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Bad Journalism 101

Journalism isn't that hard. It is routinely taught to Freshman high school students. Yet, somehow when it comes to making accusations against the Bush administration, the simply task of reporting the news becomes an insurmountable obstacle. The leftwing blogs are atwitter with the latest "scandal."

US bribe insurgents to fight Al-Qaeda
Marie Colvin and Sarah Baxter

AMERICAN forces are paying Sunni insurgents hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to switch sides and help them to defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq. ...

The Sunday Times has witnessed at first hand the enormous sums of cash changing hands. One sheikh in a town south of Baghdad was given $38,000 (£19,000) and promised a further $189,000 over three months to drive Al-Qaeda fighters from a nearby camp.

Did you notice anything missing from this accusation that a high school student would have felt obligated to report?

Like the name and rank of the U.S. soldier or Marine passing out cash. Or even his unit.... They didn't even mention the city, simply saying "a town south of Baghdad." Considering Baghdad is in the center of the country, that narrows it down half the entire country.

Certainly if you're going to make an accusation like this a few corroborating fact should be available if it was witnessed 'first hand'?

You'll excuse me if this sounds an awful lot like the videographer who went on Good Morning America telling stories of dead babies in front of the New Orleans Convention Center after Katrina when there where no dead babies. And as I pointed out, it should have struck his producers as suspicious when a videographer gets on TV telling these tall tales yet he didn't have any video of what he claims he saw.

I realize this is the Times Online and I should be judging on a curve, but geeze, can't they even make up stories better than this?


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Comments (21)

The Shia and the Kurds popu... (Below threshold)

The Shia and the Kurds populate the area over the oil. Saddam and the Sunni stole it. I've been expecting that the Sunni would get a share of future oil revenues as a payment for functioning as a buffer between the Shia and the Sunni.

Similar dynamic in Saudi Arabia. The Shia overlie the oil.

The Sunni turned against Al Qaeda because they are bin Laden's boys are savages. And because American forces protected their city mouse cousins from Shia death squads. And because Abdullah, the King of the Sauds, awoke to the Persian march to the Mediterranean Sea.

These leftists are grasping... (Below threshold)

These leftists are grasping at straws. It's money, no, it's because the surge is failing, no, it's about oil, no, noooooo, nooooooooooooo, noooooooooooooooo.

Somebody, stop the music. Don't you know it's a quagmire.

>The Shia and the Kurds pop... (Below threshold)

>The Shia and the Kurds populate the area over the oil

kim, fyi

I didn't blog it yet, I'm waiting for a confirming report, but it is interesting.

$75k a month? To not attac... (Below threshold)
Murdoc Author Profile Page:

$75k a month? To not attack us or the Iraqi government and to attack terrorists and anti-government forces instead?

Let's do this with 500 tribes if it's working.

Call me dense, but even if ... (Below threshold)

Call me dense, but even if true, where's the scandal?

Bribing Sunni insurgents to... (Below threshold)

Bribing Sunni insurgents to fight al-Qaida? If I see any scandal it's that we didn't do it sooner.

But we might want to recall the mobster's definition of a "good cop:" one who when he's bought, stays bought.


I'm with Murdoc. Even if th... (Below threshold)
Aog Author Profile Page:

I'm with Murdoc. Even if the article is absolutely accurate, what, exactly, is the scandal here? $250K to wipe out an Al Qaeda camp? That seems way better than $1200K for a Tomahawk (although that may be coming down to $600K).

Moreover, I suspect that the basic money transfer is correct. The USA has been handing out cash to tribes for redevelopment. I certainly hope that there's also a tacit "whack these losers for us, OK?" along with the cash.

I really, really despise an... (Below threshold)

I really, really despise anonymous comments and stories that are published without attribution. These violate the very spirit of the Constitution. One is supposed to have the right to face one's accuser and the accuser does need to be accountable for his or her statements.

Anyone can say anything, and they often do, without fear of reprisal in an anonymous setting. But when those allegations are able to visit harm then they need to be accompanied by the names of sources.

