Patterico's Pontifications

11/24/2006

Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,War — Patterico @ 9:11 am

Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story?

You be the judge.

On November 15, the L.A. Times ran an article titled Iraqi residents say U.S. airstrike kills 30. The article emphasized that 30+ people, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike. A headline proclaimed: “Victims include women and children, witnesses in Ramadi say. The military has no immediate comment.” The story began as follows:

BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in the restive town of Ramadi killed at least 30 people, including women and children, witnesses said Tuesday.

The aerial attack, which took place late Monday, brought the number of violent deaths reported in Iraq on Tuesday to at least 91, according to military sources and witnesses.

. . . .

A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment and families could be seen digging through the ruins with shovels and bare hands.

Last Friday, my reader Tom Blumer sent me a link to an interesting blog post, by a blog called “One Oar in the Water,” which attacked the L.A. Times story about the Ramadi airstrike. The post quoted what purported to be an e-mail from a soldier who was involved in the Ramadi incident. The e-mailing soldier claimed that the “Times correspondent in Ramadi” has ties to the insurgency, and is knowingly repeating enemy propaganda:

The [L.A. Times article] is an example of why you simply cannot believe most media reports coming out of Iraq. The LA Time[s] reporter, Solomon Moore, is not in Ramadi. He relies on an Iraqi stringer here who has ties to insurgents. In this article, Moore repeats almost verbatim, insurgent propaganda we have intercepted. The fighting in question occurred in my battle space within Ramadi and I was personally and intimately involved.

The soldier then disputed certain assertions made in the L.A. Times article. The soldier said that there had been no airstrike, and that only a few insurgents had been killed, by small-arms fire and tank fire. The solder concluded the e-mail with a slap at the L.A. Times:

Every target engaged was well within what our restrictive rules of engagement authorize. I am disgusted by the editorial slant of this article, by what passes from journalistic integrity at the LA Times, and by their complicity with our mortal enemies. My Soldiers fight with great precision and skill on a very difficult urban battlefield. The LA Times dishonors them and give aid and comfort to my enemies.

Assuming this alleged e-mail from a Ramadi soldier was genuine and accurate, it made an explosive allegation: that the L.A. Times is relying on a stringer with ties to the insurgency, and is repeating enemy propaganda.

But was it true? I decided to check into it.

My investigation, which I detail below, has revealed that the soldier’s account of the events in question appears to be accurate in most respects. For example:

  • The soldier claimed that there were no airstrikes in Ramadi that day, while the L.A. Times stringer claimed there had been an airstrike. When I checked into it, the weight of the evidence indicated that the soldier was right and the L.A. Times was wrong.

    The military flatly denies that there was an airstrike — a denial that the L.A. Times has failed to report to this day. Several other media reports state that civilians died from small-arms fire and tank fire, and not an airstrike.

  • The soldier claimed that only insurgents were killed in the fighting, while the L.A. Times claimed that women and children were killed. Once again, the soldier’s claims appeared to be true, and the L.A. Times claim false.

    Other than the L.A. Times report, there is no evidence that women or children were killed in the attack. The available evidence, including other media reports and information through a contact at a Ramadi hospital, indicates that the bodies brought into a Ramadi hospital were all adult males. This fact is suggestive of the possibility that those killed were insurgents, not innocent civilians.

  • The soldier claimed: “No houses were destroyed and only one courtyard wall was damaged”; by contrast, the L.A. Times stringer claimed that “at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment.” There are no media reports with reliable firsthand accounts of pulverized homes.

    Indeed, I found only one story (published by Reuters) in which a journalist claims to have been on the scene to report observations of the damage firsthand, and he said: “One small structure was burnt out in that street.” Once again, the objective evidence seemed to favor the claims of the soldier.

I also learned that one of the doctors quoted in the L.A. Times story has been quoted in other stories over the years — always telling the media that the U.S. killed women, children, and innocent civilians. Apparently, this doctor has never seen a terrorist or insurgent killed by U.S. forces — or if he has, the media isn’t interested.

I learned one fact that didn’t gibe cleanly with the soldier’s account: most news reports, and my own independent investigation, tended to corroborate the allegation that 30+ people died in Ramadi that night. However, according to all accounts (excepting that provided by the “Times correspondent in Ramadi”), those killed were adult males, killed by fire from tanks — not women and children killed in an airstrike. The fact that 30+ people died, if true, does not necessarily demonstrate the soldier’s account is false. Rather, it suggests that he may have been unaware of the full extent of the carnage caused by the shelling from the tanks.

In the end, I was unable to determine whether the e-mailing soldier was correct when he claimed that the L.A. Times is relying on propaganda supplied by a stringer with ties to insurgents.

However, I can say this: the journalists at the L.A. Times 1) have utterly failed to report the full extent of the military’s side of the story; 2) very likely got some basic facts about the incident wrong; and 3) have done an extremely poor job of explaining the possible limitations on their knowledge — what I like to call “telling the reader what you don’t know as well as what you do know.”

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 full details of what I learned are below, in the extended entry.

[Extended entry]

As I mentioned, there are two significant factual problems with the L.A. Times story, based on the evidence I uncovered. First, it appears that there was no airstrike. Second, it appears that those killed were adult males, not women and children. Let’s start with the lack of an airstrike.

NO AIRSTRIKE

The Military Denies There Was an Airstrike . . . and the L.A. Times Never Reports It

Although the L.A. Times story describes an airstrike on November 13, the military flatly denies that there was any airstrike. In an e-mail, Capt. J. Elaine Hunnicutt (USAF) at CENTCOM told me without qualification that “there were no air strikes on Ramadi Nov. 13 and 14.” Similarly, Major Megan McClung, a Public Affairs Officer with the Marine Corps in Ramadi, said in an e-mail:

Thank you for your interest in setting the record straight on the events of Nov 13 -14. . . . There were no CF [Coalition Forces] air strikes that day.

Despite these clear denials, the L.A. Times has to this day never reported that the military denied that there was an airstrike.

The original L.A. Times story on the alleged airstrike said: “U.S. military officials had no immediate comment on an airstrike in Ramadi.” The use of the word “immediate” suggests that the military press officer had very little time to respond to this new allegation being raised by the reporter.

Did reporter Solomon Moore ever follow up later, to see whether the military confirmed that the story was true? I sent Mr. Moore an e-mail and asked him that very question, along with several others. He never responded.

Other Media Reports Say Nothing About an Airstrike

Are there any other reports of an aerial attack on Ramadi on November 13 or 14? I didn’t see any — but I did find several other reports of Iraqis killed by tank fire.

For example, the Turkish Press reported:

Meanwhile, medical sources in the restive western city of Ramadi reported they had received 32 bodies believed to be of men killed in a tank bombardment by US forces.

A US officer in Ramadi, however, said these were not civilian casualties and were caused by clashes with insurgents planting a bomb.

(One wonders whether that U.S. officer is the same individual who wrote the e-mail quoted earlier in this post, decrying the coverage of the incident by the L.A. Times.)

The AP had this report:

Meanwhile, Ali al-Obaidi, a medic at Ramadi Hospital, said those killed were civilians who died in shelling by U.S. tanks. A police spokesman said 20 people were killed, but gave no information about their identities or how they died.

The U.S. military said it had no information on fresh Ramadi clashes.

Reuters reported:

Iraqi medical officials said at least 30 people were killed in violence overnight in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi in what local police described on Tuesday as a US military raid.

. . . .

Local residents, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said U.S. tanks had fired into the area and that those who died were not militants.

There was one media source that apparently reported the possibility that there were airstrikes: Iraqi television. Commenter steve notes a Deutsche Presse-Agentur story that appears to be based on Iraqi TV reports:

In Ramadi, 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, a US military raid killed at least 30 Iraqis and wounded 17, Iraqi television reported Tuesday.

Iraqi police said US military carried out ground and air raids Monday night and Tuesday morning, destroying more than 20 houses. Both Iraqi authorities and the US military refused to comment.

A source who is knowledgeable about Iraq (about whom more below) independently confirmed in a chat that their sources said Iraqi television had given various explanations for the deaths. My source said: “Some channels said tank fire, others said airstrike, [and] others said artillery.” The source added: “You can’t rely on what locals say to reporters. The locals would say what pleases the insurgents.”

Later in the post I’ll discuss a little more about the pitfalls of relying on randomly selected Iraqi civilians. For now, let’s just say that I’m not putting a lot of credence in a press report about something shown on Iraqi TV, repeating the claims of civilians or police who (for all we know) may be terrified by insurgents and terrorists. I’ll place a lot more credence in a reporter on the scene . . . even one from Reuters!

The Military *Did* Say There Was Tank Fire

Why should the reader care whether it was a tank battle or an airstrike? There are at least two reasons.

The first reason is this: we know from the story that the apparently false report of an airstrike originated from an unnamed Iraqi stringer — the mysterious “Times correspondent in Ramadi.” Remember what the Times story said:

A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment and families could be seen digging through the ruins with shovels and bare hands.

Apparently, the correspondent was wrong. We know nothing about this stringer — his name, his background, or his possible motivations. I asked the reporter for details about the stringer and received no response. If the stringer got this very basic fact wrong, it calls his other reporting into question.

The second reason that it’s important that the deaths were caused by tank fire is this: a tank battle is exactly what the military said had happened — and what the anonymous e-mailer to the One Oar in the Water blog said had happened.

If it was a tank battle, it makes it more likely that the dead were insurgents, killed in a battle that was described by the military in some detail.

The military does not deny that there were deaths that day; it merely says that the dead were anti-Iraqi forces, not civilians, and that they were killed by tank fire and small-arms fire, not an airstrike. The military described the scenario in a November 14 press release, which is available here. Here is how the press release describes the events of Nov. 13:

Coalition Forces killed 11 insurgents in three related incidents in Ramadi.

On Nov. 13, Coalition Forces observed a small number of insurgents emplacing an improvised explosive device. The insurgents were engaged by Coalition Forces with small arms fire, killing two. The three remaining insurgents returned to the emplacement site and Coalition Forces fired one tank main gun round, killing all three insurgents. There were secondary explosions, and the remains of the IED continued to burn for about an hour.

Following an IED attack on a Coalition Vehicle four hours later in the same vicinity, four insurgents were killed after they attempted to take mission essential equipment from the vehicle. Two of the insurgents were killed by small arms fire and two were killed with one main gun tank round.

This event occurred during curfew hours.

In a separate incident Nov. 14 in the same vicinity, three insurgents were observed emplacing an improvised explosive device. They were engaged with small arms fire and a main tank gun round. Two insurgents were killed.

This sounds a lot like the description of events in the e-mail reprinted by the One Oar in the Water blog:

There were no air strikes anywhere in Ramadi on the day in question. Through two different means, we acquired a group of[]AIF [Anti-Iraqi Forces] emplacing a large IED on a neighborhood street. After I was sure they were enemy, I ordered one of my tanks to engage. Its cannon fire killed the enemy and set off the IED. Shortly afterwards, one of my Bradley crews engaged and killed two more AIF emplacing an IED on a nearby street.

In both cases, we continued to observe the area and the locals left the dead lying in the street; this is a sure sign that they are AIF because the Iraqis normally pick up dead civilians in the street quickly. Later that night, I had a route clearance team move through the area. We found the bodies and removed multiple hand grenades off one of them. During that same operation, one of Bradleys escorting the route clearance team was attacked by an IED. The IED set the Bradley on fire and wounded the three Soldiers aboard. One of those brave men now clings to life with burns over 93% of his body.

We established a security perimeter around the burning vehicle and over-watched it until it burned out and we were able recover the hulk. While over-watching the burning vehicle, we had multiple tank main gun and machine gun engagements against AIF who were desperately trying to steal ammunition from the vehicle (a fool’s errand if ever there was one) or emplace additional IEDs to attack the recovery mission they knew would follow. No houses were destroyed and only one courtyard wall was damaged.

The L.A. Times reported this skirmish in the story — but made it sound like a separate incident, unrelated to the one that killed 30+ people. By reporting the 30 deaths as resulting from an airstrike, the L.A. Times made it sound as though two entirely separate incidents had occurred that day: 1) an airstrike that killed 30+ civilians, and 2) a smaller set of skirmishes involving small-arms fire and tank fire that killed 11 insurgents.

To the contrary, virtually every other media outlet to report on the 30+ deaths said that they occurred from a tank bombardment. This makes it likely that the deaths reported by the media all resulted from the very same tank battle with insurgents described by the military. It is possible that the military mistakenly undercounted the number of people killed in its fight with the enemy.

Lending further credence to that possibility is the fact that the 30+ dead appear to have been adult males, one and all — contrary to the L.A. Times‘s suggestion that there were women and children killed. If this is true, it also suggests that the dead were insurgents.

All of this lends credibility to the e-mail published at One Oar in the Water.

I next discuss the evidence I found supporting the claim that the dead were adult males, not women and children.

THE DEAD WERE ADULT MALES, NOT WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Do you recall the lede of the L.A. Times story? It said that there were women and children among the dead:

A U.S. airstrike in the restive town of Ramadi killed at least 30 people, including women and children, witnesses said Tuesday.

