearing and the iraqi documents existence are completely different. it's your dislike or hate for bush and the whole administration that is your driving force. in my opinion, your motives parallel those of the main stream media, and the abc disclaimer. i don't share your skeptisism, and will take the documents at face value for now. i think that's all i can do for now, you can't disprove them, and i can't prove the info is all accurate either.

In the bush-bots' universe... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

In the bush-bots' universe ABC can never be deferential enough, re: "The controversial claim that Osama bin Laden was cooperating with Saddam Hussein is an ongoing matter of intense debate." Who in HELL still thinks Saddam and the big 0 were anything closer than, say, the Bushes and the Hinkleys? http://www.hereinreality.com/hinckley.html

Hey, a rational tone emerge... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Hey, a rational tone emerges. Ok, jab, I can play nice too.

my beef was with your motivation for trying to maybe discredit the material so soon.

I wasn't trying to discredit it. I tried, initially, to point out the difference between known but unnamed sources and completely unknown sources. Then I responded to the claim that the editor's note was unwarranted by pointing out the ambiguities and unanswered questions about these documents. They may very well be accurate and verifiable. At this moment I'm not prepared to say either way. However I am skeptical in light of the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission on this matter, as the commission had far greater access to information than I do.

i have read your comments many times. you argue well, but you seem to be very bitter at the right.

Maybe so, but don't worry I'm very bitter at the left too. They just aren't running things right now (and are probably too stupid to be running things anytime soon).

i question your motives for wanting to discredit the documents. i just don't think you want it to be true. the motives for the tang documents appearing and the iraqi documents existence are completely different. it's your dislike or hate for bush and the whole administration that is your driving force.

Listen, if real evidence is presented to us that contradicts the conclusions of the 9/11 commission, I will happily admit that there was an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq that was a threat to us. I do not rule it out entirely. It just seems very doubtful given the current available information. Added to that, if the administration had hard evidence of such a connection, don't you think they would be heralding it to the press as a "smoking gun" instead of throwing it into an internet document dump?

So, in short, in light of everything we currently know, I don't think this is a case of me "not wanting it to be true" but rather a case of you wanting it to be true, the same as Dan Rather and Mary Mapes really wanted the TANG documents to be true.

FWIW I don't hate President Bush or his administration, I just think that most of his policies are very bad for this country.

Unnamed sources in a new... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Unnamed sources in a news report are known to the reporter, just not to the reader.

And I'm suppose to trust the reporter? Reporters don't have an agenda?

Remember how <a href="http:... (Below threshold)

Remember how CBS and others questioned nothing about the Dan Rather documents or the stooge making the allegations? They have a tendency to question sources only when the story could be damaging to liberals.

And I'm suppose to trust... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And I'm suppose to trust the reporter? Reporters don't have an agenda?

No, Kaffir, if you bothered to read you would have seen that I wrote:

I can understand criticism of the use of unnamed sources in news articles

but that's not the same thing as these documents. Btw in my experience most reporters don't have an agenda. Some do.

Just wondering, do you mean kāfir and not kaffir? Kaffir's a pretty ugly name to call yourself.

"Are there superscripts in ... (Below threshold)
Clioman:

"Are there superscripts in Arabic, and could Iraqi typewriters produce them in 1998?" Even as you read this, there is someone over at Daily Kos or DU who's asking himself this question.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy