AP’s Carrol Is Wrong On Jamil Hussein
Update: Rick Moran weighs in here. But there’s a point in this I overlooked. Jamil Hussein’s name was on a list of several AP’s sources under scrutiny. Is AP’s Carroll suggesting bloggers put all of them in danger, too?
As Charles at lgf points out, AP’s Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll now says she is concerned for the well being of Jamil Hussein and places the blame for that on bloggers; however, that is not what the record actually reflects. Stripping away Carroll’s hyperbole and looking at the facts, if anything, the blog coverage of the Hussein issue may well have done more to protect him, than did the AP.
NEW YORK Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on Friday criticized those who questioned the existence of an AP Iraq source, who was proven this week to be real, saying the scrutiny has now endangered the man’s life.
Read Carroll’s first statement on the issue:
No organization has done more to try to shed light on what happened Nov. 24 in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad than The Associated Press.
We have not ignored the questions about our work raised by the U.S. military and later, by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Indeed, we published those questions while also sending AP journalists back out to the scene to dig further into what happened and why others might be questioning the initial accounts.
The reality is this, the AP used a named source – with his approval, I assume – to report a highly controversial event which both the US military and the Iraqi ministry questioned. To begin with, Carroll’s assertion of Hussein’s being in danger, were it valid, would amount to a statement that under no circumstances is anyone allowed to ever question AP’s reporting, or an AP named source. That is complete nonsense and reflects more of a problem with Carroll’s and evidently AP’s thinking, than it does any issue for blogs.
Furthermore, it was not the blog coverage which caused the military and Iraqi government to respond, as the military stated in their initial press release, it was the broad International media coverage the AP’s reporting initiated that caused the focus on this event.
On Nov. 24, 2006, your organization published an article by Qais Al-Bashir about six Sunnis being burned alive in the presence of Iraqi Police officers. This news item, which is below, received an enormous amount of coverage internationally.
For Carroll’s assertion that Hussein is in danger one must assume that there is an element of the Iraqi government that would harm him for having been a primary source for the story. The other initial source, Imad al-Hashimi, retracted his statements after a visit from the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
Without arguing that first point, one need only answer two simple questions to reach the conclusion that the blog coverage of this incident would be more to Hussein’s benefit, than harm. Assuming he was in danger for being an AP named source, which is more likely: that these assumed to be dangerous elements of the Iraqi government would quietly take out an individual after the drive by media was long gone and onto another story? or that they would be reluctant to do so because blogger coverage has kept the issue and Jamil Hussein’s name in the news?
I’d argue that Carroll has it backwards while at the same time ducking any AP responsibility for their starting this entire affair with their consistently altered news reports of events in Hurriyah.
The fact is, AP’s shoddy reporting aside, if their unsubstantiated assertion of his being in danger is correct, it is more likely that his visibility brought about by blog coverage is more cover for him, than cause for alarm. Finally, the AP showed no such concern for Hussein by repeatedly reporting uncorroborated accounts of events in Iraq with Jamil Hussein as their named source in 60-plus stories over a period of months.
Carroll wants to have it both ways … they led on the immolation story, oh but now it’s someone else’s fault. Sorry, but that reasoning doesn’t wash. And she has yet to account for her support of the AP’s incompetent reporting on Hurricane Katrina.
From what I can see, Carroll and the AP are reluctant to ever take responsibility for anything, which has mostly been the primary charge of many bloggers against the MSM and allegedly reliable news operations like the AP all along.
And if she doesn’t want to hear it from a blogger, she can check out a round up via a journalist and, I assume, AP customer here via Jules.