Monday, April 25, 2005

WaPo, Reuters, AP Getting Back in Stride

Major news services, caught by surprise and stunned by the success of the Iraqi elections in January, are beginning to recover and now feel safe to once again distort information from military sources into a litany of doom. This is how Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press, writing for the Washington Post puts "local flavor" on events:
This week, at a checkpoint bunker in Tarmiya where insurgents downed a helicopter, a teenager in sunglasses clutching an AK-47 marked the limits of the Iraqi army's authority. "I wouldn't advise going there," the young Shiite Muslim recruit said, referring to Tarmiya, a Tigris River town a few hundred yards up the road that is dominated by Sunni Muslim landowners who were loyal to Saddam Hussein. "Those are some bad people there."

Up the road, insurgents run relatively free, and last week they appeared to have used a hilltop outside of town to fire what they later said was a shoulder-launched, heat-seeking missile. The missile hit a chartered Russian-made helicopter Thursday, killing six Americans and five other foreigners, including a survivor executed by the guerrillas afterward.
Well of course he doesn't want you running around near there, you stupid get. They don't need any more multi-million dollar ransoms paid out (thank you Giuliana Sgrena and Simonas). Reporting the news doesn't entitle you to take foolish risks that result in diverting resources to save your silly ass.

Meanwhile, military press releases paint a different story:
BAGHDAD –- In the [past] 24 hours, the number of captured terrorists suspected to have possible links to the shooting down of a civilian MI-8 helicopter has increased to 10.

Task Force Baghdad units, working in conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces and acting on tips from local residents, continue to investigate and detain individuals believed to have ties to the April 22 attack northwest of Baghdad.

Iraqi Police and Task Force Baghdad Soldiers have also apprehended 16 other terror suspects in the Baghdad area during the last 24 hours.

Task Force Baghdad Soldiers swept through a village in north Baghdad and captured 11 suspected terrorists during an early-morning raid April 24.
Reading between the lines, as the mainstream news likes to do, I surmise that the young man who spoke to Ellen assessed her as someone who would not only get in the way of ongoing, successful counter-terrorist operations, but someone who would slant the news to meet pre-conceived notions. I might further surmise that Ellen's story has the bias it does in part because of a fit of pique at being thwarted by an Iraqi teenager doing his job.