Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Strange Case of the Mohammeds

Traditionally, Americans have accepted the good intentions of major news services and haven't questioned the credentials or history of the people whose names appear in bylines. But, in an age of advocacy journalism when reporters and producers have been know to cut corners when documents or testimony seem to match their pre-conceived notions, readers should demand more transparency from those who report the "news".

It's often difficult for news services to provide coverage in war zones, particularly one, like Iraq, where terrorist insurgents make no distinction between combatants and civilians. Sometimes news services hire locals as stringers or reporters. Two men Mohammed Barakat, writing for the Associated Press, and Mohammed al Dulaimy, writing for Knight Ridder newspapers, appear to be temporary or brand new hires. When you run a Google or Yahoo search on a reporter's name, usually you get a list of citations stretching back for months, even years. Googling Barakat or al-Dulaimy leads to citations that go back to the beginning of May, 2005. Either these folks are brand spanking new hires or they're using noms de plume.

Requests for biographical data have gone unanswered, but one thing is clear: beyond the coincidence of their first names, neither Mohammed has found anything positive to write about the US. In fact, the stories posted by these men read like sophisticated pro-insurgent propaganda.

How hard would it be for jihadis to get hired on by AP or Knight Ridder? Has the undeniable leftward bias of these major news outlets led them to hire people interested not in journalism, but in anti-American propaganda?