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Two stories that made the buzz around the blogosphere of late have turned out to be a bit more convoluted than originally thought, and the idea that certain folks ought to eat a little crow has been making the rounds.

The first was the "Lonely Senator Kerry" photo. When it was first released, a lot of people (myself included) saw the photo of the good senator and erstwhile president sitting apart from the troops in Iraq and took it as the troops' disdaining to share his presence. That prompted a huge outcry from the left, who immediately accused various and sundry folks of Reutersing the photo, altering it to suit their political bias. The "true" story took a few days to come out: Kerry was actually having a private discussion with some reporters, away from the troops.

I put quotes around "true" because it still strikes me as a bit odd that the real explanation took some time to come out. And I think it speaks volumes that Kerry, when presented with the chance to bump elbows with our troops on the ground, instead chose to use the opportunity to speak with reporters.

It strikes me as a sort of "anti-Texas Air National Guard" kind of a moment. In that case, the argument was that the documents were "fake, but accurate." Here, much to the chagrin of the conspiracy-minded Kerry defenders, the photo was "real, but inaccurate."

Next up is the Jamil Hussein mess. Let's start off with what I think might be a fair recap:

A while ago, a certain fine blogger noted something odd about the AP's reports out of Baghdad. A great number of stories involving Shiite attacks on Sunnis all cited the same source, "Captain Jilal Hussein" of the Baghdad Police Department. But while the good captain's reporting was remarkably focused on topic, it was literally all over the map geographically.

This might make a certain amount of sense in an American city, where a certain high-ranking officer might take on all gang-related crime instead of focusing on one area, but in Baghdad that didn't seem to hold up, especially after it seemed that no one besides the AP had even heard of the captain.

Considering the AP and other news agencies' tendency to get their information from rather questionable sources, as well as a spotty history of reliable information, suspicion was certainly warranted. And the longer the AP ignored the legitimate questions, the greater the concern that "Captain Jilal Hussein" simply did not exist.

Here, the AP did themselves no favors. They said they verified his existence, and he checked out. Then it came out that their verification process consisted of saying "well, we called him up and asked if he was legit, and he said he was." This technique, if widely adopted in other areas, could lead to a major crisis in France, as several hundred Napoleon Bonapartes would be freed from mental asylums and could return to seek the throne yet again. (Hmm... would that be a bad thing?)

After several go-arounds with the Iraqi government saying that there is no such person, or maybe there is, the AP has come out with its definitive statement (or, at least, the last one that is still operative): the captain exists and was their source, despite his own denials.

So, where the hell do things stand right now with the AP, Captain Hussein, and the 60+ stories attributed to him all involving Shiite atrocities against Sunnis? Well, the last story (six Sunnis burned to death, along with several mosques) has pretty much fallen apart. The AP keeps saying he's real and legit, but we have to take their word for it; the Iraqi Ministry of Information can't keep track of who is real and who isn't, let alone who is authorized to speak to the press; and Michelle Malkin is putting on her Deerstalker and breaking out her cloak to see if she can track him down.

Right now, it's still too early to put paid to this whole odd account. The AP has not exactly been a paragon of openness and clarity in explaining just who its source for all those stories of Shiite atrocities, and just why we should simply take their word for it.

Yogi Berra once famously said "it ain't over 'til it's over." And sometimes, not even then.

Comments (21)

Old "pucker puss" (lee lee)... (Below threshold)

Old "pucker puss" (lee lee) (resident turd polisher) is right now going like mad to find links after link and quotes to put in his little boxes to make jay look bad . Hurry p'p' someone will beat yo.

"...Kerry, when presented w... (Below threshold)

"...Kerry, when presented with the chance to bump elbows with our troops on the ground, instead chose to use the opportunity to speak with reporters."

Actually Jay what your quote shows is a bias that clouds your credibility. You've done this more than once. You assume, without any knowledge whatsoever, that your conclusion is correct. You know no facts, other than what the photo shows. Yet you conclude, or at the very least infer, that all Kerry was interested in doing was speaking to reporters. You have no knowledge what happened before or after the photo was taken.