Who are these “witnesses”? You can read the story again and again, and you’ll never learn. Are we relying on the “Times correspondent in Ramadi” again? You don’t know, and The Times isn’t saying. This is one of the questions that I put to L.A. Times reporter Solomon Moore in my e-mail — the one he didn’t respond to.

All Other Available Media Reports Claim That Men Were Killed in the Attack

Let’s review the other media reports discussed above from Reuters, the AP, and the Turkish Press, with an eye towards whether they claim that women and children were killed.

The AP story says nothing relevant to this issue, so let’s start with the Reuters story discussed above. On this issue, the report says:

An Iraqi police source, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said US forces raided the al-Dhubat district late on Monday and several houses were destroyed.

In one part of the district, a Reuters reporter saw several bodies of adult men still lying in a street, some being placed in coffins by relatives, and a number of body parts. One small structure was burnt out in that street.

This description is critical, because it’s the only report I found from any news agency that claims to have actually had its reporter on the ground, reporting his observations first-hand, rather than taking them from people who might have a hidden agenda. The Reuters reporter didn’t see 15 houses “pulverized.” And he didn’t see dead women and children. What he saw was “several bodies of adult men” and one small burnt-out building. This account is completely consistent with the military’s account.

Recall also the quote from the Turkish Press story:

Meanwhile, medical sources in the restive western city of Ramadi reported they had received 32 bodies believed to be of men killed in a tank bombardment by US forces.

Not even a rabid anti-war journalist covering the story could bring himself to say that there were women and children among the dead. This story was co-written by a rabid anti-war journalist named Dahr Jamail, who has written for Mother Jones, and has given speeches claiming that torture is rampant at Gitmo and elsewhere, and that U.S. doctors and nurses are complicit in that alleged torture. You can find another example of his work at Truthout, titled Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq. The co-author of the article, Ali al-Fadhily, regularly writes with Jamail.

Jamail’s article purports to quote numerous people, including civilians, doctors, and a policeman, saying that over 30 innocent people were killed by tank fire. But it doesn’t say that there were any women or children among the dead.

If women and children were killed, you’d think Mr. Jamail, the anti-war journalist, would be eager to report it. Yet, while he is quick to quote civilians claiming that the men were all innocent, he never says that a single woman or child was killed.

Hmmmmm.

But there’s more!

A Hospital Contact Says All the Bodies Were of Adult Males

A contact that I trust, given the source, corroborates the assertion made explicitly in the Turkish Press and Reuters stories: that the bodies were of adult males.

Here’s how this came about. Through my blogger connections, I was introduced to someone who has been to Iraq and maintains a wide network of Iraqi connections. I’m withholding names, at the party’s request — which was made because of the concern that the party’s Iraqi connections might be identified through their connection and put at risk.

You can place any value on that you like. I’m not like the L.A. Times. I try not to attribute statements to unnamed witnesses without telling you as much as I can about them and why I trust them. I tell you what I know and what I don’t know — and you can use that information and make up your own mind.

For my part, I trust the person who connected us – and found his connection very knowledgeable. I have more confidence in the contact’s assertions than I do in the statements of some random doctor or civilian quoted in the L.A. Times. That’s not to say that I would blindly trust this contact, but I would give the contact’s statements appropriate weight, and examine them together with the other evidence.

The contact personally knows a doctor in a Ramadi who said that, indeed, 30+ bodies did come into the hospital there. They were all adult males, he said. The contact can’t allow me to publish the doctor’s name, because the contacts are maintained by adhering to a strict confidentiality. Doctors like the one quoted are fearful that if they say anything public against the insurgency or Al Qaeda, that their families will be killed.

Take that for what you think it’s worth. If you give no weight to this statement, then look at the numerous published press accounts. The bottom line is this: the great weight of evidence says numerous adult men were killed by tank fire, as opposed to the L.A. Times version — that women and children were killed by an airstrike.

THE DIFFICULTY OF GETTING FACTS FROM IRAQ: CIVILIANS AND DOCTORS ARE INTIMIDATED BY INSURGENTS AND TERRORISTS

I talked to numerous people with experience in Iraq who emphasized to me that it’s just about impossible to get reliable information out of Iraq. Making matters worse, newspapers often don’t send their own reporters in country, and instead have them rely on doctors, civilians, and stringers with unknown agendas.

As you can see from this post, that is a very bad idea that results in the publication of information that you shouldn’t consider trustworthy.

The blogger’s contact I mentioned earlier summed it up this way: “EVERYONE there knows damn well you can’t trust a thing you haven’t seen with your own eyes.” Bill Roggio, who was kind enough to speak with me at length on the phone, said the same thing about doctors. He told me that Al Qaeda either pays off, intimidates, or has sympathizers among many doctors in Iraq.

I spoke to a press officer named Jeffrey Pool, who was referred to me by Bill Roggio. He has been to Iraq and told me:

Based off of my experiences last year I found alleged reports from doctors and “local residents” to be highly suspect. . . . Once you start searching their names you’ll find an all too common consistency in their quotes, “women and children killed”. There are hardly ever any males reported killed, and the doctors usually make the point of saying no males were killed. The number of killed always changes but the storyline doesn’t.

Maj. Pool suspected that this might be true of the doctors quoted with respect to this incident, and encouraged me to Google the names of the doctors in the L.A. Times story. Interestingly, this is also a suggestion that Bill Roggio had made. So I did.

They were right to make that suggestion.

One of the doctors named in the L.A. Times story, Dr. Barakt Mansi, has no Google trail except for stories about this incident. But the doctor identified only as “Dr. Kamal” in the L.A. Times story is identified in other reports about the Nov. 13 incident (such as the Reuters story) as “Kamal Al-Ani.” If you Google Kamal Al-Ani, you find stories like this:

Six Iraqis, including three women and two children, have been killed in a US air strike in the city of Ramadi in western Iraq, a doctor said.

Kamal al-Ani, a doctor at Ramadi hospital, said the bodies of six members of a single family killed in the attack had been brought in, before being released to relatives for burial.

and this story, about a separate incident:

Dr. Kamal Al-Ani, a local hospital official, said the attack wounded five civilians, including three children. Witnesses denied the house was harboring militants.

Don’t we ever kill insurgents or Al Qaeda in Ramadi or Fallujah? If we do, Dr. Kamal Al-Ani doesn’t seem to know about it — or the media isn’t asking.

Maj. Pool emphasized to me that media reports often contradicted things he had seen with his own eyes:

During my year, 2005-2006, I tried to work with Western journalists in Baghdad to verify the information they were getting. There were numerous occasions I watched the live feeds from our surveillance platforms and saw armed men in a field or on the side of a road killed only to see reports from “local residents” and doctors quoted saying the enemy were woman and children.

Maj. Pool, Bill Roggio, and others emphasized to me that many of the doctors and civilians are scared to death. Maj. Pool said:

In part I blame the practice of using unreliable sources. What is a doctor going to say to a reporter if he knows his life and the lives of his coworkers and family could be jeopardy? Extremists will not hesitate in killing someone they deem a threat and since media are vital to the gains of the extremists, control over the local population who speak to the media is essential.

It reminds me of the gang situation in L.A. So very often, everyone on the street knows who killed someone — yet somehow, nobody will speak to the police. When they do talk to police, it’s more common than not that they will deny it when they get to court — even if they said it on tape. You can’t really blame them. Gangs can and do kill witnesses.

It’s the same in Iraq, according to numerous people I have talked to who have been there. Yet where do we see this point of view reflected in Big Media reports like the L.A. Times one above? Rather, Big Media journalists simply regurgitate the claims of doctors and people on the street, as if they were gospel. You never hear the fact that many of them are terrified of insurgents and Al Qaeda.

SO: IS THE L.A. TIMES REPEATING ENEMY PROPAGANDA FROM A STRINGER WITH TIES TO INSURGENTS?

None of this definitively resolves the question I initially sought to investigate: is the L.A. Times is repeating enemy propaganda from a stringer with ties to Iraqi insurgents?

It’s not conclusive that the soldier who allegedly sent the e-mail making that claim appears to have a better grasp of many of the facts than the L.A. Times did. It’s not conclusive that he knew the deaths had occurred from tank fire, while the L.A. Times correspondent thought it was an airstrike. It’s not conclusive that he knew the dead were all adult males, while the L.A Times reported that the dead included women and children.

It’s not conclusive that he knew that there would be no evidence of widespread destruction of houses — and that a Reuters reporter on the scene saw no such evidence.

It’s not conclusive that one of the doctors quoted in the paper is always quoted as talking about women and children dying — but never about insurgents or Al Qaeda dying.

It’s not conclusive that Bill Roggio says the L.A. Times story sounds like “insurgent boilerplate.”

So I tried digging deeper. But I didn’t get anywhere. I tried checking the allegation by contacting people on both ends — the e-mailer and the L.A. Times reporter. Unfortunately, my efforts did not bear fruit.

I tried to get in touch with the soldier directly, by writing the blogger who had reprinted his e-mail, and asking that he pass along my e-mail address to the soldier in question. I never heard back. Although I had conveyed an offer for him to remain anonymous if necessary, the blogger told my reader Tom Blumer that he believed the soldier was concerned about possible negative repercussions.

I can’t tell you how distressed I am by the possibility that the military has evidence our media is being manipulated by a correspondent with ties to insurgents — yet won’t tell the public about it. It’s as if the military is fighting the P.R. war with both hands tied behind its back — and the military is the one which tied its own hands.

As I mentioned above, I also tried hitting the other end of the story, by giving Solomon Moore of the L.A. Times a chance to respond. I sent him an e-mail Monday morning, and asked numerous detailed questions about the story, such as:

  • How did he first hear about the airstrike, and who claimed it was an airstrike?
  • Did he personally speak to anyone quoted in the story? Did he do so in person or over the phone? How did he check the veracity of what they’d said?
  • Which witnesses claimed that women and children had been killed?
  • How did he determine whether the deaths had been caused by an airstrike instead of some other cause?
  • Who claimed that 15 houses had been pulverized? Did he have photos of the destroyed houses?
  • Did he ever check with the military after the story was published to see whether they could confirm or deny that there had been an airstrike? Did anyone from the military ever contact him to respond regarding whether there had been an airstrike?
  • Who was the Times correspondent on whom he relied? To what extent did he rely on that correspondent?
  • How did he ascertain the number of dead?

As I mentioned above, Moore never responded to my e-mail, which I sent out Monday morning. I copied it to the Readers’ Representative, who sent me her own response, which is fairly summarized as follows: “The answer to all your questions is right there in the article.” Of course, it wasn’t — which made the response even more amusing.

I also tried putting out feelers for people who are actually serving on the ground in Ramadi. That didn’t lead anywhere either, unfortunately. A few people wrote to say that they knew someone who was serving there. But I never heard back from any of them.

So I can’t tell you whether it’s true that the L.A. Times is repeating propaganda from a stringer with ties to insurgents.

But I can tell you this: I don’t have the resources of the L.A. Times. Yet in my spare time from my full-time job, using widely available resources on the Web and contacts built up through blogging, I probably got a more accurate picture of what happened in Ramadi on November 13 than the paid reporter for the L.A. Times did.

In doing so, I found 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.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit, Power Line, Hot Air, Captains Quarters, Winds of Change, Blackfive, and others for the links. You can bookmark the main page here and subscribe to this site via Bloglines by clicking this button and choosing the first feed:

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UPDATE x2: Milbloggers weigh in here. Their opinions are not favorable to The Times.

UPDATE x3 11-27-06 7:19 p.m.: Several developments to report. I’m still looking into all of these.

First, via commenter Arun comes information that the L.A. Times story closely tracks honest-to-goodness insurgent propaganda. A dispatch from the Iraqi Resistance Reports, a site supportive of the insurgency, says:

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported a source in the puppet police as saying that US warplanes struck the ad-Dubbat neighborhood of central ar-Ramadi late Monday night and again on Tuesday morning. Bombardment destroyed about 20 homes. A source in ar-Ramadi Hospital told Mafkarat al-Islam that his facility had so far received the bodies of 30 people killed in the American attack and 17 more wounded, but that the number was likely to rise because search and rescue operations were still underway and bodies were still being dug out of the rubble at that hour.

That account was confirmed by Quds Press, which quoted Dr. Kamal al-‘Ani of ar-Ramadi Hospital as saying that 30 bodies had been brought in and about 20 more had been admitted to the hospital with injuries, some of them sever.

Sounds a lot like the L.A. Times story.

The al-Dhubat neighborhood (which I believe is the same as “ad-Dubbat,” although I’m not certain) is the same central neighborhood in which the Reuters reporter saw minimal devastation, as detailed in the original post.

This doesn’t prove that The Times is repeating propaganda, but it does show that the propaganda reads quite a bit like the Times story.

Also, I have spoken with a military person on the ground who was there on the relevant date, and said he should have heard any large airstrike on that neighborhood — but didn’t. There’s more to that story, but I can’t report it yet.

