On the Reuters Web site this morning appears this cryptic headline:
"ADVISORY: Baghdad story on views on Obama is withdrawn"
After that, it merely states, "The BAGHDAD item headlined 'Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies' is withdrawn. The story was transmitted in error."
What that error was isn't identified. The original article begins:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.
In two dozen interviews across the country, many told Reuters a black man would understand their plight.
Obama arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on only his second trip to Iraq. He wants to bolster his foreign policy credentials and counter accusations from Republican presidential rival John McCain that he has not seen conditions in Iraq for himself.
"I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world ... if McCain wins I will be devastated," said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.
Hisham Fadhil, a doctor in northern Kirkuk added: "He is much better than others because he is black and black people were tyrannized in America. I think he will feel our suffering."
It reads like the typical puff piece on Obama. Iraq's population approaches 30 million, but interviews with two dozen people, and quotations from even fewer, are sufficient to prove the point: Iraqis love Barry just like everyone else does.
Now the story has been withdrawn. But not until after it was propagated widely.
Maybe the problem was the article wasn't flattering enough. Quick, get me rewrite!