Same Old Problem: Neglecting to Mention Al-Qaeda’s Responsibility
In today’s Washington Post, Megan Greenwell wrote-up an account of the recent successive bombings in the Karrada district without mentioning Al-Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for at least three of these bombings on July 23rd.
Greenwell and her editors set aside 240 words for this (‘Blast Kills at Least 25 in Long-Secure Baghdad Neighborhood,’ The Washington Post, July 27, 2007):
The explosion was the latest in a string of car bombs in Karrada, a largely Shiite district long considered one of Baghdad's safest neighborhoods. More than 50 people have been killed in seven car bomb attacks in the neighborhood this month. There was no significant violence in Karrada in June, police records show.
Since the war began, Karrada had been one of the few places in Baghdad to have escaped intense sectarian violence. Sunnis and Shiites driven out of other areas of the capital flocked to the neighborhood, willing to pay higher rents for the prospect of safety.
A sprawling set of streets with dozens of produce stalls, clothing stores and restaurants, Karrada is especially known for its jewelry stores, selling products from cheap costume bracelets to gold rings. Thursday afternoons are one of the busiest times in Karrada, as people finish their shopping before the midday curfew Friday, the Muslim holy day.
The sudden wave of attacks jarred many Baghdad residents, who had come to regard Karrada as a place where they could spend a leisurely few hours with relatively little fear. Police said they will increase patrols around the area, especially after the Iraqi soccer team plays in its first Asian Cup championship Sunday.
"I used to feel comfortable and secure when I went to Karrada," said Shaymaa Hassan, 24. "I liked to shop for clothes and shoes there. Now I don't go unless I have to."
Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq issued a communiqué on the same day (via Al-Hesbah) claiming credit for the three simultaneous car bombs on July 23rd:
“Allah enabled the soldier of the [Islamic State] to explore a car bomb against a congregation of the gangs of the [Mahdi Army] at their headquarters in central Baghdad, which led to killing many of them, and after more [Mahdi Army] members gathered around the corpses of the dead, two bombs were exploded, through the power of Allah, which had been prepared as an ambush, leading to the death and injury of tens of them…"In Al-Qaeda's worldview, all lay Shi'ites are members of the Mahdi Army or the Badr Corps.
Is it any wonder, then, if congressional leaders seem incredulous when President Bush talks-up Al-Qaeda’s dominant role in the Sunni insurgency? It’s because their morning papers are neglecting to give them the full story. Is it being done on purpose? Hell yeah, for after four years and several US-based services devoted to translating and sharing insurgent propaganda, this sort of info is readily available to these journalists and editors, yet they choose to ignore it. If that’s not a form of editorializing a news story, then what is?
Anywhere in the world, the first investigative step undertaken by news bureaus after a terrorist attack is to wait for a claim of responsibility. But that is not the usual conduct of journalists covering the Iraq insurgency, even though Al-Qaeda makes it convenient by quickly posting communiqués online.
BTW, for all the ink that’s been spilled on the recent ‘cooperation’ between American forces and the 1920 Revolution Brigades in Diyala Province, no journalist has looked into the continuing claims of responsibility being issued by the ‘Brigades’ for attacks on US and Iraqi forces.