Meanwhile, a couple of commenters have provided a link to a Nov. 15 airpower summary that indicates an airstrike “near” Ramadi. One point: “near Ramadi” is not the same as central Ramadi, where the al-Dhubat neighborhood is. Other than that, I don’t know on what date that airstrike occurred; I have no idea what “near Ramadi” means; I don’t know if the targets included buildings; and I don’t know if there were any casualties. I do, however, have an e-mail in to CENTCOM, which has informed me that they have some personnel dedicated to responding to blogger questions — news I find very promising. I’ll report details as I get them.

Finally, I am informed that the L.A. Times is still actively pursuing this story in light of my post. The story is not over yet.

171 Comments

  1. An excellent post, thanks. No words adequate to express my disgust at what the tools/fools in the MSM are doing to undermine our security. Please continue to ferret out the truth.

    Comment by Old Coot (caf903) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:27 am

  2. Is the LA Times Publishing Enemy Propaganda?…

    Answer: Patterico examines a recent article published by the LA Times which got all of its information from a stringer about an American airstrike that alledgely killed 30 civilians in Ramadi:Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda fro…

    Trackback by BLACKFIVE (72c8fd) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:43 am

  3. [...] It’s a must-read and it’s long so I won’t waste your time here. Suffice it to say, if in fact they got duped by a jihadi stringer, the sin here is like Reutersgate squared. [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » L.A. Times: Reprinting enemy propaganda or just crappy reporting? (d4224a) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:50 am

  4. One should generally avoid phrases like “basic facts.” There are just facts.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:51 am

  5. This is one excellent post, Patterico, making the most of what you have avaiable and staying within the realm of what is true and can be proven. If only LAT, Al-AP, et al, were even in the neighborhood of those standards.

    The “Dr. Kamal” findings are especially telling. The point that eyewitness accounts are always suspect because of potential retaliation is NEVER made with any stories of this nature.

    Finally, the largest point, that the military is not fighting the PR war very well, if at all, can’t be said enough.

    Comment by Tom Blumer (9a8c25) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:00 am

  6. Tom Blumer

    The sociologica data informs us that when a government collapses, any government which repaces it will more likely than not experience a civil war. Anticipating a civil war, internal strife, etc. was easy enough to do in 2003.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:04 am

  7. Horace,

    What “sociological” data?

    Comment by Specter (466680) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:01 am

  8. Even if we assume that the editrs and reporters for your newspaper of record are thoroughly committed to impartial reporting and an unbiased newspaper, (don’t laugh; it was just an operating assumption to make the point), the reporters were sitting safely in a Green Zone hotel, getting their information from Iraqi stringers.

    Are these stringers impartial? Have they been trained in Western-style journalism? Are they in the least bit reliable?

    They come from a part of the world where journalism is a propaganda outlet of the government; why shouldn’t they be expected to use our journalists in the same manner?

    The question, of course, is why wouldn’t the editors at your august newspaper realize that?

    Comment by Dana (3e4784) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:02 am

  9. Horace, one should generally avoid offering criticism that makes one look like a compulsive pedant.

    Comment by Doc Rampage (4a07eb) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:12 am

  10. A brief response to Horace’s off topic comment: When Horace says that civil war was easy enough to anticipate in 2003, is he insinuating that it was NOT anticipated, or that if only it had been, war could have been avoided? That is not only moronic, but it contradicts Horace’s premise that that a fight would be inevitable. Indeed it was inevitable. If Iraq succeeds the Islamo-fascists are on the ropes. Of course they are going to fight, which is good. It gives us a chance to kill them. If only we don’t quit.

    Comment by Alec (1851f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:14 am

  11. Enemy Propaganda from our Media…

    Once again, there are dozens of military blogs on the web, words from our soldiers, which I have showed here many times… listen to your troops, hear them and understand that out of the two, the media or the troops, the troops are the only ones that…..

    Trackback by Wake up America (59ce3a) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:24 am

  12. enemy propoganda…

    Patterico is obsessively cautious, so he leaves open the possibility that the military is lying and that the Times was the only newspaper to report this incident accurately, but I think the possibilty can be discarded. We are long past the point wher…..

    Trackback by Doc Rampage (59ce3a) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:32 am

  13. [...] A completely clean Iran — one can only wonder what that would look like. A completely clean Los Angeles Times would be nice, too. Patterico asks “Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda?” Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story? [...]

    Pingback by “Okie” on the Lam » Russia Sends Missiles to Iran, and Other Day After Thanksgiving News (e2cef7) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:39 am

  14. It is just depressing to see how thoroughly the MSM has slanted the debate about Iraq. Whether or not the geniuses on the Left realize it, the War on Terror really is WW3. We can fight it now and lose 10,000 soldiers, or we can fight it in 20 years and lose a million soldiers and civilians.

    The Left’s brainless rejection of the WoT is entirely motivated by short-term, domestic, partisian calculations. In other words, small-minded. Yet, somehow, they remain the party of “the smart people.”

    Wonder how they’ll take it when the A-bomb goes off in the East River? I’m not a psychic, but I’m guessing “it’s all Bush’s fault because he made them so mad in ’06!!” God, it’s all so depressingly predictable….

    Comment by godfodder (3dafcb) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:48 am

  15. L.A. Times reprinting enemy propaganda?…

    LA Times: Newspaper Or Propaganda Repeater?Ed Morrissey Patterico has a must-read post today on how the Los Angeles Times reports on Iraq. Earlier this month, the LAT reported that 30 Iraqi civilians died from an airstrike conducted by US forces…

    Trackback by Bill's Bites (72c8fd) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:56 am

  16. L.A. Times Pushing Terrorist Propaganda?…

    Patterico asks that question, and makes a pretty good case (though not a conclusive one) to suggest that the answer is "yes." From his conclusion: Big Media journalists often rely on sources that are unreliable. They don’t tell you the …

    Trackback by Say Anything (e43591) — 11/24/2006 @ 12:02 pm

  17. The dead hand of Dean Baquet remains on the helm of the traitorous tabloid rag called the Los Angeles Times. As its circulation plummets and credibility plunges, only the other sacred cows of the MSM cite this Whore of Hollyweird on anything except movie news.

    Of course, the major media dinosaurs in the US are in the tank for the insurgents, the terrorists, and whatever other enemies of America pop their heads up from time to time.

    Comment by daveinboca (875ba6) — 11/24/2006 @ 12:12 pm

  18. Doc Rampage,

    *shrug*

    Specter,

    What “sociological” data?

    The journals are overflowing with data on the numerous civil wars which have occurred post-WWII.

    Alec,

    When Horace says that civil war was easy enough to anticipate in 2003, is he insinuating that it was NOT anticipated, or that if only it had been, war could have been avoided? That is not only moronic, but it contradicts Horace’s premise that that a fight would be inevitable.

    I am suggesting that there are things which could have been done to mitigate the possibility or at least the severity of a civil war. When I write that it was more likely than not to happen, I do not (obviously) mean that it must happen. When you take down a government and leave power vacuums for others to fill, you are just asking for trouble. And that is exactly what happened in Iraq. The problem is that once the problem has ensconced itself, its much more difficult to deal with than if it had been merely nipped in the bud to start with.

    Anyway, calling me names merely beclouds the discussion with rampant emotionalism. There is, to be frank, enough of that going on in blogdom.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 12:15 pm

  19. [...] Patterico asks: “Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story?” [...]

    Pingback by Rathergate.com » What does the LA Times think is happening in Iraq? (879659) — 11/24/2006 @ 12:23 pm

  20. [...] Patterico asks: “Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story?” [...]

    Pingback by Mark A. Kilmer (the weblog) » What does the LA Times think is happening in Iraq? (b0dbcd) — 11/24/2006 @ 12:23 pm

  21. As a senior citizen I learned many years ago in WW11 and after that if you rely on the NYT or the LAT you will be fed anti US info. If you look at history they haven’t been truthful since Pres. Wilson and Col House ran the Exec, branch

    Comment by dwain (6538e9) — 11/24/2006 @ 2:03 pm

  22. #18 Horace, regardless of the validity/mostly invalidity of your points, your response to my comment 6 was totally off-topic, non-responsive, meaningless, and designed to move the discussion to something other than what Patterico posted about.

    IOW, you’re acting like a complete jerk.

    Please tell what you do or don’t have to say on the impact of the LAT’s documented shortcomings on the country’s perceptions and attitudes on the Way in Iraq/War on Terror, or go elsewhere.

    Comment by Tom Blumer (9a8c25) — 11/24/2006 @ 2:53 pm

  23. Oops, meant “the War in Iraq.”

    Comment by Tom Blumer (9a8c25) — 11/24/2006 @ 2:54 pm

  24. You know, if the L.A. Times doesn’t care about what you’ve dug up, the Chicago Tribune just might. It’s not as if they’re exactly happy with the folks out in L.A. at the moment…

    Comment by Bill Roper (f93cf2) — 11/24/2006 @ 2:59 pm

  25. Tim Blumer,

    *this libertarian shrugs*

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:06 pm

  26. [...] Patterico has a VERY important post out today in which he researches a recent Los Angeles Times article. The article in question alleges that the US military dropped bombs on a neighborhood, killing women and children. the headline and byline says it all: Iraqi residents say U.S. airstrike kills 30 Victims include women and children, witnesses in Ramadi say. The military has no immediate comment. [...]

    Pingback by Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Patterico Takes On The Democrat Times (986d71) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:07 pm

  27. Tim Blumer,

    In other words I am not going to get into a match over what is on or off-topic in a blog. I can’t think of a single blog where one can create such distinctions meaningfully. Blogs are just like conversations; they ebb, flow, change topics, etc.

    Nor am I going to get into some meta-analysis of the media. If bad things are being reported out of Iraq that is largely because a lot of bad things are happening there. A single poorly reported incident (if that is what actually happened here), does not detract from the verity of this observation. I’m more interested in the forest than the trees.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:13 pm

  28. Patterico reports on the LA Times antimilitary bias…

    He does a lot of research on an article that appeared in the LA Times on Nov 15th. In the article, it states that a US airstrike killed 20 Iraqi citizens. He is the conclusion his research leads him to:I copied it to the Readers’ Representative, who….

    Trackback by Dawnsblood (95d97e) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:16 pm

  29. We know from past experience that al-Reuters will do anything to put an anti-US military slant on the story at hand. So if their story says that only adult males were killed in a tank barrage, I would say that is damning evidence the LAT story reporting an airstrike that killed women and children is bee ess.

    Comment by scott (43cadd) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:17 pm

  30. Not biased, just on the other side.

    If Clinton had done this, they’d be presenting a very different vision of what is happening over there.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:20 pm

  31. Now, to really throw things off-topic, I will note that I just discovered that Graham Chapman has an asteroid named after him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9617_Grahamchapman

    We miss you Graham; it sucks that you aren’t around.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:21 pm

  32. htom,

    As I recall, in 1997 and 1998 when the Clinton administration was putting out singals that they were considering more robust action against Iraq they were met with a lot of resistance.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:22 pm

  33. The LA Times has been practicing this kind of Journalism in the Israel-Palestinian conflict for years, so I was prepared for it when the Iraq war began. Given the reliance on stringers and translators with their own agendas, all news from this region should have a warning label on it (like cigarettes)– WARNING–the quotes and reports from this region are regularly unreliable, often propaganda, and nearly always exaggerated.

    Comment by TJ (484252) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:25 pm

  34. [...] Here’s another example of how the media distorts the news coming out of Iraq. [...]

    Pingback by justbarkingmad.com » Blog Archive » Media Complicity With Terror (bcb8b9) — 11/24/2006 @ 3:47 pm

  35. Excellent post and well worth the wait. The LAT (and the NYT and others) are totally invested in the defeat of this country. Some of us are totally invested in the defeat of the MSM. ;-)

    Comment by Peg C. (836973) — 11/24/2006 @ 4:08 pm

  36. I don’t pretend to have any notion of how powerful the average IED is, but for such a device to destroy 15-20 homes is not something your anonymous “soldier” would have missed. If Iraqi police lied about these events, he might focus at least some of his wrath on coalition colleagues. It’s also unlikely 15-20 civilian homes would not have a single woman or child inside in the middle of the night. But hey, what do I know?

    Reuters: “An Iraqi police source, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said U.S. forces raided the al-Dhubat district late on Monday and several houses were destroyed.”

    Deutsche Presse-Agentur: “Iraqi police said US military carried out ground and air raids Monday night and Tuesday morning, destroying more than 20 houses.”

    “We know nothing about this [LA Times] stringer his name, his background, or his possible motivations.” – Patterico
    ——–
    “Through my blogger connections, I was introduced to someone who has been to Iraq and maintains a wide network of Iraqi connections. Im withholding names, at the partys request which was made because of the concern that the partys Iraqi connections might be identified through their connection and put at risk.” – Patterico

    Is that even faintly equitable?

    You attempt to impeach an anonymous source with two other anonymous sources – one of whom has such cold feet he won’t re-affirm an untraceable blog submission. Why only bemoan the secrecy of the accused? All may have ulterior motives.

