This Was No Rookie Mistake

A couple notes about today’s colossal AP blunder.

First this was no rookie mistake. The sole reporter on this story – AP correspondent Robert H. Reid – is a former AP bureau chief (Cairo and Manila) and has been reporting on Iraq since 2002. As a reporter, he has covered the fall of the Shah of Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iran-Iraq war, and the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Second the location where the image and statement were posted is an Arabic language bulletin board that has seen its share of jihadist propaganda. I doubt that this was a “teenage prank,” as some have speculated.

Third, the story arc in this instance is different from previous kidnapping that bubbled up into the mainstream press. This story appeared first on the AP wires rather than many of the sites that normally break this kind of story. Many reports don’t survive the bubble up process from bulletin boards; to specialty intelligence monitoring sites; to blogs or second tier media site; and finally to the networks and wires. This report appears to have been rushed as a “scoop.”

Robert H. Reid and the editors at AP have some serious explaining to do.

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