A Baghdad fairy tale from McClatchey?

They hire "iraqi bloggers" to keep us guessing.

By Mark Kilmer Posted in Comments (29) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Bush must be stopped, the reasoning seems to go, by any means necessary. Subjecting the undiscerning to first order fraud is a small price to pay.

Greg Mitchell, chief dunce at Editor & Publisher, calls it "some remarkably revealing commentary and news," which means that it is anti-Bushie raving from media poltroons with stars in their eyes. The "it" about which I'm writing is a blog, the "McClatchy Baghdad Bureau's" Inside Iraq:

"Inside Iraq" chronicles daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.

Read More…

The Associated Press used an anonymous source, of a sort, whom they called Jamil Hussein which might have been a pen name for Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim or Jamil Gholaiem Hussein who might or might not have been an Iraqi police captain working in Yarmouk or Khadra… it's a long story. He, if he exists and was not a composite, was the AP's source for the tale of six burning Sunnis. The story was fabricated. (Even Eason Jordan isn't buying it.)

To accept that these are anonymous Iraqis blogging for McClatchy, a notoriously anti-Bushie news service, requires a profound leap a faith. You must believe that every lefty preconception about the war and its aftermath turned out to be true. You must believe that despite the erudition of such Iraqis as Omar and Mohammed Fahdil of Iraq the Model, the best McClatchy could find were a few folks who were semi-articulate with English, who more resemble anAmerican pretending to use broken English.

This is "remarkably revealing commentary" to the anti-Bushies. The Congressional Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey Caucus needs its collaborators. (What are surrender monkeys without a Vichy regime?)

One anonymous Iraqi blogger – "Correspondent Sahar," whose existence is unverifiable -- tells us this:

I know it is all about the oil. I know that those who thought to use the greed of US politicians to remove one rotten tyrant and impose the will of tens of others upon the people of Iraq, had oil in mind as payment for the services rendered by the US Administration.

That's wild stuff, but we could have picked up that dross from those neo-Nam rallies we see spring up from time-to-time Stateside. It is crude Op/Ed at best.

Another anonymous Iraqi blogger, "Dulaimy," shares a ha-ha:

“Recent studies proved that Iraqis are the most romantic people on the globe for the following reasons: 1. They are used to have dinner using candle lights (because there is no electricity). 2. They sit in front of a wooden stove (no electricity or fuel, no other alternative). 3. When the husband is late for more than 5 minutes the wife will call repeatedly (he might get kidnapped). 4. A wife will sell all her golden possessions (to pay the ransom). 5. All men are back home by 5 p.m. for their wives (because of the curfew)”

'T is "remarkably revealing commentary," to be certain.

In the post prior, just before joking around with us, "Dulaimy" tells us that a friend who was just killed (by Donald Rumsfeld?):

i think it is about time to say I have had enough, I will not make any new friends that will be killed, kidnapped or leave the country.

To all my friends; those who are still here, who left, missing or killed: No one will take your place...

If it is true, that he lost a friend, it is very sad. On the other hand, it's a simple thing to invent and type if your goal is to slander the United States, its soldiers, and its mission. That's what McClatchy is doing, and their propagandizing shows no real knack for bending any but the most malleable (or already twisted) minds.

Anonymous Iraq blogger "Laith" tries to be sarcastic as his government secures Baghdad: he complains about all the walking he has to do:

What kind of security plan is this? How will it work with this mess? Where is the new equipment to discover the car bombs the government talked about ? All these questions came to my mind at the same moment I passed the check point.

I hope to find answers to my questions and thank you again Mr. President and Mr. PM for the new fitness plan (this is the best name of teh secuirty plan) hoping that the plan returns back fitness and health to all Iraqis.

Greg Mitchell calls this journalism, and he credits McClatchy with "some of the best reporting on the war." We don't know if this even exists. When America's media invents, distorts, and manipulates the truth to harm our country, its leaders, and its soldiers and one calls it a great thing, there is no removing the neo-Nam slop from his eyes; he's imagining retrograde nostalgia, trying to relive a contrived and craven aspect of a dead era.

