Eason Jordan Calls Out AP on Jamil Hussein
If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it - and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly.
This controversy and the AP's handling of it call into question the credibility, integrity, and smarts of one of the world's biggest, most influential, most respected news organizations, the New York-based Associated Press.
The AP has steadfastly refused to answer questions about this episode from IraqSlogger and other news outlets and bloggers.
In statements, the AP insists Captain Hussein is real, insists he has been known to the AP and others for years, and insists the immolation episode occurred based on multiple eyewitnesses.
But efforts by two governments, several news organizations, and bloggers have failed to produce such evidence or proof that there is a Captain Jamil Hussein. The AP cannot or will not produce him or convincing evidence of his existence.
It is striking that no one has been able to find a family member, friend, or colleague of Captain Hussein. Nor has the AP told us who in the AP's ranks has actually spoken with Captain Hussein. Nor has the AP quoted Captain Hussein once since the story of the disputed episode.
Therefore, in the absence of clear and compelling evidence to corroborate the AP's exclusive story and Captain Hussein's existence, we must conclude for now that the AP's reporting in this case was flawed.
..... To make matters worse, Captain Jamil Hussein was a key named source in more than 60 AP stories on at least 25 supposed violent incidents over eight months.
Until this controversy is resolved, every one of those AP reports is tainted.
If Jamil "Captain Tuttle" Hussein doesn't exist, look out below, as it may only be the beginning. There are potentially at least a couple of dozen other questionable "sources" besides Mr. Hussein.
On what basis should we assume that the dozens of other "sources" cited by AP over the 3-1/2 years since the fall of Baghdad exist (or even if they exist, whether they are reliable, or merely enemy agents)?
The reax of Curt at Flopping Aces is dead on --
NO story we get out of Iraq can be trusted anymore until the news services admit their mistakes and quit using these biased sources.
Confederate Yankee has investigated the body of work associated with the use of quotes and descriptions from Jamil "Captain Tuttle" Hussein, and found it strangely unique, i.e., Hussein reports an awful lot of incidents that no one else appears to have covered ("a search for other news agency accounts of the events described by Jamil Hussein seems to indicate that most of these events simply do not exist anywhere else except in AP reporting. I was completely unable to find a definitive corroborating account of any of Jamil Hussein's accounts, anywhere."). "Odd" indeed.
A little less arrrogance and smugness, and perhaps a little more humility and open-mindedness if that's possible, and perhaps even an admission that something is seriously amiss, would be welcome from certain skeptics, like this one -- but it's not expected.
Until AP puts up, I see now reason why its critics should shut up. They in fact have a duty not to.
UPDATE: In direct answer to those who believe this pursuit to be a distracting obsession, chew on this from Curt --
We get stories from them that detail 50+ bodies being dumped daily but when I confirm this via the Iraqi police I get a number that is 1/3rd that.
Don't even try to tell me that consistent errors of this magnitude don't matter; and that's even before getting to the incidents that may be totally made up. Everyone knows darn well that they do. If they didn't, I'm assuming that you wouldn't be troubled one little bit if local media told Cincinnatians that there were 250 murders in the city last year (there were actually 84), or that there are 4 million abortions performed in the US annually (it's really about 1.3 million).
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.