Yeah, everyone else has already been on this story, but my internet connection was down all week and I didn’t get the chance. [insert sad punctuation face]
As you’ll recall, back around Thanksgivingtime, the world was shocked to see the violence in Iraq rise to a whole new level: six Iraqi Sunnis were grabbed by Shiite militiamen, doused in kerosene and burned alive.
The horrific event was reported by the Associated Press, who’s story was based upon a single source, “police Capt. Jamil Hussein”. And shortly after the AP story spread across the world, spokesmen for the US and Iraqi governments claimed that there was no man by that name who worked for the Iraqi police.
So here was a controversy: the AP claimed that Jamil Hussein was a real person and Iraqi government spokesmen claimed he was made-up.
When faced with two contradictory stories, the rational response is to say to yourself “I wonder which one is true?”, look at the evidence for both claims, and then (if possible) draw conclusions. But the rabid right-wingers of the blog world aren’t real familiar with rational responses, and simply declared that the government account was the true one. The government said that there was no Jamil Hussein, therefore there was no Jamil Hussein, therefore the AP were liars, therefore all of AP’s news stories about death and civil war in Iraq were fake, therefore things are going great in Iraq, therefore the US won the war! Yee-haw!!!
It’s just maddening and offensive. There were so many potential explanations for this situation, all ignored by the right-wingers. Maybe the Iraqi government keeps bad records. Maybe the police officer was using a pseudonym. Maybe there were typos. Maybe the AP made it up. Maybe the government lied. Maybe everyone made honest mistakes. But no, with absolutely no consideration or evidence, the warbloggers concluded that the AP had fabricated a source, and therefore all their reporting was suspect. Or they were liars. Or they were on the side of the terrorists, take your pick.
Do you think they really buy into this bullshit? Or are they conscious that they are full of shit, but knowingly tell and repeat any lies and nonsense to score points for their team?
After the government denial and right-wing bashing, the AP went tried to back up their story by talking in more detail about Jamil Hussen, and citing additional witnesses to the murders. I never saw the right-wingers talk about that part. And indeed, they seemed to stop caring about the murders altogether. The only thing that mattered now was that the AP had “fabricated a source”.
And of course, the conclusion of this tale is that the Iraqi government now admits that Captain Jamil Hussein exists.
One would hope that these right-wing bloggers would feel a bit of shame and embarassment, but not much luck there (although Glenn Greenwald has tried to help in that response by assembling a long list of similar failed crusades by right-wing bloggers). A few of the warbloggers have admitted error, but “apologize for nothing.” Some of them are now arguing that it’s all a trick, that the Iraqi government has simply stuck some guy in a uniform and is claiming that he is Jamil Hussein. Jeez, when the Iraqi government claimed there was no Hussein, this crew couldn’t lap it up fast enough, despite the lack of evidence. Now, they make another claim with more evidence, and suddenly these bloggers are towering skeptics. Or they could follow their AP model: obviously the Iraqi government told one lie, therefore we can’t believe a single word they’ve ever said or will say in the future.
In a fun little twist, the Iraqi government wants to arrest Hussein for talking to the media at all. However, it seems that they’re case against him falls apart if the AP refuses to pick him out of a line-up (which some of the right-wingers will surely cite as “proof” that this isn’t the real Jamil Hussein blah blah blah).
It’s really disgusting. Either these guys are complete idiots, living solely on outrage and “truthiness”, or they are the worst sort of lying partisan suck-ups.
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