Permit me an observation: Bitterness is unbecoming. (And we can't ask Heidegger.)

Then again, we can look at the larger picture. I mean, what harm is caused by a few little inventions and fabrications if they help to secure for this country a President Hillary, Obama, Edwards, or LaRouche? (Situational ethics were never my forte.)

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A Baghdad fairy tale from McClatchey? 29 Comments (0 topical, 29 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Send me to Iraq with a satchel full of American dollars, and I'll bring back any type of "genuine" first-hand Iraqi essay you want--tons of 'em. You can pick the details and you can pick the tone.

---
Internet member since 1987
Member of the Surreality-Based Community

and create the war that fits my ideology.
====
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison

is justified by the higher calling of stopping the war. Of course it won't stop the war, only worsen it, but they can't seem to understand that.

What should stand as a guardian against this sort of nonsense are the "guild standards" of professional journalism. Groups like Editor and Publisher should be writing articles like yours pointing out that bundling a bunch on anonymous comments with a common point of view is most like a cheap shot taken by someone with an agenda. Unfortunately, E&P has turned into a cheerleading squad for propaganda.

Nice article, thanks Mark Kilmer!

Gee, he could have saved a ton of money and actually had some credibility if he just promoted this this.

At least we know these guys actually exist, are honest and not sitting on judgmental behinds in the Green Zone.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

Their stringers are former Baathists, i.e., Sunni Arabs who support Al Qaeda, etc., whose real beef is that their side is losing. And, as Sunni Arabs, they and their families are being driven out of Baghdad because they harbor and support terrorists who kill Shiites.

As the editor who oversees McClatchy's Iraq coverage, I wondered whether it was worth responding to Mark Kilmer's incredibly uninformed post. After all, I don't know if he really exists or what his name is; there's no bio on the Web. He can't spell McClatchy. He's ignorant about the issues he raises, apparently not realizing that the "phantom" AP source controversy was resolved, at least partially, when the Iraqi government admitted that Capt. Hussein did exist. He clearly doesn't pay enough attention to McClatchy bylines to recognize the names of the blog's writers. He apparently still lives in a fantasyland where the lack of Iraqi WMD, the onset of sectarian civil war, the growth of Iranian influence, the possible dissolution of Iraq into sectarian regions, and the inability of the United States to restore water, electricity and security are all "lefty preconceptions about the war and its aftermath." Even the White House now warns of those very "preconceptions."
Still, I feel the need to defend the integrity of our Iraqi staff, who, unlike Kilmer and the few commentators who've added to his post, struggle daily with the reality of Iraq. They risk their lives just to go to work _ outside the Green Zone, by the way, Marcus Traianus, to address the commentator who for unknown reasons has picked as his pseudonym the birth name of a Roman emperor known for pederasty, drunkenness and a military foray into present-day Iraq that ended in disarray after initial success.
Our Iraqi staffers come from Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish households _ a staffing decision we made years ago, recognizing that those two sects and one ethnic group bring different views to the table. Perhaps commentator Holsinger would find it odd that both Sunni and Shiite believe the situation in Iraq today is tragic and insufferable.
Of course, Kilmer doesn't actually attack the truth of anything that's written on the blog. He doesn't suggest that bodies aren't blown to bits or that relatives don't have to sort through the pieces in hopes of recovering their loved ones. He knows human beings of all nationalities and ethnicities turn to humor to get them through otherwise intolerable times. But he doesn't like what he learns there because it runs afoul of the fairy tale he's trying to wish to life _ that Iraq has been a big success for the United States, and Iraqis are very happy about it. So he attacks what he can _ falsely suggesting that the bloggers aren't real, so the situations they report can't be, either.
But both the situations and the bloggers are real. And unlike those of you who use made-up names to post here, they really do risk their lives when they write. If you are serious about seeking victory in Iraq, you might do well to listen to some Iraqis _ maybe especially, if you don't like what they have to say. Blind, deaf and dumb is no way to fight.
You can find me by my real name.

if anyone ever needed more evidence of the abject stupidity of the American news media they need look no further.