    We learn of revisions when official after-action investigations are released. None is forthcoming, to my knowledge. I sincerely hope this was not an American embarrassment and EVERY SINGLE person who died November 13-14 in Ramadi was an adult male terrorist. I’m not convinced either way.

    [steve, do you defend the L.A. Times's failure ever to report the military's clear denial that there was an airstrike Nov. 13? -- P]

    Comment by steve (6830b3) — 11/24/2006 @ 4:09 pm

  37. Why The Lost Angeles Times Is Indeed Very Lost…

    Patterico investigates some “reporting” about the war in the Los Angeles Times. Conclusion:

    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……

    Trackback by Hugh Hewitt (b5f39f) — 11/24/2006 @ 4:31 pm

  38. As I recall, in 1997 and 1998 when the Clinton administration was putting out singals that they were considering more robust action against Iraq they were met with a lot of resistance.

    Horace,

    As I recall, you are wrong. If for no other reason that there weren’t many folks on the international scene, or in domestic politics, who took Clintonian signals of robust we-gonnas very seriously. But the 1998 government action declaring Iraqi regime change has much bi-partisan support.

    Certainly more than the Kosovo adventure.

    Cordially…

    Comment by Rick (785992) — 11/24/2006 @ 4:49 pm

  39. Dog bites man…….

    ….The LA Times lies about Iraq a……

    Trackback by Media Lies (fa8fba) — 11/24/2006 @ 5:24 pm

  40. There may have been an airstrike in Ramadi on the night of the 13th through the 14th. Every day CENTAF publishes an “Airpower Summary” on http://www.af.mil as a part of the daily news. On November 15th they published this: “In Iraq, U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s conducted a strike against anti-Iraqi forces near Ramadi. The F/A-18s expended guided bomb unit-31s on enemy targets.” That strike took place either on the 13th or the 14th of November.

    Comment by Gaius Obvious (08c6b4) — 11/24/2006 @ 5:28 pm

  41. [...] Patterico (Via Hugh Hewitt): Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? [...]

    Pingback by FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Los Angeles Times Watch: Big Media Journalists Often Rely on Sources That Are Unreliable (baa0b4) — 11/24/2006 @ 6:34 pm

  42. More reasons why you cant trust these darn liberal news papers like the smell a times

    Comment by krazy kagu (10add8) — 11/24/2006 @ 6:37 pm

  43. Only time will tell if an Iraqi stringer has done to the LAT what a Lebanese/Palestinian stringer did to Reuters. The optimistic view is: Two down, a few more to go.

    Comment by Another Drew (8018ee) — 11/24/2006 @ 6:37 pm

  44. [...] source NowPublic [...]

    Pingback by The LA Times –> More Reporting From the “Green Zone Media?” « Nuke’s news & views (7821b4) — 11/24/2006 @ 7:00 pm

  45. The big problem is too much anonymity. We know nothing about the stringer. We know nothing about the soldier. How can I make any kind of informed judgement about a story if it is all done anonymously. Heck, I don’t even have a biographical scrap about Patterico. Where would I find something about his credentials?

    [Sometimes bloggers have a profile linked on their sidebar. Or there is my 3 1/2-year history of blogging. Take your pick. -- P]

    Comment by Lee (1c31e6) — 11/24/2006 @ 7:06 pm

  46. LAT’s and all there kind (News Papers, are dispicable and a traitor to America. They are like the ocean being toss forward and backward, no foundation. It is obvious they (LAT’s and the likes of them), are be in bed with terroist.

    Comment by Johnny (d06581) — 11/24/2006 @ 7:21 pm

  47. Gaius,

    Interesting, but I think the emphasis should be on the official report stating “near Ramadi” vs. your “there may have been an airstrike in Ramadi”. “Near” could be 30 miles away from the city”. Still not conclusive this was even part of this engagement. Go Navy – make it 51 – 49. Semper Fi.

    Comment by Sandstorm (207272) — 11/24/2006 @ 7:23 pm

  48. Patrick–

    This post is without a doubt one of the best I’ve seen on your blog. It’s a real trajedy that the LA Times, once a great newspaper worth reading, still can’t get its act together after Dean Bacquet and Robert Scheer were fired. Maybe we’re asking too much, but in reality it is clear that liberals simply aren’t up to the tasks that are required of the modern-day news media.

    Comment by Mescalero (ac4388) — 11/24/2006 @ 7:58 pm

  49. [...] Another stellar piece of reportage by the LAT categorically decimated by Patterico. [...]

    Pingback by Wikistan » Blog Archive » Lost Angeles Times (902c80) — 11/24/2006 @ 8:17 pm

  50. No kidding, look at this pointless slander

    Comment by Mac (f88c11) — 11/24/2006 @ 8:21 pm

  51. With most private conversation now happening on private networks, the 1st and 4th amendments are quickly evaporating.

    Comment by Wesson (c20d28) — 11/24/2006 @ 8:33 pm

  52. [...] Why The MSM Can’t Be Trusted On Iraq Patterico gives us yet another great example of why the MSM can’t be trusted to get it right on — or in — Iraq. Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency? Or is the paper simply misreporting the facts, and failing to seek out and report the military’s side of the story? [...]

    Pingback by Thinking Right » Blog Archive » Why The MSM Can’t Be Trusted On Iraq (ab26d8) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:31 pm

  53. I sent Mr. Moore an e-mail and asked him that very question, along with several others. He never responded.

    So you contacted him about allegations that he is publishing stories containing blatant lies, and he had no immediate comment.

    Comment by Eric Pooley (08b122) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:31 pm

  54. I contacted him with the questions listed in the post, and he had no comment after four days — far more time than Big Media ever gives anyone to respond.

    This is clear from the post.

    To call that “no immediate comment” sounds like a deliberate attempt to distort the record.

    What are you, a Big Media journalist?

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:35 pm

  55. steve,

    Perhaps you missed my comment appended to yours.

    I asked you:

    steve, do you defend the L.A. Times’s failure ever to report the military’s clear denial that there was an airstrike Nov. 13?

    steve?

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:35 pm

  56. [...] Is the Iraq sectarian violence a full-scale civil war? Various factions might debate it, but Solomon Moore — the guy who wrote that flawed story about Ramadi and wouldn’t respond to my questions about it — has made up his mind. He has a piece titled Civil war worsens, which begins: Iraq’s civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks in the wake of coordinated car-bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite slum the day before — even as a main Shiite political faction threatened a walkout, a move that likely would lead to the government’s collapse and plunge the nation deeper into disarray. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Is the Iraq Conflict Now a Civil War? The L.A. Times Knows for Sure . . . (421107) — 11/24/2006 @ 9:41 pm

  57. [...] Thankfully, he did, and, as usual, he has done a splendid job. The LA Times’ “Silent Solomon” Moore (you’ll see why he gets the nickname from me when you read the post) does not come off looking good. Or maybe he should be called Solomon “Room Service” Moore. [...]

    Pingback by Bizzyblog » Patterico Investigates the LA Times Obvious Misreporting of an Incident at Ramadi (34f45e) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:02 pm

  58. These brick and mortar news companies will be gone soon enough and good riddance. Having said that its likely something more dangerous to freedom will replace them. If only we could clone Roggio and Patterico and a few others to keep the truth alive.

    Comment by Redball6 (dd74e0) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:19 pm

  59. ‘LA Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda?’…

    HT Patterico’s Pontifications

    Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side?

    Is the L.A. Times reporting unco……

    Trackback by Rocket's Brain Trust (fa8fba) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:26 pm

  60. No, I don’t defend the LA Times not following up on U.S. military denials of the Iraqi police reports.

    Did you ask whether 15-20 Ramadi homes were destroyed that night and if so, by what means?
    What is *their* collateral casualty toll – or were all the dead adult, male terrorists? I assume you vetted the correlative wire stories along with the Solomon Moore piece, right?

    Comment by steve (d5d31b) — 11/24/2006 @ 10:49 pm

  61. steve, the press officers’ position was that the information contained in the press release I linked is accurate.

    The main mystery for me is the number of bodies, as evidenced by the press reports, as well as the doctor I heard from through contacts. If he is a shill for Americans, I wonder why he said there were 30+ bodies.

    I couldn’t do more than speculate on the reasons for that discrepancy.

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:03 pm

  62. Does it not bother you, steve, that the other press reports refer to dead men, not women and children?

    And shouldn’t the paper be more specific about who said women and children were killed? In making an allegation like that, is it really good journalism to say “witnesses say” and leave it at that? Without saying which witnesses said so?

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:05 pm

  63. Great piece Patterico! Send the info to the NYPost, at least (so far) they seem to be more on reporting instead of lying…

    Comment by LordNazh (d282eb) — 11/24/2006 @ 11:36 pm

  64. Not much reported about Ramadi under a Baghdad dateline is “really good journalism.” Yet, important details of the OIF press release are not supported by Iraqi police and confidential sources referenced by three wire services and the LA Times.

    When you ask a press officer how multiple reports of 15-20 homes being demolished and Iraqi officials listing 30+ civilian casualties could ALL be wrong, do they at least check up the line?

    Two things seem pretty unlikely: That all four press writes used the same contacts and stringers and that each was corrupted in the same way for the same reason. And that 15-20 homes couldbe destroyed in Ramadi late at night and no women and children be inside and hurt.

    Anonymous sources with plausible reasons to invent their own truth leave us in a disinformation vortex.

    Comment by steve (d5d31b) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:07 am

  65. Rick,

    Whatever you think of the Clinton administration, they were for some more robust action against Iraq in 1998:

    http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9802/18/town.meeting.folo/

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) — The Clinton administration’s plan to launch a military strike on Iraq ran into plenty of flak in the American heartland Wednesday.

    At a town meeting held in St. John Arena at Ohio State University and aired exclusively on CNN, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger encountered a noisy, opinionated crowd and considerable opposition to another war with Iraq.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:15 am

  66. 15 Houses? Must have been B52 carpet bombing.

    Airstrikes in Iraq are generally “surgical” – most for close support of ground ops in which one – or perhaps two – munitions are used. These would be high precision and highly coordinated. The exception would be a strike like the one that took out Zarqawi, and that would differ only in that larger precision munitions would be used, but still limited in area.

    Destroying 15 houses is no amall feat. Take a look around your neighborhood and consider the geography we’re talking about. This isn’t something a Reuters reporter would be unaware of – or anyone else in town.

    Comment by Greyhawk (983c65) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:27 am

  67. The Times??? The L.A. Times….???

    The Los Angeles Times????

    Nobody read it anymore.

    Comment by jessica jesek (9561f7) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:37 am

  68. The Times??? The L.A. Times….???

    The Los Angeles Times????

    Nobody reads THAT anymore.

    My wife can’t spell.

    Comment by harvey jesek (9561f7) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:41 am

  69. With friends like the isLAmist Times, who needs CAIR?

    Comment by YFS (7e527d) — 11/25/2006 @ 1:51 am

  70. “The sociological data informs us that when a government collapses, any government which repaces it will more likely than not experience a civil war.” –Horace

    Wow, sociological *data*! Is that your term for “history”? If so, did I just miss the civil wars in Japan and Germany after WW2? How about when America removed Manuel Noriega from Panama, or took out the terrorizing thugs running Grenada? While civil wars often happen, I think the historical record shows that they *haven’t* happened when the U.S. has been involved.

    Horace again:

    [I'm not] going to get into some meta-analysis of the media. If bad things are being reported out of Iraq that is largely because a lot of bad things are happening there. A single poorly reported incident (if that is what actually happened here), does not detract from the verity of this observation. I’m more interested in the forest than the trees.

    This is the type of deft evasion we’ve grown to expect from folks like Horace: Patterico’s point was that this does NOT appear to be just a “single, poorly reported incident”, but part of a campaign of deliberate deception. What gives the game away is the complete whiff by the Times’ so-called “reader rep:” When Pat called them the polite equivalent of either incompetent or enemy propagandists, was their response to take up his charges and refute them? No, it was “the facts are all there in the story.” Of course that’s the whole point! The story had all the earmarks of the classic hoax “reports” printed in the NYTimes by a reporter who had never been to the scene, but the LAT couldn’t be bothered to even *attempt* to address Pat’s serious charges.

    And why do you believe only this one story was a propaganda piece? If reporters sit safely in the Green Zone and rely on locals to feed them stories, why do you assume that the stringers are reporting the truth? We’ve seen many instances of terrorists infiltrating the Iraqi police or army–wouldn’t you think they’d have infiltrated the local press as well?

    Finally, you imply that scrutinizing the media is a waste of time, and that you’re more interested in the ‘big picture.’ But if you’re objective (rather than a partisan propagandist), you form your picture of what’s happening in Iraq from hundreds of these little stories. If a large percentage of them are little more than fiction (as in this case), what does that do to your conclusions about the war in Iraq?

    Comment by sf (533004) — 11/25/2006 @ 3:42 am

  71. sf,

    If so, did I just miss the civil wars in Japan and Germany after WW2? How about when America removed Manuel Noriega from Panama, or took out the terrorizing thugs running Grenada?

