Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Shamelessness from the NYTimes and the WaPo

The lead stories in both papers today should become textbook examples of media manipulation. First, the NYTimes: a compelling story about Iraqi widows and how they are being mistreated is turned into an attack piece on former President Bush. The piece, by Timothy Williams, seems to imply that Iraq’s widow problem only began in the last “six years of war”. Forget Saddam, forget Saddam’s wars. Such minor details—ancient history, if you will—didn’t leave any impact on the situation of widows in Iraq.

What’s important is that an Iraqi journalist threw a shoe at Bush on “behalf of the war’s widows and orphans”. Clearly, it’s all W’s fault.

Next, the WaPo: the second installment of a two part series on Abdallah al-Ajmi, the Kuwaiti suicide bomber. The story, by activist distorter/reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, is meant to tackle one of the most compelling cases of why shutting down Guantanamo—a leftist battle cry—is such a bad idea, considering the alternatives. We are meant to suspend disbelief and go along with the fantasy that al-Ajmi became what he became as a result of Guantanamo.

The money quote is: “Before he went to Afghanistan, he was a normal teenager. He spun the car around in circles. He smoked. People liked him,” Mansur [al-Ajmi’s brother] said. “After he came back from Guantanamo, he seemed like a completely different person. He stared all the time. You could not have a normal conversation with him….It seemed as if his brain had been washed.”

As you can tell, the Taliban regime left no negative impact on al-Ajmi. It was all Guantanamo’s fault—and Cheney’s. If the results in Florida had gone another way, none of this jihad stuff would have happened.

And why isn’t there a Part 3 to this story, dealing with the lives of the Iraqi soldiers that al-Ajmi killed. Shouldn’t the families of those soldiers have a say?

Or at least get their religion right: Chandrasekaran asserts that the 13 dead Iraqi soldiers were, in his words, "all of them Muslims". But when I wrote up the al-Ajmi story last June, I had indicated that at least six of them were Yezidis, that is, they were non-Muslims. That's what I dug up at the time, and can't be bothered to look for my notes. I'll trust my own reporting, thank you very much.

One day, way after this jihad stuff keeps catching fire despite Obama’s best efforts, a discerning news consumer would be in the market for a book describing how the ‘responsible’ media distorted the ‘war on terror’ story to suit its own pedantic biases, and in the process impeded the West’s ability to fight back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

-Baghdad museum reopens 6 years after looting-

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer Sameer N. Yacoub,
Please may I draw your attention to
this very biased news article? The AP is very suspect of ignoring the facts. They will never let the war in Iraq end sucessfully.

11:55 AM, February 23, 2009

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