Sifting through this diatribe I struggled to find facts. Any facts. But alas and alack, like "McClatchy's" (a name better suited to a cheap scotch than a newspaper chain) reporting they were few and far between.

As the editor who oversees McClatchy's Iraq coverage, I wondered whether it was worth responding to Mark Kilmer's incredibly uninformed post. After all, I don't know if he really exists or what his name is; there's no bio on the Web. He can't spell McClatchy.

Unlike your sources, Mark is reachable by email. The fact that you can't find his bio speaks more to your lack of ability than to his existence.

He's ignorant about the issues he raises, apparently not realizing that the "phantom" AP source controversy was resolved, at least partially, when the Iraqi government admitted that Capt. Hussein did exist.

Actually, Mark gave a pretty good synopsis of the Jamil Hussein issue. He could have gone farther with the fake sources and photos flogged by Reuters. Or the number of fake/composite sources used by other media. Or the AP stringers who were involved in the murder of Iraqi election officials. Or the CBS stringer who was "embedded" with insurgents.

He apparently still lives in a fantasyland where the lack of Iraqi WMD, the onset of sectarian civil war, the growth of Iranian influence, the possible dissolution of Iraq into sectarian regions, and the inability of the United States to restore water, electricity and security are all "lefty preconceptions about the war and its aftermath."

Cute ad hominem but I didn't see Mark mentioning them. BTW, reestablishing water and electricity is not a US responsibility, really, I'm sure you have internet access. And the 'possible dissolution' of Iraq is Joe Biden's preferred solution so I really don't know what point you are trying to make with this.

Still, I feel the need to defend the integrity of our Iraqi staff, who, unlike Kilmer and the few commentators who've added to his post, struggle daily with the reality of Iraq.

Sez you.

by the way, Marcus Traianus, to address the commentator who for unknown reasons...

Wow! You have reached puberty haven't you. Or is this how "McClatchy" editors handle criticism.

Our Iraqi staffers come from Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish households

Proof? I mean given the general quality of your reporting what makes this claim convincing? Or even relevant. Do you hire a sample of Jews, Catholics, and Presbyterians in the US? I would have thought one would hire competent reporters but I don't work for McClatchy.

Perhaps commentator Holsinger would find it odd that both Sunni and Shiite believe the situation in Iraq today is tragic and insufferable.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

But both the situations and the bloggers are real. And unlike those of you who use made-up names to post here, they really do risk their lives when they write.

Give me a break.

Know what, I am really ashamed for you. Really. But this is so typical of "journalists". Unable to marshal facts they resort to memes and self-referential sourcing when challenged. And they wonder why the rest of the world laughs at them.

And do pardon me for using the "made up name" I got the idea from Mark Twain.

Wow by piggy

You get a major editor from MSM to engage with Redstate and the best you come up with is a post of name calling?

"The rest of the world is laughing at journalists?

You might want to look in the mirror.

-------------
So libs, how's that Congressional Resolution to end The War™ coming along?

this is what we call fisking. and a mighty fine and deadly accurate fisk it was streiff! 5!

it’s nice being picked up and all, but you better be prepared to hold your breath for a very long time.
___________________________________________________________
Thou art the Great Cat, the avenger of the Gods, and the judge of words...-Inscription on the Royal Tombs at Thebes

I don't care whether you're the editor of the largest news media outlet the world has ever seen.

Mark Seibel's post deserved a fisking and it got one.

And shock and horror, his day job as an EDITOR!! did not give him immunity.

He apparently still lives in a fantasyland where the lack of Iraqi WMD, the onset of sectarian civil war, the growth of Iranian influence, the possible dissolution of Iraq into sectarian regions, and the inability of the United States to restore water, electricity and security are all "lefty preconceptions about the war and its aftermath." [etc., etc.] <yawn>

Normally this kind of rant would be nothing noteworthy, just another true believer spewing his rage for our entertainment. But his opening line makes it an altogether different story:

As the editor who oversees McClatchy's Iraq coverage ...