    Well, (A) my comments were in reference to all civil wars that followed WWII, whether they involved the U.S. or not (no need to get parochial in other words), and (B) American success at building post-intervention stable societies has a mixed record over that time period – as Haiti and Cambodia clearly illustrate.

    Further, I’m not terribly convinced that either Germany or Japan’s efforts at recovery following WWII were really do to American efforts. See, I don’t have a lot of faith in government to do anything; see, I’m a capitalist. And the historical record backs this up – those nations which got the most Marshall Plan money were those who performed most poorly following WWII. This was of course exacerbated by the socialist policies of these nations – Britain for example. Anyway, in the case of Japan and Germany one is dealing with societies which were already rich, industrialized, etc., so claiming some great economic recovery based on U.S. government policy seems to ignore what was already in place and what the Germans and Japanese did for themselves. The Germans and Japanese pulled themselves up by their own boostraps.

    While civil wars often happen, I think the historical record shows that they *haven’t* happened when the U.S. has been involved..

    Ahh, Cambodia argues against this claim. And that is just merely one example. Clearly there was a civil war there, the Khmer Rouge won that civil war, the U.S. was heavily involved in supporting the Cambodian government that got into power in 1970, etc.

    This is the type of deft evasion we’ve grown to expect from folks like Horace:

    *sigh*

    I’m not going to get into psychobabble and mental states.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 4:27 am

  72. Anyway, if you want another example of an American failure to stop (or quell) a civil war, well, the civil war in Lebanon is another example. We went in with the French, stayed for a time, and then left.

    What this argues for of course is a notion of the limits of American power. A fairly traditional conservative notion I might add. Quite Burkean in its overall tone.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 4:39 am

  73. Nice Post Patterico. It puts us in mind of one we did two and a half yeears ago: Dueling Editors, Part II: The LA Times Leads Irish Blogger to Think that Yanks are Really Dumb and its followup, Stupid People

    Comment by Bran (7f3d38) — 11/25/2006 @ 5:33 am

  74. Even if a Soldier is in Ramadi and has knowledge of the situation, he may not be able to tell you the facts, because he’d be divulging information that is classified. Basically, it’s to keep a Soldier from revealing sensitive sources, not to keep Americans in the dark. Personally, it makes me angry to see most of the uninformed reporting that goes on, but it is not my place or any other Soldier’s place to set the record straight unless directed by the chain of command.

    The Public Affairs officer is supposed to be the one talking to the press, (and the bloggers, IMO).
    Public Affairs Officers need to be watching for reports like this, and releasing information that counters it.

    Comment by SFC SKI (ed3fb5) — 11/25/2006 @ 5:38 am

  75. Hmm, my submission disappeared.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 6:24 am

  76. Anyway, the nature of the comment went something like this:

    (A) I was referring to civil wars and other types of internal strife in the post-WWII era, and (B) the U.S. has clearly been involved in international situations where the U.S. did not stop a civil war. A primary example of this is Cambodia.

    As to Germany and Japan, those nations lifted themselves largely up by their own bootstraps. I am a capitalist; I am very skeptical of claims that government is the root cause of some improvement. Germany and Japan were industrialized, rich nations before WWII; those nations who got the most Marshall Plan aid did the poorest following WWII (note that Germany was far more devesatated, France was just as devastated, etc. as Britain, yet Britain got far more money and was much slower to imporve); etc.

    As to this remark – This is the type of deft evasion we’ve grown to expect from folks like Horace: – I responded that I won’t concern myself with what amounts to psychobabble. And at that point I simply stopped reading sf’s response.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 6:44 am

  77. Horace: you’re missing the forest for the trees. If we can’t trust the media to accurately report the news, of whatever type, how can we, as citizens make informed decisions? For example, websites like strategypage have been writing for months about Sunni tribes in Anbar province that have been turning on al-Queda and decimating them. Has any big media reported on this? Is this even true? Does this have any relevance to the possible strategies in the wider war on terror (while many in the media continue to insist that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT)?

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htterr/articles/20061124.aspx

    Comment by Rob (0f0cef) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:05 am

  78. Rob,

    Horace: you’re missing the forest for the trees. If we can’t trust the media to accurately report the news, of whatever type, how can we, as citizens make informed decisions?

    Are you suggesting that things in Iraq are appreciably better than what the overall tone of reporting from Iraq indicate? If so, I’d like some evidence of this.

    For example, websites like strategypage have been writing for months about Sunni tribes in Anbar province that have been turning on al-Queda and decimating them.

    Actually, I’ve seen this mentioned many times in the press – the Charlie Rose show is one place I recall hearing it (who knows, I listen to a fair number of shows like that). Of course the deal is, those Sunnis don’t want us there either.

    Does this have any relevance to the possible strategies in the wider war on terror (while many in the media continue to insist that Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT)?

    Well, at best the U.S. made it part of that larger war. I don’t think that was a particularly wise decision.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:17 am

  79. MSM and Enemy Propaganda…

    If you ever had any doubt about the mainstream media—in this case the LA Times—repeating insurgent propaganda, …

    Trackback by Vista On Current Events (fa8fba) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:24 am

  80. Rob,

    BTW, while I realize that we likely have divergent views on the policy choices associated with the war, I also appreciate the civil nature of your post.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:37 am

  81. Ok, that is really strange. I can see my comment on my laptop but not on my desktop. There are seventy-nine comments on my desktop, and eighty on my laptop. How does that work?

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 8:27 am

  82. “Is the L.A. Times reporting unconfirmed enemy propaganda from an Iraqi stringer with ties to the insurgency?”

    There is no factual evidence to justify the premise.

    The LA Times should have updated its story to reflect the conflicting military press statement. Even if nothing else supports that statement. All who would say one way or another “fear reprisals” and maintain anonymity, except for U.S. military PAO’s re-stating administrative language.

    That ONLY a single wire service and the LA Times reported an airstrike occurred is noteworthy, as is the Times’s account of minors and women being among the killed. Such might not be unusual in a situation where 20 homes were destroyed in a nighttime assault.

    With so many journalists kidnapped and killed, stringers and various local officials may remain a go-to resource for initial reporting deep inside insurgent stronghold enclaves. News agencies ideally should have more than one stringer and reliable contact in such places. And ideally, we’d get on-site follow-ups, too. And the Iraqi police version, ideally, would carry some putative cred.

    Given most available press reporting is substantially at variance with the military account does NOT lead me to conclude the LA Times knows its stringer has “ties to the insurgency” and is wittingly endorsing “enemy propaganda.”

    Comment by steve (d5d31b) — 11/25/2006 @ 8:28 am

  83. One thing I don’t think anyone’s pointed out yet: I read the original LA Times story, and it sure does read like enemy propaganda:

    Other families attempted to leave Ramadi on foot or gathered at the city hospital, where a passionate crowd called out “Allahu akbar!” or God is great, in unison.

    “National reconciliation is a fiasco!” cried one bereaved relative.

    Referring to a local Sunni Arab anti-insurgent group, another relative complained that “the Committee of Salvation is useless.”

    “They are calling for peace when it is time for jihad,” the relative said.

    Do real people say stuff like that? It just doesn’t pass the smell test. It sounds to me like something someone made up without even visiting the scene, which would be consistent with other aspects of the reporter’s account.

    D

    Comment by David H Dennis (6b4dfd) — 11/25/2006 @ 8:30 am

  84. Do real people say stuff like that?

    I don’t know enough about Iraqi culture to answer in either affirmative or the negative.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/25/2006 @ 8:35 am

  85. Per Patterico link, the last time “Dr. Kamal” was a source for reporting a Ramadi airstrike – with civilian casualties and angry street reaction – the U.S. military version also claimed no air raid. That time a “Police Brigadier Hamid Hamad Shuka” confirmed that there indeed had been one.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/archive/archive?ArchiveId=38200

    If this is a practiced storyline, the military needs a better rebuttal. Generals Pace, Abazaid, Casey and Caldwell brief regularly and could confront this any time they chose to.

    I’ll give Pete a call. Be right back.

    Comment by steve (d5d31b) — 11/25/2006 @ 9:32 am

  86. [...] Greyhawk points us to a relatively long and detailed post by Patterico, which picks apart a 13 November article from the LA Times alledging that a US airstrike in the Anbar capital of Ramadi “pulverized” 15 houses and killed 30+ people: BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in the restive town of Ramadi killed at least 30 people, including women and children, witnesses said Tuesday… [...]

    Pingback by Neptunus Lex » Airstrikes and tainted sources (f67377) — 11/25/2006 @ 9:37 am

  87. Horace #65, the objections to action in Iraq at Ohio state came from largely from a bunch of hard-lefties.

    At the link YOU cited:
    Albright was drowned out at one point by a group chanting, “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your racist war,” as she tried to explain U.S. policy to the audience of 6,000.

    The other objection related to a lack of confidence that the Clinton Admin would fight hard:
    While those opposing a “racist war” were a tiny, if vocal, minority, there were many others in the audience who agreed with a veteran who asked if “we’re going to do it half-assed the way we did before?”

    You’re not going to find a lot of opposition to Clinton’s saber-rattling in official Washington, because there wasn’t any. There WAS a general understanding on the part of many that he was just blowing smoke up everyone’s collective butts.

    Oh, and this quote from the article YOU cited is priceless:
    “We’ve spent seven years containing him at no loss to U.S. lives,” Cohen said, adding that an attack would reduce the threat of “chemical and biological weapons that will pose a threat to your children and grandchildren for the future.”

    Funny, that’s the threat that existed in 1998 but somehow didn’t exist in 2003. What a bunch of Horace-crap.

    Comment by Tom Blumer (9a8c25) — 11/25/2006 @ 11:54 am

  88. Horace, I wouldn’t even bring the Clinton Administration into an argument about our nation’s defense at all. Why? Because a top CIA analyst with Clinton at the time cited EIGHT TIMES when Clinton had a chance to take Osama Bin Laden out — and didn’t.

    Comment by Lisa (b5851e) — 11/25/2006 @ 12:28 pm

  89. Horace — somewhere between your screen and Patterico’s site someone has saved the page and you’re viewing that cached version of the page. Check your brower reload time bounds. Some ISPs don’t do a good job of sorting out which pages are “highly dynamic” and only update their own cache of the page every five or ten minutes. :(

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 11/25/2006 @ 2:13 pm

  90. The L A Times is Working for the Enemy…

    If no bomb goes off and one is reported, they’ve won a huge victory. It is the ultimate in assymetric warfare. A payoff in exchange for nothing at all. An infinite rate of return…

    Trackback by The Scratching Post (59ce3a) — 11/25/2006 @ 3:25 pm

  91. They Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do…

    Pathetic. Patterico did a little investigating, and found that the LA Times printed a story that can best be characterized as repeating enemy propaganda, in that there is no evidence that an American airstrike that killed 30 Iraqi women and…

    Trackback by Joust The Facts (72c8fd) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:45 pm

  92. [...] As I had hoped, some milbloggers are starting to weigh in on my post about that flawed L.A. Times story about an alleged airstrike in Ramadi. Several milbloggers have questioned the claim by the mysterious “Times correspondent in Ramadi” that 15 houses could have been “pulverized” in the alleged airstrike. They all seem to agree that an airstrike that large would be a massive operation that would be very hard for the military to deny. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Milbloggers Weigh in on the Flawed L.A. Times Story on the “Airstrike” in Ramadi (421107) — 11/25/2006 @ 7:46 pm

  93. Of course one of the problems is that the US military is severly limiting the number of embedded reporters, which is a defacto censoring of news coming out of Iraq. The link below will go to the article in the Weekly Standard, hardly a biased leftie outlet.http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/844nigml.asp

    Comment by John Ryan (dd3d89) — 11/25/2006 @ 9:51 pm

  94. [...] I’m glad to see the military get their side of the story out. There have been reports that some of the major media operating from the Green Zone in Bagdad are simply relying on stringers, some with insurgent ties, to report the news. No one questions that Iraq is a dangerous place. But, if these Green Zone Reporters are not going to report the news, they should not be using questionable and unreliable sources for the reports which go out on their letterhead. It is more than the just credibility of the media that is at stake. NowPublic [...]

    Pingback by One Mosque Burned in Hurriya (Not 4 as reported by Green Zone Media) « Nuke’s news & views (61c00f) — 11/25/2006 @ 11:04 pm

  95. If so, did I just miss the civil wars in Japan and Germany after WW2?

    I would characterize the armed stand-off between the FRG and the DDR as a civil war (albeit cold). It took about 45 years until both sides ceased their hostile behavior towards one another.

    Comment by Gaius Obvious (08c6b4) — 11/26/2006 @ 2:10 am

  96. Htom,

    Horace — somewhere between your screen and Patterico’s site someone has saved the page and you’re viewing that cached version of the page. Check your brower reload time bounds. Some ISPs don’t do a good job of sorting out which pages are “highly dynamic” and only update their own cache of the page every five or ten minutes.

    How very odd. Must be something clogged in the “tubes.”

    Lisa,

    I didn’t bring Clinton administration up, nor am I defending the Clinton administration. I’m just stating what is known – in 1998 a more robust military solution was shouted down in Ohio.

