Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Media Suckered by Iraq Marine Claiming Atrocities

Via Skyes Writes, and a followup to our own post on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch debunking of the tales of a soldier who served in Iraq, and then came back to the United States and started telling tall tales about atrocities supposedly committed by his unit:

. . . the reporter who broke the story of Jimmy Massey’s lies shows how a very credulous media ate the story up.
Media outlets throughout the world have reported Jimmy Massey’s claims of war crimes, frequently without ever seeking to verify them.

For instance, no one ever called any of the five journalists who were embedded with Massey’s battalion to ask him or her about his claims.

The Associated Press, which serves more than 8,500 newspaper, radio and television stations worldwide, wrote three stories about Massey, including an interview with him in October about his new book.

But none of the AP reporters ever called Ravi Nessman, an Associated Press reporter who was embedded with Massey’s unit. Nessman wrote more than 30 stories about the unit from the beginning of the war until April 15, after Baghdad had fallen.

Jack Stokes, a spokesman for the AP, said he didn’t know why the reporters didn’t talk to Nessman, nor could he explain why the AP ran stories without seeking a response from the Marine Corps.
And now the kicker:
The organization also refused to allow Nessman to be interviewed for this story.
So typical. The AP, which certainly demands openness and honesty from the government, from business and from every other sector of American society won’t let their reporter talk to another reporter — one who obviously “has the goods” on shoddy reporting.
That Massey wasn’t telling the truth should have become obvious the more he told his stories, said Phillip Dixon, former managing editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and currently chairman of the Howard University Department of Journalism.

Dixon examined dozens of newspaper articles in which Massey told of the atrocities that Marines allegedly committed in Iraq.

“He couldn’t keep his story straight,” said Dixon. . . .
It’s not as though reporters lack access to Google News and Lexis-Nexis, and could not have done some checking on this.

The reporter who broke the story, Ron Harris, never actually answers the “why” question. Conservatives will naturally see liberal bias here. The alternative is that the media were lazy and careless. Which explanation do you suppose they prefer?

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