This deserves front page treatment, yet another curtain drawn back on what kind of clowns are the gatekeepers of "news" from Iraq. You could just headline his comment as is, and let it speak for itself with no further explanation beyond highlighting who the author is.

A word of caution - I believe the author really is who he says he is, McClatchy's international managing editor Mark Seibel, but that should be verified first to avoid unfairly smearing him, in case somebody else posted the comment under his name to discredit him.

Nonetheless, some verification needs to be made that this clown is who he claims to be.

A person leaving comments on a blog is hardly someone purporting to report "biting" and "revealing" (Mitchell's descriptives) news from Baghdad. If it is a McClatchy fantasy, and it could well be, it is propaganda of the worst order. Lies offered to harm or even insult one's own country, and McClatchy co. is an American company, are despicable.

The AP and their Jamil Hussein scandal is not a resolved matter. The Iraqi Interior Ministry, an organization susceptible to corruption, identified someone by that name who worked for a department. That later changed to someone with a similar name working for someone else. The Interior Ministry source later denied claiming to have identified the man. And it was never claimed by anyone that the person identified as various people who worked at various places was the source of the Burning Sunnis story.

Here is our problem. Your news service operates a blog which attacks the United States, our soldiers, and their mission. The blog lends itself credibility, or tries to do so, by claiming to be something. I questioned the authenticity of that project and stated that if it be a lie, you are sick people. If it be actual, let us know, but leaving it there as it currently exists is not only disingenuous but also potentially dangerous.

Am I uninformed about the McClatchy blog project? I suppose, in that there is no way for me to be certain just what it is.

The ball is in your court. You may feel free to establish something for our benefit.

He's ignorant about the issues he raises, apparently not realizing that the "phantom" AP source controversy was resolved, at least partially, when the Iraqi government admitted that Capt. Hussein did exist.

Who's ignorant? Let's see, the person claiming that the Interior Ministry ID'd "Jamil Hussein" was the same AP-in-Iraq reporter (Stephen Hurst) whose byline appeared on the Burning Sunni story that got spread over the globe, appearing in hundreds of papers. His story on that claim is remarkably lacking in direct quotations from the Interior Ministry, and has never been confirmed. The Burning Sunni story itself has been debunked, the person claimed by Hurst and AP to be Jamil Hussein is not named Jamil Hussein at all but something else entirely, and that person denies ever speaking to AP at any time. Hmmmm...that all seems to contradict your claim that the "phantom source" controversy has been resolved.

As currently known, even were we to accept AP's claim on the identity of "Jamil Hussein" (who is not actually named Jamil Hussein) and reconcile it with the known facts, an almost completely bogus story based on the word of an undisclosed pseudonymous source was vigorously defended by AP as true for months, and no corrections have yet been issued by AP. Which falls WELL short of their own (claimed but apparently winked at) standards of journalistic ethics. That same undisclosed pseudonymous source was cited as a source in several dozen previous AP stories, none of which have ever been confirmed, and several of which have also been shown to be wildly at variance with actual events.

And AP has quit naming sources altogether, which conforms more to their published standards but provides no easy means of checking their stories. Given their earlier lack of veracity, that leaves us with ZERO confidence in anything AP reports out of their Iraq bureau.

Uh huh. How could we ever doubt?

is the one who occupied all of Iraq. It was his successor, Hadrian, who decided to retreat to more "defensible borders" and pulled out. (He also built Hadrian's wall.)

Of course, both defensible frontiers were later breached in later times, the eastern one most notably in 260AD when the Persian king Shapur defeated the emperor Valerian in battle. (The strategic cycle moved more slowly in those days.)

Oh, by the way, while general Roman sexual mores were different than our own, it was Hadrian who scandalized his contemporaries by his obsessive infatuation with the youth Antinous, and who declared him a god after the young man's death.