In the past you've been quick to criticize those who disagree with you and sometimes the criticism was right on . Frequently you have criticized those folks for not accurately stating the fact(s) before arriving at conclusions.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought you once responded to a label I put on you as a "flack" for the right as wrong. Well, sorry Jay but this reads just like what a "flack" for the right would write.

Both stories, while not exa... (Below threshold)

Both stories, while not exactly what they appeared, still make the left look bad. But hey, that happens 24/7.

And no one on the right faked anything. As they do on the left.

What, Hugh, I'm not allowed... (Below threshold)

What, Hugh, I'm not allowed to have an opinion? I thought it was pretty clear that my statement there was opinion, not fact...


I'm not allowed to... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:
I'm not allowed to have an opinion?

No you can't; only trolls may express opinions, notwithstanding that they are invariably wrong.

Jay:Come on, you c... (Below threshold)


Come on, you can do better than that. What i read and what you wrote was a conclusion. It's OK, the truth will set you free Jay. Just own it. We all make mistakes.

Now, lets assume it was an opinion. Based on what? One photo and not one scintilla of other fact? If it was an opinion, I'm even more disappointed.


Hugh, it's an opinion based... (Below threshold)

Hugh, it's an opinion based on my long-term observations of Senator Kerry. Poke through the archives, and you'll see I've been watching and criticizing him for YEARS. And Kerry's disdain for the troops dates back decades.

"The battle may not always go to the strong, nor the race to the swift -- but that's the way to bet."


I agree Jay. When word ca... (Below threshold)

I agree Jay. When word came out that the picture of Kerry sitting alone talking with a reporter was a meeting of his own making which had in fact been "mis-captioned" to reflect the troops' attitude toward his visit, I was disappointed. Disappointed because I couldn't see the point in such an attack. I really don't consider Kerry a threat to anyone. But I never saw pictures showing him talking to troops which I figured would have been readily made available by his own handlers if no one else. If I missed those then I have erred. We have learned from the left that Bush has no communication skills whatsoever. What we know about Kerry is that he likes to hear himself talk. If he were with the troops, it would be all about them. If he's with the reporter, it's all about John Kerry. It's the situation with which he is more comfortable. Like you, I know that from watching past performances.

Why do some folks insist on... (Below threshold)

Why do some folks insist on holding blogger like Jay, that write opinion pieces (were they in dead-tree media, that is where their work would belong) to the standards of event reporting BUT hold the AP (an organization that sells news copy, photos and video, not editorials) to a standard that might be high only considered against the "Letters to the Editor" pages?

Here we have a case where many on the right misread, nay one could say invented, the context of a photo. This prompted many on the left to try to discredit the photo itself. I can see their attraction to do so... the righty blogs have had alot of fun discrediting dishonest photo captions and outright fakeery of photos (and certain documents). The joy of hoisting them by the own petard is obvious.
The sad thing is, they both could have saved themselves lots of energy and embarrassment by just calling Kerry and Co and asking for details or context. Instead they both ran with their bias assuming that Kerry is a pariah or the right are willing to go to lengths to paint him as one.
However, I am seeing more mea culpas on the right over this than I can recall on the left over Rathergate, the Koran in the toilet, the photoshopped pictures of Beirut, the plastic turkey that wasn't plastic etc combined. But that may be my bias, but I think I would be safe in comparing any of these to the Kerry photo one on one to see the ratio of "My bad"s to "Never mind"s

Jay, Sometimes I get the im... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, Sometimes I get the impression from reading your threads that you should entitle your pieces about Iraq "Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln how was the play? A war which you thought 'was going o'kay', a few months ago, is now a full bloodied disaster and your scepticism is not aimed at the fools who got us into this mess, but at the AP and and an Iraqi police captain against whom the Iraqi authorities, the US military and Michelle Malkin believe is a fraud. As this unravels, the way to bet, is on the AP. It has been alot more reliable.