It is a "scandal" because i... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

It is a "scandal" because it would mean that we were winning the war through the help of the Iraqi's and instead of engaging them in the precious dialogue the lefties covet so much, we would be paying them to do the right thing.

I also do not see the problem here. The money that might be going to these groups, if true, is far less than the actual war is costing.

Call me dense, but... (Below threshold)
Call me dense, but even if true, where's the scandal?
Not so much a scandal as an attempt to imply we've bought the Surge's success and/or shore up Schumer's claims it isn't US troops that are being successful.

Desperate and Sad.

Paul H: Cash flows out ... (Below threshold)

Paul H: Cash flows out of Washington like water to anyone who can get a Congressman to add a rider to a bill.

Ain't that the way it's SUPPOSED to be, Paul? Your pork is my desperately needed development funding? Heaven forbid the money go to something actually useful - where would the fun be in pointing fingers and acting outraged?

Paul H. is no longer allowe... (Below threshold)

Paul H. is no longer allowed to post on my threads. Ignore him.

It will be interesting to s... (Below threshold)

It will be interesting to see how the media reacts to Brit Hume's exclusive interview with Petreus and Crocker on Monday night.LINK

Sorry, broken link:<p... (Below threshold)

Sorry, broken link:

[not any more i fixed it bit I'll mention people need to scroll down. -ed]

It will be interes... (Below threshold)
It will be interesting to see how the media reacts to Brit Hume's exclusive interview with Petreus and Crocker
Short of some moderate or major negative information, they will: 1) Pretend it doesn't exist 2) Imply FoxNews is a mouthpiece for Republicans because only they can obtain some interviews 3) Watch interviews with people that will only appear on their stations and pat themselves on the back for preventing Democrats from appearing on Fox.
speaking of "Bad Journalism... (Below threshold)

speaking of "Bad Journalism", the A/P has this headline up now:
Biden faults Petraeus on Iraq assessment

and then begins with this paragraph:

President Bush's war strategy is failing and the top military commander in Iraq is "dead flat wrong" for warning against major changes, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.

Ahead of two days of crucial testimony by Bush's leading military and political advisers on Iraq...

They actually run a story about a man criticizing a report he hasn't read (because he doesn't have it), and testimony that HASN'T BEEN GIVEN YET!

hey Biden...STFU until you actually KNOW SOMETHING! (ok, in Joe's case that would be FOREVER!)

Call me dense, but... (Below threshold)
Call me dense, but even if true, where's the scandal?
Bad journalism? Well in a sense but not what you think. Better to call it "late journalism."

Pat Dollard reported this very story 5 months ago. The difference of course is Dollard gave the contect behind the program where the slam artists at the Times didn't.

Here's his first para, read the rest:

In April, I ran a couple of stories about what was at the time the largest cash payment we had yet made to an Al Anbar tribe as part of an alliance deal. I'd seen things like this go down myself on a smaller scale, and the story about the tribe in question in my posts was told to me by an unimpeachable military source in Al Anbar. It's not simple bribery, as the Sheiks and their people are often in serious need of financial aid, especially for weapons and ammunition. But motivation and a displays of good will and good faith are undeniably part of why we do it.

The Sunday Times has ... (Below threshold)

The Sunday Times has witnessed at first hand ...the Sunday Times may be pissed that their "hand" didn't see some of that cash.

On the other hand (no pun intened)how much were the local stingers of questionable integrity, existence etc paid by the Sunday Times?

As Paul noted, if they "witnessed at first hand" and can't/won't produce one item of identification why shouldn't we assume the paper made the whole story up?

... Next thing you know, p... (Below threshold)

... Next thing you know, people are going to be accusing the United States Armed Forces of being mercenaries for accepting money for their service.

If these people's efforts can be purchased for that cheap, it is much cheaper than employing our own equipment and forces. Of course, since the liberals only exist to spend money, I wonder why they are objecting to this.

Call me dense, but... (Below threshold)
Call me dense, but even if true, where's the scandal?

I was going to say the same thing. I hope it *is* true, and they expand the program.

how much were the local ... (Below threshold)

how much were the local stingers should say "local stringers"






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