Just so you know.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinous
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapur_I

First, I must congratulate you on a very nice, ad hominem attack and for revealing the shallow intellectual prowess we have all come to expect.

Only a purported journalist, limited in insight with a modus operandi of representing parochial opinion and political views as reporting would be able to craft such ridiculous nonsense.

Even your history appears to be obscured by an incapacity to factually examine events absent sneering personal bigotry; revealed by reducing what historians have called one of the five great emperors of Rome with substantial accomplishments to your jaded self edited Wikipedia assessment of negative superlatives.

Frankly, this is not very dissimilar to your reporting on Iraq which is assembled as fact; yet is really a contemptuous personal opine, elusive of fact and focused on negative events to fit your worldview. I doubt the authenticity of your blogging assemblage; ever been to their homes for tea? What are they doing at night and who are their friends?

It might do you some good to read the page I referenced. Those are all real sources one can actually verify; most of them protecting this country or in the case of Iraqi’s providing for an independent future. A significant amount of their time is spent outside the Green Zone trying to do some good; as you and your liege throw rocks, belittle their accomplishments and engage in specious reporting designed to hide your obvious deficiencies.

By the way, RS editors and directors are free to verify my existence and credentials at any point. You may not, until something useful and intellectually challenging is stated.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
Contributor to The Minority Report

which it CAN do, but not exclusively, of course. :>)

Do you think it's a monolith? Because you speak as if it is. You say that it's a "fairy tale (that) Iraqis are...happy about (our deposing Saddam Hussein)." You state that as fact. Do you, as an editor, allow your writers to write in such a way?

I would imagine that opinion on that subject varies widely on the question -- driven by such variables as their views on the deposed Baathist government. As with all tyrants, the devotion one feels to him is often determined by the degree to which one approved of their actions. There has never been a universally unpopular tyrant -- and that includes Saddam Hussein. It's also important to remember that Iraqis are not unlike most in Muslim nations: they don't like Westerners, particularly Americans. This was just as true before the invasion as since.

However, I do think that the clearest statement of Iraqi sentiment towards the establishment of a new government -- irrespective of American involvement in bringing about such a prospect and irrespective of subsequent sectarian violence -- were the 3 elections. Registration and turnout were both remarkably high.

That's an important longer-view thing to recall -- as it, too, required a fair amount of personal risk -- as we see the litany of unsettling shorter-view events.

I think I'd tend to agree with your statement more if Iraqi participation in the elections was light. It was anything but. They do seem to care, quite a bit, about what kind of government they have.

And that is, tacitly and almost certainly unintentionally, the greatest vote of support for the liberation the Iraqi people could give us. They don't have to like us or even appreciate us.

They have to like the prospect of self-government, in whatever form it may take. Thanks for posting -- and chill out a bit, would ya?

Mr. Siebel,

Are your stringers in Baghdad almost entirely, or exclusively, Sunni Arabs? It doesn't matter if your organization has Kurdish stringers in Kurdish-controlled areas, and Shiite stringers in Shiite-controlled areas.

Tell us the geographic area covered by your Baghdad Bureau. Is it all of Iraq, only the Baghdad area, or Baghdad plus some but not all Iraqi provinces and, if the latter, which provinces?

Because the subject is who works for your Baghdad Bureau. Not the Kirkut Bureau or the Basra Bureau. The Baghdad Bureau.

And they don't have to be Sunni Arabs of Iraqi nationality. They can be Sunni Arabs of Palestinian origin too, or Sunni Arabs from where-ever. As long as they work out of your Baghdad Bureau.

We are familiar with the games the MSM plays with its stringers, including those who are terrorists themselves, those who work for terrorist organizations, and those who simply provide PR for terrorists.

If your organization wants some credibility, given this background, you should tell us the ethnic makeup of the Arab stringers working for your Baghdad Bureau, and what areas the Baghdad Bureau covers.

1. Who are you and what are your credentials? Where can I read your bio? Who is "we" in this sentence: We are familiar with the games the MSM plays with its stringers, including those who are terrorists themselves, those who work for terrorist organizations, and those who simply provide PR for terrorists.