Sorry Steve, but so far fin... (Below threshold)

Sorry Steve, but so far finding the original source hasn't done a thing to verify any of the stories. It is, in fact, turning out more and more of his stories were faked. What is getting lost here is the AP didn't have a clue whether Hussein was real or not because they didn't care. As long as his stories fit their pre-conceived stories then he must be right. Right?

The question of his existence only came about AFTER it was determined many of his stories didn't seem to be accurate.

The basic question still remains. How many of the AP stories about the "disaster in Iraq" have been manufactured in order to push a political agenda?

Odd question - why didn't t... (Below threshold)

Odd question - why didn't the Kerry folk put out pics of him with the troops? Instead, we get ONE highly publicized shot of him with reporters.

Okay, was that the only shot the photographer took? Where's others?

Jay, your basically a hack.... (Below threshold)
jesus of suburbia:

Jay, your basically a hack.

Anyone that believes that H... (Below threshold)

Anyone that believes that Hanoi John is sitting alone by choice is a prime candidiate to buy some land I have for sale. If the water keeps dropping i'll be able to show it to you next week, have to hurry though, it's time for TVA to start holding water again, which will cover the island until this time next year.

Let see if I have this right. The ASSociated (with terrorists) Press quoted the phanthom Jamil Hussein on over 60 stories. When called on for the facts they slide out someone named Jamil Ghlaim and tell everyone 'this is the man'. In the meantime Ghliam tells the world 'Not me man' I haven't talked to no stinkin AP people.

A lot of people are roaming the streets that should reside in La La land.

That's my story and i'm sticking to it.

Malkin already issued a mia... (Below threshold)
jesus of suburbia:

Malkin already issued a mia-culpa, the dude exists apparently. too bad you're a hack Malkin as with most righty blogs.

i have an opinion- jhow66 i... (Below threshold)

i have an opinion- jhow66 is a complete asshole with a small penis.

i have an opinion- jhow6... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

i have an opinion- jhow66 is a complete asshole with a small penis.

And slingshot is very very jealous.

C'mon, Jay. "Kerry chose re... (Below threshold)

C'mon, Jay. "Kerry chose reporters over troops" is not an "opinion". You're stating a supposed fact.

You can then express an opinion about that fact, such as whether it's reasonable or deplorable for him to do so. That's what an "opinion" is.

But stating a fact, and then calling it an "opinion" when the fact turns out to be wrong... well, my opinion is that's plain cowardly.

I still don't see a link or... (Below threshold)

I still don't see a link or reasonable argument to disprove Jay's statements. A lot of bluster though.

C'mon, even Hugh was overflowing with bias while accusing JT of allowing his bias to affect his statements. Hugh, I thought we were going to go the high road this year, remember?

Both of these are non-stori... (Below threshold)

Both of these are non-stories and are symbolic of the problems with politics in this country today. We ignore people like Hillary, Obama and Biden to pay attention to an ex-candidate who happens to be a favorite target of the radical right. Then, instead of talking about policy, the focus is on a picture which may or may not have been as described and really had nothing to do with anything. And then there's this fuss about the attribution to a few of the stories coming out of Iraq. This is less than a drop in the bucket of blood that is Baghdad, and it's ridiculous to try and act as if one shaky source means that everything coming out of Iraq is somehow sullied.

I still don't see a link... (Below threshold)

I still don't see a link or reasonable argument to disprove Jay's statements.

Jay said:

"...Kerry, when presented with the chance to bump elbows with our troops on the ground, instead chose to use the opportunity to speak with reporters."

It was later revealed that the picture showed but one activity Kerry scheduled. It says nothing about his other activities involving the troops. Therefore, Jay's statement is at best baseless, and at worst false.

You shouldn't need "links" or "arguments" for this one. The facts speak for themselves.






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