    Gaius Obvious,

    That’s an interesting point.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/26/2006 @ 7:07 am

  97. Falsely fanning the flames…

    Flopping Aces is thinking the MSM is quoting some shady sources:But it appears that our MSM is getting the “anarchy” stories from the enemy themselves. That cannot be trusted. I mean the big story yesterday was these six burned alive…

    Trackback by Brutally Honest (72c8fd) — 11/26/2006 @ 8:08 am

  98. When Nancy Pelosi sits down to negotiate with Bin Laden & Co, while gay marriage and feminism be on or off the table?

    Comment by George Dixon (5564c0) — 11/26/2006 @ 10:28 am

  99. [...] While we were munching, the LA Times once again used some very questionable sources to bring us miserable news. Patterico asks and then answers this question: Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side?. It is a powerful piece that will make you very angry. The fakery is breathtaking. And sadly, Patterico’s example is not the only one…read on…. [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » Did you miss these stories over Thanksgiving? I did! (1b383c) — 11/26/2006 @ 11:17 am

  100. [...] Patterico didn’t just wonder; he decided to investigate. Read what he says here. [...]

    Pingback by The New York Times Commits Treason — AGAIN « An Angeleno’s View of the World (ca9c00) — 11/26/2006 @ 1:42 pm

  101. I saw this story initially carried in Chechen Islamist news, and dismissed it prima facie as pure propaganda. I posted on my own web site recently about Marines in Anbar who are hamstrung by ROE and mission (to train Iraqis rather than engage the enemy). The stories of Marines and Soldiers being hamstrung by ROE are repleat. Both cannot be true: Marines hamstrung, and air strikes that kill women and children. The Marines cannot even fire on the enemy if he is fighting and then puts down his weapon. When hosilities temporarily cease, ROE prohibits U.S. forces from engaging.

    You have done good work here to debunk the LA Times Story. This to me makes it rather conclusive, but I had surmised it in about 5 seconds when I first read it. It is nice to know that my instincts are okay.

    Thanks for the work. Keep it up.

    Comment by Herschel Smith (108f09) — 11/26/2006 @ 2:18 pm

  102. [...] Answer:  Patterico examines a recent article published by the LA Times which got all of its information from a stringer about an American airstrike that alledgely killed 30 civilians in Ramadi. [...]

    Pingback by andreas04: close to attraction (b6f188) — 11/26/2006 @ 2:29 pm

  103. This is probably the source of the LA Times story:

    http://www.albasrah.net/en_articles_2006/1106/iraqiresistancereport_141106.htm

    Reproducing it here:- there is an issue of not just what Americans see, but what Middle Easterners see. Worth digging into further.

    Al-Anbar Province.

    Ar-Ramadi.

    US bombardments of ar-Ramadi kill 30 civilians, wound 20 Monday night, Tuesday morning.

    In a dispatch posted at 11:25am Makkah time Tuesday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that US occupation aircraft bombed and rocketed residential areas of the city of ar-Ramadi, about 110km west of Baghdad, on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

    The correspondent for Quds Press in ar-Ramadi reported that the Americans used heavy artillery and tanks to bombard various civilian residential areas of ar-Ramadi, beginning on Monday night and going on to the early hours of Tuesday. The correspondent wrote that the American bombardment targeted several residential areas of ar-Ramadi but hit the ad-Dubbat neighborhood with particular ferocity. The correspondent wrote that many houses were completely flattened by the American attack, collapsing the buildings over the heads of their residents, confined inside by the American-imposed nighttime curfew.

    The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported a source in the puppet police as saying that US warplanes struck the ad-Dubbat neighborhood of central ar-Ramadi late Monday night and again on Tuesday morning. Bombardment destroyed about 20 homes. A source in ar-Ramadi Hospital told Mafkarat al-Islam that his facility had so far received the bodies of 30 people killed in the American attack and 17 more wounded, but that the number was likely to rise because search and rescue operations were still underway and bodies were still being dug out of the rubble at that hour.

    That account was confirmed by Quds Press, which quoted Dr. Kamal al-‘Ani of ar-Ramadi Hospital as saying that 30 bodies had been brought in and about 20 more had been admitted to the hospital with injuries, some of them sever.

    Dr. al-‘Ani said that the hospital is suffering from a severe shortage of medicine and medical supplies because supplies have not arrived from Baghdad. He appealed to hospitals in nearby towns and cities to rush any aid they could provide to his facility.

    Quds Press quoted rescue workers as saying that they were still struggling to pull bodies of victims from the rubble of the houses razed by the American attack. Ahmad ash-Shamari told Quds Press that Civil Defense units and local residents were trying to get to victims still believed buried in the ruins. Ash-Shamari said that the heavy equipment that would be able to facilitate their work would not come into the city because operators feared further American attacks.

    Mafkarat al-Islam noted that in the past two days, US forces had been threatening that they were going to strike uninhabited houses, which they said Resistance fighters could use as hideouts. The American attack, however, targeted houses that were still occupied by local families.

    Quds Press noted that Resistance fire had struck one US helicopter early on Monday evening but that otherwise there had been no clashes between US occupation troops and Resistance fighters in the area attacked by the Americans.

    Comment by Arun (ce8e22) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:00 pm

  104. It continues here, I wonder if it is Dr. Kamal al-Ani who was alleged arrested?

    http://uruknet.info/?p=m28311&hd=&size=1&l=e

    “Death toll in American massacre in ar-Ramadi rises to 37 as victims die of wounds in hospital.

    In a dispatch posted at 3:46pm Makkah time Wednesday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the number of those killed in the American massacre of civilians in ar-Ramadi on Monday night and Tuesday morning had risen to 37 following the deaths of several more victims in hospital. On Tuesday the number of those killed was listed as 30 individuals.

    The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that efforts to search for bodies continued into Wednesday evening, since two people who went missing at the time of the American bombardment have still not been accounted for.

    Following their attack on the civilian areas of the city, US forces opened fire on ambulances and fire trucks that were trying to tend to the destruction and to evacuate the dead and wounded, rejecting appeals issued by local mosques to allow emergency vehicles carry out their humanitarian mission. The initial death toll was 14 people, mostly women and children, their bodies blown apart by the powerful American ordnance.” and

    “US occupation forces arrest Director of Public Health in al-Anbar Province on charges of supporting the Iraqi Resistance.

    In a dispatch posted at 8:16pm Makkah time Wednesday night, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier US occupation troops had arrested the Director of Public Health in the Province of al-Anbar along with nine doctors and staff members in the course of a raid on ar-Ramadi General Hospital.”

    Comment by Arun (ce8e22) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:19 pm


  105. http://old.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2006/11/25/6544.shtml

    Comment by Arun (ce8e22) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:25 pm

  106. Fascinating.

    Will follow up on these.

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:27 pm

  107. I believe #105 is the Jamail story that I linked in the post.

    But the Iraqi Resistance stuff is very interesting.

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:36 pm

  108. Are you suggesting that things in Iraq are appreciably better than what the overall tone of reporting from Iraq indicate? If so, I’d like some evidence of this.

    No one ever answered this question of mine.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:38 pm

  109. Are you suggesting that things in Iraq are appreciably better than what the overall tone of reporting from Iraq indicate? If so, I’d like some evidence of this.

    The Kurds. What have you heard of them in the MSM?

    Comment by Pablo (08e1e8) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:40 pm

  110. Pablo,

    You know, in the American Civil War things weren’t appreciably hot in Maine (fighting wise that is). Indeed, I doubt there many wartime stories written about Maine during the American Civil War. Now, if I had lambasted the media in 1863 about their lack of coverage of things going in Maine re: the Civil War, do you think that would have been a reasonable criticism?

    The war isn’t going on amongst the Kurds. It never has been.

    Or let’s put it this way: if the fighting continues in the areas it exists now, can Iraq have a stable future? I’d say no. In other words, what is necessary and sufficient here in other words? A stable Kurdish area of the country seems neither necessary nor sufficient.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:47 pm

  111. Actually, I’ll take that back; it may be necessary, but it is not sufficient.

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:51 pm

  112. In other words, in order for a walnut to grow it must have a light source for photosynthesis (that is a necessary condition), but that is not sufficient by itself (its got to have water, soil, etc.).

    Comment by Horace (cbe5f9) — 11/26/2006 @ 3:52 pm

  113. [...] We want to thank Patterico for joining us once again on Pundit Review Radio to discuss his LA Times-Ramadi investigation. [...]

    Pingback by Pundit Review » Blog Archive » Patterico discusses LA Times Ramadi investigation (aa41eb) — 11/26/2006 @ 8:38 pm

  114. [...] You be the judge. November 26th 2006 Posted in War on Terror Digg it [...]

    Pingback by Infidels Are Cool » Blog Archive » Is The L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? (afad56) — 11/26/2006 @ 8:59 pm

  115. [...] Patterico’s question about the Ramadi incident in relation to the LA Times is every bit as valid when it comes to Iraq in general and all of the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, formerly known to most as the Mainstream Media): Is the Media Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » So It Has Been Over Two Weeks. Have You Heard or Read About This? (34f45e) — 11/26/2006 @ 9:39 pm

  116. [...] Addendum: Patterico has researched the LA Times article quoted at the end of this post and confirmed much of what I suspected was going on. The direct link to Patterico’s excellent Fisking is here. [...]

    Pingback by Yankee Wombat | An American in Oz (16154e) — 11/27/2006 @ 1:20 am

  117. L.A.Times: Repeats Terrorist’s Propaganda as News… Again!…

    -By Warner Todd HustonPatterico’s Pontifications blog has done some stellar detective work on a particular L.A. Times story wherein the Times claims that U.S. forces attacked a town with an ariel strike that killed 30 Iraqis, including women and……

    Trackback by Warner Todd Huston (95d97e) — 11/27/2006 @ 7:14 am

  118. [...] Patterico has quite a long post filled with his investigation to disprove that Times’ story. It is so comprehensive, I will not try to distill it here. Suffice to say, it is fantastic reading and is a must for those who want the truth about our efforts in Iraq. (Patterico’s post is titled, Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda?) [...]

    Pingback by L.A.Times: Repeats Terrorist’s Propaganda as News… Again! (d07354) — 11/27/2006 @ 7:22 am

  119. Is it really so hard to believe that the military would refuse to confirm the accidental deaths of 30+ civilians, including women and children (if this were actually the case)?

    Also, I thought that the whole point of an insurgency was that you couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. If this is the case, then how does the US soldier denying the claims of the “stringer” know that the “stringer” has links to the insurgency?

    On the other hand, I think it’s silly for Americans to pretend to be outraged when they learn that people die in wars. It would be better for them to acknowledge that they don’t give a shit, and to pass over the deaths like the collateral damage they are.

    Comment by Leviticus (43095b) — 11/27/2006 @ 7:45 am

  120. [...] Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s disassembly of the LA Times’ terrorist driven propaganda « DPGI v.2 (fced9f) — 11/27/2006 @ 9:29 am

  121. [...] Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? [...]

    Pingback by Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? « Thoughts Of A Conservative Christian (52942a) — 11/27/2006 @ 9:51 am

  122. [...] Like Patterico said about that L.A. Times airstrike story that’s imploding at an ever accelerating rate: 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. [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » Bombshell: Centcom says AP’s Iraqi police source isn’t Iraqi police (d4224a) — 11/27/2006 @ 10:07 am

  123. [...] Read more via Patterico, who is kicking bootie on this story as well. [...]

    Pingback by Sister Toldjah » MSM has been relying on questionable Iraq sources for information regarding Shia/Sunni violence (1466f5) — 11/27/2006 @ 12:23 pm

  124. [...] All of this is on top of what Patterico has learned about the airstrike that the military says didn’t happen (with follow-ups here and here). [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » The Burning Question (Figuratively and Literally): Is Reliance on Bogus and Compromised News Sources Slanting Iraq Coverage? (34f45e) — 11/27/2006 @ 12:24 pm

  125. Terrorists Launch Google Guide…

    Because you can’t spell jihad without GOOGLE. An organization calling itself ‘The Jihad Media Battalion’ (alt, brigade), which is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, has produced a 26 page guide for using the Google search engine to further……

    Trackback by The Jawa Report (bf639b) — 11/27/2006 @ 1:20 pm

  126. Sourcing the News Turns Up Interesting Development…

    Curt at Flopping Aces was definitely on to something when he originally wrote about the curious Iraqi police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Curt found out that Captain Hussein was neither a Captain in the Iraqi police nor was in the employ of the Iraqi Interio…..

    Trackback by A Blog For All (59ce3a) — 11/27/2006 @ 2:02 pm

  127. [...] ALLAHPUNDIT is all over this, as is, Florida Cracker , Patterico, Don Surber, and Junkyard Blog. A Blog For All linked with Sourcing the News Turns Up Interesting Development function openSpellChecker() { // get the textarea we’re going to check var txt = document.getElementById(‘comment’); // give the spellChecker object a reference to our textarea // pass any number of text objects as arguments to the constructor: var speller = new spellChecker( txt,”http://rightvoices.com” ); // kick it off speller.openChecker(); } » Trackbacks & Pingbacks [...]