2. When I talk about our Iraqi staff, I refer to the Iraqis who work for us fulltime in our Baghdad bureau, our only bureau in Iraq. They are all Iraqis, pretty much evenly divided by sect. The Baghdad bureau has responsibility for covering all of Iraq. The names of our Baghdad staff members appear on the stories they write or contribute to. The non-Iraqis in our bureau are Americans. We also have occasional contributors _ stringers _ in areas outside Baghdad who we turn to if we need specific information about a situation or incident. They generally are of the dominant ethnicity or sect of the region they're reporting from.

Please note the correct spelling of my name.

When challenged on procedure and method your response is to demand to know who is doing the challenging ? Disregard the outlandish preponderance of evidence that lay behind the charge and attack the person delivering the message.

When I first viewed this thread I assumed you were just a poser borrowing someones name. With the revelation you are who you claim to be, I can only say I am happy I don't get my news from the MSM these days.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Mr. Seibel,

1) Google me under "Tom Holsinger" and "Thomas Holsinger".

2) One bureau in Iraq covering the entire country is an appropriate answer, and renders the rest of my questions superfluous.

3) Go here and read Roger Simon's opening post, then my reader post:

http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/12/is_the_associat.php

There are other examples, but this one will do for a start. And please do show my post to one of your staff attorneys.

The term of art to consider here is "well poisoning" - this sort of misconduct with stringers by one major news organization affects the credibility of other major news organizations. And there definitely is a pattern.

You can disagree and contend this reputation is unjustified, but there have been far too many similar, albeit less gruesome and flagrant, instances where the main stream media has been so credulous concerning their Iraqi stringers, and so biased and inaccurate in reporting what the stringers say as true, for the MSM overall to have credibility in these matters.

4) As for events in Baghdad, why should the Shiites continue to let Sunni Arab terrorists slaughter them when they can stop that by driving the Sunnis out of Baghdad? The Kurdish north and Shitte south don't have these problems due to the paucity of Sunni Arabs there.

Sure lots of Sunni Arabs are innocent. Tough for them. When it is a question of who dies, better it be the other guys. The Sunni Arabs in the Baghdad area harbor and protect the terrorists who slaughter Shiiites. When the Sunni Arabs are gone from Baghdad (as a practical matter a tiny minority will remain), so will be terrorism by Sunni Arabs. At which point Iranian-sponsored terrorism, and endemic violent crime will remain, but the overwhelming majority of terrorism in Baghdad will stop.

The Shiites are the ones doing the dying, and it is their country. They're the majority and we can't stop them from getting rid of the Sunni Arabs. All American forces can do, as Jim Dunnigan at Strategy Page said, is:

"With the U.S. remaining for a while, the expulsion of the Sunni Arabs would proceed in a kinder and gentler way."

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/iraq/articles/20061226.aspx

probably could discern rather quickly whether these are as fraudulent as they appear to be (and if anyone registered here fits that bill, have at it). My particular favorite blog was "Running away from the Hell of the new freedom." I think that made its way to Iraq via DailyKos.

McClathcy is based in Sacramento, Ca. -- Sacremento Bee is their prime paper. They have been buying up papers here in the south (partly through the buyout of Scripps Howard). our papers in Beaufort County are McClatchy and they are really out of sinc with folks down here.

Iraqi blogs and the difference from the ones McClatchey is using is that even in the most desperate of times they have no bitterness they have hope ingrained in their posts. I think that says alot about the direction McClatchey is attempting to achieve if their "bloggers" are real because the only emotion that comes through their "bloggers" is hate of America and their Government via their snide remarks. I might add also that their Government was elected and they will have another that they can then participate in. I like my handle of Rightmom however in the real world my name is Erin Bizon and do not fear anyone knowing that. I am awaiting my plate for my car with rt mom and then even neighbors I don't know will know my name if they are perusers of the blogs.

Peace through superior fire power:)

 
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