Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Has Chicago Tribune Reporter Gone Native?

Expatriates sometimes come to feel more in common with the people they interact with every day, while losing touch with their own fellow citizens. This tendency is only exacerbated when the expat is working in the home region of his ancestors.

Aamer Madhani is a US citizen who has been writing for the Chicago Tribune for several years. Today the Tribune published a story by Madhani that not only contradicts an official CentCom press release, but puts the credibility of the US military on an equal footing with the radical Shiite Mahdi Army militia of renegade cleric Muqtada al Sadr. The Chicago reporter also credited his Iraqi translator with contributing to the story.

Even the headline, "Deadly mosque raid in Iraq enrages Shiites", for the story signals the Tribune's reluctance to believe their own military, in effect, siding with the deadly Mahdi Army militia's version of events. This despite the fact that the final line of the CentCom press release reads, "No mosques were entered or damaged during this operation." This assertion is supported by the fact that US and Iraqi troops were fired on from the buildings and discovered dozens of assault rifles, heavy machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades. They also rescued a hostage who had been beaten for twelve hours prior to the raid. This was not mentioned in the Tribune article.

The anti-American bias in this story is so obvious, that Dr. Rusty Shackleford of The Jawa Report uses it as an example of Blood Libel against US troops.

Deliberately slanting stories to damage the paper's perceived political enemies is bad enough. Deliberately slanting stories in a way that will endanger US troops and almost certainly cause casualties is unacceptable. It's time for the Chicago Tribune to recall Aamer Madhani, and review their editorial policies.