    Pingback by Right Voices » Blog Archive » Unbelievable: AP’s Iraqi police source isn’t Iraqi police (1466f5) — 11/27/2006 @ 2:13 pm

  128. [...] And what do we make of Patterico’s brilliant work regarding the stringer’s story told to the Los Angeles Times Iraq reporter about an American “bombing” in Ramadi; a bombing that never occurred. The stringer’s report of civilian deaths is also apparently a hoax (or disinformation). The fact that all we are getting is silence from the LA Times is par for the course but it does make one curious about the answers to all those questions I asked above. Read Patterico’s analysis and then start contemplating what else we might be hearing and reading about that has no basis in fact. [...]

    Pingback by Right Wing Nut House » THE ART AND ARTIFICE OF WAR REPORTING (5ada7f) — 11/27/2006 @ 2:24 pm

  129. *UPDATED* Media Lies, UN Lies, And A Presidential Library…

    What are the implications 0f media deceit? A lot more than the endorsement of tired and failed political agendas and ideologies.In fact, media deceit has lead to an environment where the deaths and killings of innocents, so that some agendas are presen…

    Trackback by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred (127944) — 11/27/2006 @ 4:48 pm

  130. AP-Iraq scandal blogospheric synergy…

    Taking CENTCOM’s list of bogus sources the AP often relies on, originally published in Update VIII of this Flopping Aces post, I notice this name: Ali al-Obaidi, a medic at Ramadi Hospital, police Maj. Firas Gaiti said. Hmm…a bogus medic……

    Trackback by JunkYardBlog (621918) — 11/27/2006 @ 5:04 pm

  131. [...] If that post didn’t get you going, then this one from Patterico will have you throwing dishes at the walls! [...]

    Pingback by Fools Rush In « Obi’s Sister (61c00f) — 11/27/2006 @ 5:52 pm

  132. [...] Additionally, SeeDubya has found another interesting factoid. Recall Patterico’s recent post in which he takes the LA Times to task for their shoddy reporting of a airstrike that wasn’t. Well SeeDubya found 3 names in the AP’s version of that same story that are quoted. All 3 were on the Centcom list I posted earlier as being under investigation: Hey, I just noticed something. The suspicious Ramadi medic shows up in [edit] the AP version of Patterico’s story–about how the LA Times manufactured an “air strike” in Ramadi (and dozens of casualties) that CENTCOM denies ever happened. [EDIT] In the AP version,The bogus medic says: Meanwhile, Ali al-Obaidi, a medic at Ramadi Hospital, said those killed were civilians who died in shelling by U.S. tanks. A police spokesman said 20 people were killed, but gave no information about their identities or how they died. [...]

    Pingback by Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Getting The News From The Enemy, Update (986d71) — 11/27/2006 @ 6:31 pm

  133. [...] Like Patterico said about that L.A. Times airstrike story that’s imploding at an ever accelerating rate: 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. [...]

    Pingback by Blue Crab Boulevard » Fraud, Writ Large (a177fd) — 11/27/2006 @ 7:07 pm

  134. The Associated Press gets used by the enemy…

    A reasonable case can be made for calling the conflict a civil war, based on definitional grounds, but the fact remains that NBC/MSNBC took their decision based partly on false information.

    ……

    Trackback by Common Sense Political Thought (819604) — 11/27/2006 @ 8:19 pm

  135. [...] Meanwhile, Patterico is trying to get to the truth of an alleged bombing massacre conducted by US troops and has found that the Los Angeles Times has decided to rely on unnamed sources, who may have ties to terrorists in Iraq, and has steadfastly refused to report our military’s flat denial of the airstrike. [...]

    Pingback by The Sundries Shack (bf591e) — 11/27/2006 @ 9:01 pm

  136. [...] Patterico has quite a long post filled with his investigation to disprove that Times’ story. It is so comprehensive, I will not try to distill it here. Suffice to say, it is fantastic reading and is a must for those who want the truth about our efforts in Iraq. (Patterico’s post is titled, Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda?) [...]

    Pingback by Opinion Headlines » Archivio » L.A.Times: Repeats Terrorist’s Propaganda as News… Again! (9d9189) — 11/28/2006 @ 6:44 am

  137. What is Reality and Why Does it Matter?…

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.Daniel Patrick MoynihanThis quote from the late Senator (D-NY) reflects a core tenet of Western Civilization since the enlightenment and has been under siege for…

    Trackback by ShrinkWrapped (72c8fd) — 11/28/2006 @ 8:01 am

  138. [...] Bruce Kesler points out that CBS Public Eye’s Brian Montopoli (an official journalist – thank God – we can all relax now) has checked out Curt’s work at Flopping Aces and Patterico’s work and he’s getting the feeling that we “right-wing bloggers” are a mite distrustful of the press, and darn it, that’s not really fair. [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » Iraq: Bloggers “premature,” press “focused” (1b383c) — 11/28/2006 @ 1:36 pm

  139. OK is it just me, and I admit I have not read the whole comment section – BUT -

    Isn’t this just a re-hash of the Massacre at Haditha?

    Names sound eerily similar. Events are eerily similar.

    It is just another example of the Insurgent Playbook.

    Comment by Enlightened (af3db1) — 11/28/2006 @ 2:45 pm

  140. [...] Qais Al-Bashir also happens to have the byline on the AP version of the Ramadi Air Strike story currently being contested by Patterico, and another name on CENTCOM’s list appears as a source [...]

    Pingback by Independent Sources » Blog Archive » Losing The Information War One AP Stringer At A Time (dd41d6) — 11/29/2006 @ 12:25 am

  141. [...] AP defends burned Sunnis story LAT airstrike report Soldier from Ramadi: Bunk Patterico investigates Milbloggers respond Another milblogger responds     [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » The American Press and Enemy Propaganda (d4224a) — 11/30/2006 @ 5:09 am

  142. [...] AP defends burned Sunnis story LAT airstrike report Soldier from Ramadi: Bunk Patterico investigates Milbloggers respond Another milblogger responds [...]

    Pingback by politicalpartypoop.com » Blog Archive » The Liberal Media, Terrorist Pimps (ef3398) — 11/30/2006 @ 9:28 am

  143. Sounds like the American LIberal/Biased media has forgotten how to do their jobs. (Not unusual given Dan Rather’s commentary saying the story is true, but the documents are false”…) These are people who have no morals, decency, work ethic and worst of all NO COMMON SENSE. They are merely the same old Haters of all things American who have no clue that they are in the 21st Century the old “Useful Idiots” so loved by Communist Dictators in Russia.

    Years ago you would have the good sense to have a Good Source or Two, and the Intelligence to at least quote Both Sides of the story, today we get only what the REPORTER and HIS EDITOR Want us to hear or read..

    THE Liberal MEDIA WAS ON A RADIO PROGRAM on WRKO HERE IN MASS. TODAY..BRAGGING STUPIDLY ABOUT HOW THEY WILL DECIDE THE CANDIDATES FOR 2008..AND THE WINNER ALSO WILL BE OF THEIR CHOOSING. Any blogger, myself included can do a better job at reporting and fact checking…Any blogger knows how to detect propoganda and how to seek the truth. The biggest problem Americans have these days is that they are too Lazy to double check facts..if it were not for bloggers who CHECK FACTS..the American Media would have us all in burka’s and praying 5 times a day already! Of course if and when that time comes…useful idiots are usually the first to “disappear”…People like them will never be trusted by the new RULERS.. and will definitely be removed.

    But this carelesss reporting DESTROYS so many Reputations and when they are proven WRONG..the person who was DESTROYED never gets EQUAL TIME or as Many Apologies. It is too bad that the media gets to “change the story” in a one sentence item hidden from the Front page…I would hope that some time in the near future our media IS MADE BY LAW OR CONSCIOUS TO RUN ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH HUGE HEADLINES..ALL APOLOGIES AND THE MEDIA MADE TO USE ALL THE TIME THE OFFENDED PARTY WISHES TO MAKE HIS INNOCENCE KNOWN…PREFERABLY DURING THEIR MONEY MAKING ADVERTISING TIME..

    After hearing about Howard Deans visit to Quebec to make a speech on how to take back Canada, at the Liberal party’s Convention…from a friend in Montreal..not our LIBERAL BIASED MEDIA…i GUESS HE WAS VERY INSULTING TO AMERICA AND HIS BIASED MEDIA PALS DIDN’T WANT TO SEE HIM IN THEIR OWN PAPERS! BUT THE WORD IS GETTING OUT..FUNNY HOW LIBS NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY NOW TO INSULT AMERICA AND HOW THEY CANNOT HIDE THESE DAYS…DEMS HAD BETTER GET THE WORD TO HIM, CARTER, GORE …AND CLINTON, THAT IT DOES GET BACK HERE LOUD AND CLEAR AND THE MESSAGE WE ARE HEARING FROM THEIR HEROIC LOSERS HAS NOT CHANGED..HATE AMERICA IS THEIR SLOGAN..BEFORE AND AFTER THE ELECTION.

    Comment by caron mc carthy (a90377) — 11/30/2006 @ 9:43 am

  144. Sounds like the American LIberal/Biased media has forgotten how to do their jobs. (Not unusual given Dan Rather’s commentary saying the story is true, but the documents are false”…) These are people who have no morals, decency, work ethic and worst of all NO COMMON SENSE. They are merely the same old Haters of all things American who have no clue that they are in the 21st Century the old “Useful Idiots” so loved by Communist Dictators in Russia.

    Years ago you would have the good sense to have a Good Source or Two, and the Intelligence to at least quote Both Sides of the story, today we get only what the REPORTER and HIS EDITOR Want us to hear or read..

    THE Liberal MEDIA WAS ON A RADIO PROGRAM on WRKO HERE IN MASS. TODAY..BRAGGING STUPIDLY ABOUT HOW THEY WILL DECIDE THE CANDIDATES FOR 2008..AND THE WINNER ALSO WILL BE OF THEIR CHOOSING. Any blogger, myself included can do a better job at reporting and fact checking…Any blogger knows how to detect propoganda and how to seek the truth. The biggest problem Americans have these days is that they are too Lazy to double check facts..if it were not for bloggers who CHECK FACTS..the American Media would have us all in burka’s and praying 5 times a day already! Of course if and when that time comes…useful idiots are usually the first to “disappear”…People like them will never be trusted by the new RULERS.. and will definitely be removed.

    But this carelesss reporting DESTROYS so many Reputations and when they are proven WRONG..the person who was DESTROYED never gets EQUAL TIME or as Many Apologies. It is too bad that the media gets to “change the story” in a one sentence item hidden from the Front page…I would hope that some time in the near future our media IS MADE BY LAW OR CONSCIOUS TO RUN ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH HUGE HEADLINES..ALL APOLOGIES AND THE MEDIA MADE TO USE ALL THE TIME THE OFFENDED PARTY WISHES TO MAKE HIS INNOCENCE KNOWN…PREFERABLY DURING THEIR MONEY MAKING ADVERTISING TIME..

    After hearing about Howard Deans visit to Quebec to make a speech on how to take back Canada at the Liberal party’s Convention… ATTENDED AND RECORDED BY A friend in Montreal..NOT our LIBERAL BIASED MEDIA… HE WAS VERY INSULTING TO AMERICA AND HIS BIASED MEDIA PALS DIDN’T WANT US TO SEE HIM IN THEIR PAPERS! BUT THE WORD IS GETTING OUT..FUNNY HOW LIBS NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY NOW TO INSULT AMERICA AND HOW THEY CANNOT HIDE THESE DAYS…DEMS HAD BETTER GET THE WORD TO HIM, CARTER, GORE …AND CLINTON, THAT IT DOES GET BACK HERE LOUD AND CLEAR AND THE MESSAGE WE ARE HEARING FROM THEIR HEROIC LOSERS HAS NOT CHANGED..HATE AMERICA IS THEIR SLOGAN..BEFORE AND AFTER THE ELECTION.

    Comment by caron mc carthy (a90377) — 11/30/2006 @ 9:49 am

  145. Enemy Propaganda, the Press, and Why it Matters…

    Michelle Malkin does an excellent job in today’s Vent. Go check it out. The second half of today’s Vent talks about an earlier story, run in the Los Angeles Times, about 30 civilians alleged to have been killed in Ramadi…….

    Trackback by The Jawa Report (bf639b) — 11/30/2006 @ 2:30 pm

  146. [...] Michelle Malkin featured my post on the Ramadi airstrike in her “Vent” today at Hot Air. I thought her “Vent” account was well done, and refrained from overstating the conclusions of my post. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Ramadi Story on Malkin’s “Vent” (421107) — 11/30/2006 @ 6:44 pm

  147. [...] Reading the latest exchange of heavy artillery between the blogsphere and the MSM I have found it hard to get started on where to comment. It all started with an LA Times post that quoted an unnamed  reporter or stringer in Ramadi who sounded pretty much like an al Qaeda agent. I noted it in passing here.  Then Patterico  did about as much as is possible to make the case against the LA Times without going to Ramadi and conducting his own investigation. Next  Flopping Aces,   Michelle Malkin,  Protein Wisdom,   and many others raised all manner of questions about AP stringers and drew considerable blood.  The AP’s response is here.   However,  it was in reading the comments to this post at OPFOR that I finally found someone who asked the right question: [...]

