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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, November 24, 2006

LA Times--A Shill For Terrorists, Or Just A Lousy Paper

I'm going to cite two blog entries that I want our readers to go and check out. The first comes from Patrick Frey of Patterico's Pontifications. Mr. Frey is a longtime amateur "ombudsman" for the LA Times, and has frequently caught them in some questionable stories.

The second is Allah over at Hot Air.

Both are on a story run by the LA Times where the allegation is made that the US launched an airstrike in Ramadi that killed 15 innocent civilians. And that story is now being disputed by both people because of an e-mail Mr. Frey received from a soldier involved in the Ramadi strike. The soldier (unnamed, and due probably to his own request) states that there was no airstrike, and that US forces engaged a group of terrorists there. As he details for Mr. Frey, the LA Times story doesn't seem to get the facts straight at all, and that the LA Times seems to have found the only doctor in Iraq that has never seen a terrorist casualty come through his doors.

Regardless of their positions on this particular stroy, the point is, as Mr. Frey puts it, that the dead-tree industry can't seem to be trusted when it comes to reporting out of Iraq:

I learned something important about reporting from Iraq in general. Big Media journalists often rely on sources that are unreliable. They don’t tell you the pressures these sources might be under from insurgents and terrorists. They refuse to tell you who their stringers are, so we can assess their motivations. They get quotes from doctors who seem to see only civilian deaths. If the military has been given insufficient time to respond to an allegation, these journalists don’t check with the military later, to verify that the story they’ve written is accurate. And sometimes, as here, their stories are completely at odds with numerous other accounts reported in other press outlets — and they seem to have no interest in finding out why.

It’s very sobering to realize that much of the news coming out of Iraq is completely unreliable. And it’s a bigger issue than whether the L.A. Times got a single story wrong on November 15.

The proverbial "fourth-rail" seems completely unable to deal with the news reporting business in a warzone. We have seen this before in the Reutersgate/Fauxtogate controversy from earlier this year. At the time, it seemed like it was simply a symptom of a dying industry desperate for the attention they once possessed. Now we see that it goes beyond that, and beyond laziness.

It has seemingly become a problem of greed. News outlets--be they MSM TV news or the dead-tree industry--thrive on news of all sorts. Bad or good (though the old axiom of "if it bleeds it leads remains true today), the media needs it because it's their product to the consumer. Unfoirtunately the days of intellectually-honest, stalwart editors seems to be of the bygone sort. And whether this comes from bias or negligence, incompetance, or passivity is irrelevant. The simple fact remains that the media can't seem to do their job right anymore.

Do we buy the investigative reporting of bloggers, or the media? Honestly, I'll take a good blogger over the media any day of the week. Know why? Because unlike the media, we check every lead, every possible aspect of a story before it goes to "print," whereas the MSM seems content with the adage from the movie "The Paper"

"We taint them today, we make them look good on Saturday. Everybody's happy."

And there we go back to the laziness involved. Yes, the media has deadlines to achieve, but they shouldn't be screwing up stories, and resorting to a correction in the Style section that no one reads to begin with. The goal of the news media used to be that they report the facts, and they let the news consumer decide if it's true or not. They used to let us decide. They don't do that anymore. They taint what they report and print, and think that they'll get away with a little fudging here and there, and no one will be the wiser. Enter the bloggers, and now the MSM has a problem on their hands.

In the old days, people would send editorial letters to the papers, or drop a dime on a news station criticizing a news report. Whether the letter got printed, or the criticism was even noted was up to the outelts. NOW, the blogosphere does the job that the old consumers of news used to do. Sure, people still send in letters, but have your read the editorial page recently? Those letters hardly address concerns the way bloggers do. When we engage the papers, as Mr. Frey did today, there is tenacious fact-checking and investigations that go one behind the scenes, and in the end we're left with only two options:

Either the paper lied, or didn't get all the facts, or Mr. Frey is lying. As he seems to have the backing of a soldier involved in the incident directly, and the paper offers no sort of rebuttal, we're inclined to agree with Mr. Frey. The LA TImes screwed up, and is pobably using stringers and reporters that have questionable loyalties. It's noted by Allah that there are numerous citations of people in the LA Times report that state they need to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation from the terrorists. With that sort of threat lingering over their head, is there any wonder how most of these stories end up being reported the way they are?

Mr. Frey has the right idea when it comes to reporting from warzones:

In addition, after talking with numerous sources who are knowledgeable about Iraq, I came away depressed about the poor quality of information we are getting out of that country. Embedded writers and bloggers like Bill Roggio, Michael Yon, Michael Fumento, and Bill Ardolino will continue to be absolutely critical to understanding what is going on in Iraq, and I encourage you to support embedded bloggers as much as possible.

The Left and the MSM may despise guys like those above, but they have a much better track record of reporting the news out of Iraq with a balanced perspective. These guys aren't rah-rahers for the administration or the military. They report what happens over there. And they have a much better perspective of what's actually going on than a stringer talking to an LA Times reporter from the Green Zone about incidents that never really occurred.

Please, go read both posts that I linked in the beginning, including the one from Mr. Frey. His analysis and investigation is spot-on, and deserves the attention of anyone who's sick of this sort of garbage coming from the media.

Publius II


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