Saturday, December 3

The Ramadi Debacle

The Media Are The Enemy, Mark III

The reported “mini-Tet offensive” in Ramadi has turned out to be less than accurate. In fact, it has been anything but. The Associated Press reported a massive citywide insurgent attack, and Reuters and other news outlets quickly picked up on the story.

Captain Jeffery Pool, Public Affairs Officer for the 2nd Marine Division, disputed the claims in the harshest of terms, and rebuked the media for its mischaracterization of events. “Today I witnessed inaccurate reporting, use of unreliable sources, media using other media as sources, an active insurgent propaganda machine, and the pack journalism at its worse.”

Here's how the Washington Jihad reported it:

BAGHDAD, Dec. 1 -- Armed fighters claiming allegiance to Abu Musab Zarqawi took to the streets of a western Iraqi provincial capital Thursday in a fleeting show aimed at intimidating Iraqi Sunni Arab leaders taking part in dialogue with U.S. Marines in a stronghold of the insurgency, provincial officials, residents and other witnesses said.

The scene -- lean figures, many in masks and dark tracksuits lugging shoulder-mounted rocket launchers or wielding AK-47 assault rifles -- reinforced what the U.S. military has acknowledged is the strong insurgent presence in the Euphrates River cities and towns of Anbar province, an overwhelmingly Sunni area near the Syrian border. The appearance of the fighters dismayed many of the residents of Ramadi, the war-blighted provincial capital.

The U.S. military, which maintains Marine bases and thousands of troops on the outskirts of Ramadi, denied the accounts of unrest, saying that the city was largely calm Thursday and that insurgents were manipulating the news media. "Today I witnessed inaccurate reporting, use of unreliable sources, media using other media as sources, an active insurgent propaganda machine, and the pack journalism at its worse," Capt. Jeffrey Pool, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division, said in an e-mail to news organizations.

Emphasis, as always, mine.

First, note the propaganda techniques in the second paragraph. The terrorists are portrayed as lean, mean, fighting machines, in tones more suitable to a Harlequin Romance than a Washington Post "news" report. These strapping young Jihadis dismayed "many" of the residents of Ramadi. Define "many" and define "dismayed".

I could be crude about what I think dismayed the author, one Ellen Knickmeyer, but I will allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.

She does, at least report that the military denied these reports, but later quotes, well, let me just give you the quote and response:

Mohammed Hamed, an Anbar government official, said the show of strength included "more than 200 armed men, including Arab fighters."

"There were no American Marines or government troops or policemen," Hamed said. "The insurgents were in a show of strength reminiscent of the power displays of the Saddam regime."

Hamed identified himself as a deputy governor of Anbar province. Marines said he was a tourism official in the provincial government.


The U.S. military, in a sharply divergent report, said the only incident of the day was an attack by rocket-propelled grenade on a U.S.-Iraqi military observation post. There were no injuries or damage, the military said.

Marines did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry as to whether Marines had been present in the city center at the time of the alleged appearance of armed fighters.

As they say, read the whole thing. If al Qaeda says one thing, and the US Military says another, who are you going to believe?

For the MSM, it seems that they believe al Qaeda. After all, they are lean and mean. Surely they wouldn't lie.

What started me on this multi-day rant was a report in the LA Times whining that the military was paying Iraqi news outlets to run positive stories on the war. What is the difference between that and this? That Ellen Knickmeyer wasn't paid directly by al Qaeda?

Only vicariously, through romantic fantasy.

The Media Are The Enemy.

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