    Pingback by Yankee Wombat | An American in Oz (16154e) — 11/30/2006 @ 11:48 pm

  148. [...] War reporting was the favored topic for non-Council winning posts, too. The winning non-Council post was Flopping Aces’ post, “Getting the News from the Enemy”. The second place non-Council post was my nomination, Patterico’s Pontifications’ post, “Is the L. A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda?”. I think the answer is “Yes” and very clever of our enemies to turn our own news media against us, too. I honestly don’t believe there’s any particular malice on the part of the news media in this, however. I attribute this to small overseas news budgets (and perhaps lack of willingness on the part of reporters to brave the danger and dig for stories), laziness, and ingrained habits. [...]

    Pingback by The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » The Council Has Spoken! (80002b) — 12/1/2006 @ 7:38 am

  149. [...] The lesson is, as we have seen during the past two weeks in the reporting of incidents out of Iraq (the “Ramadi non-Airstrike” covered by Patterico, and the “Burning Six” assembled by Michelle Malkin), that the press will not wait to release a report that fits one of their templates (”Soldiers kill civilians,” “Iraq is an incurable mess,” “There is heavy bias against Islam,” etc.) if the limited facts at hand seem to support that template. By the time the full set of facts catches up, millions of readers and viewers have been misled (and, of course, influenced); corrections, if any, are limited; and the press has moved on to their next story. “Drive-by Media” indeed. __________________________________ [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » Weekend Question 1: What Really Happened on US Airways Flight 300? (34f45e) — 12/2/2006 @ 7:12 am

  150. The Council Has Spoken:…

    The winning Council Post this week was by Freedom Fighter at Joshua Pundit. In his post Genocide? What Genocide? he marvels at the ability of murderers and their enablers to find ways to blame others for the evil they countenance….

    Trackback by ShrinkWrapped (72c8fd) — 12/2/2006 @ 12:50 pm

  151. [...] In working on my post on the L.A. Times report on the Ramadi airstrike, I exchanged several e-mails with Maj. Megan McClung, a press officer in Ramadi. She was at all times very cooperative and friendly with me. I quoted her by name in the post: Major Megan McClung, a Public Affairs Officer with the Marine Corps in Ramadi, said in an e-mail: Thank you for your interest in setting the record straight on the events of Nov 13 -14. . . . There were no CF [Coalition Forces] air strikes that day. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Ramadi Press Officer Megan McClung (421107) — 12/7/2006 @ 7:01 am

  152. [...] They have managed, as in the case of the Ramadi air strikes that didn’t happen, to portray US soldiers as reckless and brutal killers and maimers of civilians. [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » It’s ‘Time’ for a Write-in Campaign (34f45e) — 12/9/2006 @ 12:21 pm

  153. [...] Patterico had a brief correspondence with Maj. McClung. In working on my post on the L.A. Times report on the Ramadi airstrike, I exchanged several e-mails with Maj. Megan McClung, a press officer in Ramadi. She was at all times very cooperative and friendly with me. She never once gave me the impression that she thought my inquiries were unimportant because they were coming from a mere blogger. Linking Posts [...]

    Pingback by The Real Ugly American.com » Blog Archive » New Milblog: Badgers Forward (4e8dcb) — 12/11/2006 @ 8:04 am

  154. [...] As to Ramadi, is AP out there with a non-stringer (i.e., a real, named reporter) because of doubts first raised prominently by Patterico about the LA Times’ “airstrike” story, the people they quoted, and the stringer involved? (AP could be using the same stringer.) [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » Could It Be, AP? (34f45e) — 12/11/2006 @ 8:39 am

  155. [...] Patterico and Badger 6 were working with a PAO, MAJ Megan McClung, in Ramadi on the fabricated MSM story of the Ramadi airstrike. Sadly, she was killed on December 6th by an IED. Also killed were CPT Travis Patriquin and SPC Vincent Pomante. [...]

    Pingback by Euphoric Reality - » First Female Officer KIA in Iraq (88e527) — 12/12/2006 @ 9:29 am

  156. [...] Johnson’s relative anonymity (including, incredibly, not being one of Time’s “Digital Democracy Fifteen”), the almost non-existent fauxtography coverage outside of the blogs and forums (besides the quiet Old Media corrections), and the relatively scant attention being paid to Jamil Hussein (my semi-satirical nominee for Person of the Year) and other “unofficial” (and, more importantly, factually questionable) sources of news from Iraq used by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and others, are all proof that, despite Time’s hype, Old Media, though no longer credibly “mainstream,” still mostly controls the dissemination of news. [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » Weekend Question 3: What Do You Mean, You’re Time’s ‘Person of the Year’? (34f45e) — 12/17/2006 @ 9:03 am

  157. gee, real professional work here, lawyer guy.

    turns out you are full of shit, once again.

    so much for the ‘liberal media’ bullshit you keep shoveling our way.

    when are you going to admit that you just find facts and truth to be conspiracies against your own deluded worldview?

    Comment by prozacula (3f1c73) — 12/20/2006 @ 9:47 am

  158. Solomon Moore updates the November 13-14 Ramadi attack story, adding eyewitness accounts of women and children having been killed and a fresh military denial of any U.S. airstrike causing casualties. Two eyewitnesses are identified by name, age and occupation.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-ramadi29dec29,1,43941.story?coll=la-headlines-world

    Marines did not immediately respond to inquiries about the total number of civilian dead, but acknowledged that it was often difficult to distinguish between insurgents and non-combatants.

    After six weeks they “did not immediately respond”?

    The Marine spokesman’s written response to the LAT appears to suggest the Ramadi operation resulted in no loss of life on the U.S. side. Yet, the Pentagon identified Spc. Eric G. Palacios Rivera of Atlantic City, NJ as having been killed in Ramadi in that day’s fighting.

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/2006.11.html

    Wire service subscription feeds carried photos of damaged buildings, mourners and bodies on the streets being placed in coffins from that day. Abu Dhabi TV, UAE aired video of the Ramadi aftermath including what appears to be a child’s remains briefly uncovered by a grief-stricken mourner.

    I credit Solomon Moore for the clarification which fills in some of the gaps and importantly modifies his earlier inadequate attribution and balance.

    Comment by steve (820f71) — 12/28/2006 @ 9:19 pm

  159. Steve,

    Thanks for the link. The linked article concludes with the following paragraph that, in my view, supports Patterico’s original post that there was no airstrike [emphasis supplied]:

    Several residents said that they saw helicopters and a jet fighter during the confrontations and assumed that some of the explosions were caused by airstrikes. U.S. ground units are often accompanied by air support during military operations.


    The Ramadi residents assumed the damage was done by airstrikes. This suggests that the original report of airstrikes was based on assumptions, not eyewitness accounts, and thus Patterico’s questions about the Iraqi stringer’s motives remain unanswered.

    [I was already aware of the link (thanks be to Allahpundit) and will try to get up a short post tonight, to the extent I can from a Treo. I may have another tomorrow with pictures; I have had Salas's response for days and just haven't had the time to get it into a post, because of spotty Internet access and the need to spend time with family. I am asking Salas for further reaction as well, given some of the content of the article. I'm glad Moore took another look at this, although it obviously took some prodding to get him to do it. -- P]

    Comment by DRJ (51a774) — 12/28/2006 @ 9:52 pm

  160. The “jet fighter” was likely one of the Marine FA/18′s mentioned in the CENTAF 15 November daily summary:

    In Iraq, U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s conducted a strike against anti-Iraqi forces near Ramadi. The F/A-18s expended guided bomb unit-31s on enemy targets.

    Patterico on November 28 wrote: “I am pressing the folks in the military for details regarding the contents of the airpower summary. They have acknowledged the inquiry and are working on it.”

    The Marine spokesman in Moore’s update said an airstrike took out a bridge 10 miles east of Ramadi that night.

    [Yup. That's what Salas sent me. I asked some folks the relationship between the area and residential areas, and that is part of what I'll be posting about. It has been unbelievably frustrating not having the proper amount of time to address this. Now I have scooped by the L.A.Times, which is terribly embarrassing, since I've had the info for days. But I'm just one guy and I'm on vacation, away from the computer and with family. That has taken priority. -- P]

    Comment by steve (820f71) — 12/28/2006 @ 10:07 pm

  161. Patterico “scooped” by the LA Times? Say it ain’t so!

    Comment by DRJ (51a774) — 12/28/2006 @ 10:52 pm

  162. Not to be pedantic, but I notice the Salas statement says U.S. airstrikes “did not target” anyone in Ramadi that night. That allows for the possibility one or more of the $20,000 laser-guided GBU 31′s may have been mis-targeted.

    In any event, Moore has run out newly-named witnesses, stands by his reporting of women and children being killed and introduces a military-sourced angle of a nearby airstrike.

    [Ten miles away is not "nearby" for an airstrike, in my view. It's nice to know that he stands by the reporting done by his unnamed stringer, though. -- P]

    Comment by steve (820f71) — 12/28/2006 @ 10:55 pm

  163. [...] Back in November, blogger Patterico spent a lot of time looking into an incident in Ramadi in which it was alleged in the L.A. Times that U.S. airstrikes killed several civilians. The incident in many ways set the stage for the ongoing questions about coverage of the Hurriya burning and the AP’s reliance on “Capt. Jamil Hussein”. [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » LA Times revisits controversial Ramadi airstrike story (d4224a) — 12/28/2006 @ 11:54 pm

  164. I have nothing to add to this debate, it just shows what Americans believe is evil, and that is the military. A pity they support the other side.

    Rik

    Comment by rik (ee9fe2) — 2/7/2007 @ 8:06 pm

  165. [...] original post, based on Brian’s One Oar in the Water entry that relayed info from a soldier disputing the [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog » Catching Up on Patterico’s “No Ramadi Air Strike” Story (34f45e) — 3/28/2007 @ 3:03 pm

  166. [...] On November 15, 2006 the L.A. Times reported the claims of locals that a US airstrike killed at least 30 people in Ramadi (including women and children). A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment.  By other accounts, those killed were adult males, killed by fire from tanks.  The paper never printed the US military’s denial of an airstrike.  The LAT stringer was accused of having ties to the insurgency by someone purporting to be a US soldier; soldiers stationed in Ramadi claimed the airstrike was a complete fabrication.  Investigating the incident, the blogger Patterico found that people with experience in Iraq noted that al Qaeda either pays off, intimidates, or has sympathizers among many doctors in Iraq and that reports from doctors and “local residents” were highly suspect, as they rarely report males being killed.  The LAT ultimately backed off the claims in its original story, but readers never learned whether the stringer had ties to the insurgency. [...]

    Pingback by The Big Picture(s) [Karl] (e95a11) — 8/29/2007 @ 9:27 am

  167. [...] On November 15, 2006 the L.A. Times reported the claims of locals that a US airstrike killed at least 30 people in Ramadi (including women and children). A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment. By other accounts, those killed were adult males, killed by fire from tanks. The paper never printed the US military’s denial of an airstrike. The LAT stringer was accused of having ties to the insurgency by someone purporting to be a US soldier; soldiers stationed in Ramadi claimed the airstrike was a complete fabrication. Investigating the incident, the blogger Patterico found that people with experience in Iraq noted that al Qaeda either pays off, intimidates, or has sympathizers among many doctors in Iraq and that reports from doctors and “local residents” were highly suspect, as they rarely report males being killed. The LAT ultimately backed off the claims in its original story, but readers never learned whether the stringer had ties to the insurgency. [...]

    Pingback by Media Mythbusters Blog » Blog Archive » The Big Picture(s) [Karl] (d6d851) — 8/30/2007 @ 4:15 pm

  168. http://decembertree.com/christmas-gifts/gift-baskets-christmas-for-women.php

    Comment by Walker (14812f) — 12/21/2007 @ 11:09 am

  169. [...] numerous published … knows who killed someone ?? yet somehow, nobody will speak to the police. …http://patterico.com/2006/11/24/is-the-la-times-repeating-enemy-propaganda-or-is-there-another-reaso…The strawman called SUPERNATURAL Archive I – IIDBArchive I The strawman called SUPERNATURAL [...]

    Pingback by repeating someones statment (be467f) — 4/24/2008 @ 1:35 am

  170. [...] the Iraq war, I questioned an L.A. Times report that a U.S. airstrike in Ramadi had “pulverized” 15 homes and killed 30 [...]

    Pingback by » Had Enough of the Arrogance? Welcome to Big Journalism - Big Journalism (d59464) — 1/6/2010 @ 5:57 pm

  171. [...] accuse the U.S. of killing women and children.  The investigation of the press distortion is shown here  I liked one of the comments from a letter writer [...]

    Pingback by The Ozi Zion Blog » Blog Archive » It’s not personal, we do it to others as well (d9b77e) — 1/8/2010 @ 6:02 am

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