Patterico's Pontifications

12/17/2006

Lefty Bloggers Jump to Conclusions on Malkin and Jam(a)ilgate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:56 pm

Lefty blogger Lindsay Beyerstein sees a sinister motive in Marc Danziger’s work on the Jam(a)il Hussein story — namely, he’s out to save Michelle Malkin from having to go to Iraq:

When the Associated Press reported that 6 Iraqis had been burned to death in sectarian violence, Michelle Malkin and the right wing bloggers went on the offensive against the AP. Their main complaint was that the report of immolation was based on a single source, identified as police captain Jamil Hussein, who couldn’t be tracked down for confirmation.

So, former CNN chief Eason Jordan invited Michelle Malkin to come to Iraq and investigate the story for herself. Miraculously, within hours of the challenge, a Pajamas Media blogger found the source.

First of all: Marc Danziger is a Pajamas Media blogger? That has to come as a shock to him. Marc was initially in on the founding of Pajamas Media, but he and the other founders had a difference of opinion on the direction the company should take, and parted ways. Marc is about as far from being a “Pajamas Media blogger” as you can possibly get.

Second, Marc told me how he came to look into the Jam(a)il Hussein story. I’ll let him tell his own story, but I can assure you that it had nothing to do with saving Michelle Malkin from going to Iraq. No matter: Beyerstein is convinced that it’s all a big conspiracy:

Imagine that, as soon as Michelle is asked to put up or shut up, one of her colleagues solves the mystery. I sure hope Michelle Malkin has a nice Christmas present picked out for Danziger.

The assumption there is that Malkin will not be going to Iraq now. Funny, though . . . I didn’t see any mention of that on her blog. What if she’s still going, Lindsay Beyerstein? Will you take a helping of crow then?

The assumptions continue to fly at David Niewert’s Orcinus, who picks up the crow-eating analogy and runs with it, saying that Malkin

is probably going to have figure out how to eat a full-fledged serving of crow, and simultaneously perform triage on the dead horse that is whatever credibility she might once have enjoyed.

Quick pause here, to say: huh? Niewert continues:

That’s because it’s looking like, after a smear campaign against the Associated Press that revealed more about the Malkin’s brand of journalism than it did any malfeasance on the part of the AP, that the intrepid investigators of the right are finding that, yes Virginia, there is a Jamil Hussein after all. And he is a police captain, precisely at the station the AP reported . . .

Niewert sure is putting a lot of stock in the Editor & Publisher report, which makes it sound as though Marc’s findings are sure to corroborate every aspect of the AP‘s reporting — and which, in classic E&P style, overlooks a lot of inconvenient facts in its knee-jerk defense of Big Media. Again, I’d caution against making too many assumptions. What’s wrong with, say, just waiting for Marc’s post to come out?

I’ll note that it’s almost certain that the AP‘s original reporting was inaccurate, given that they themselves have (very quietly) backed off of one of the major claims made in the original story: that four different mosques were burned.

In the meantime, the folks on the left are jumping to a lot of conclusions, in support of their thesis that conservative bloggers have been . . . jumping to conclusions.

I know, I know. Waiting for the facts is so boring. Still, that’s how we’re going to play it here. Beyerstein and Niewert would be wise to do the same.

UPDATE: Beyerstein has corrected her error regarding Marc being a “Pajamas Media blogger.”

29 Responses to “Lefty Bloggers Jump to Conclusions on Malkin and Jam(a)ilgate”

  1. did the immolations happen, or not? what did danziger tell you on the phone? i know you don’t want to get out in front of his work, but at least give us a hint!

    assistant devil's advocate (739843)

  2. Marc was initially in on the founding of Pajamas Media, but he and the other founders had a difference of opinion on the direction the company should take, and parted ways. Marc is about as far from being a “Pajamas Media blogger” as you can possibly get.

    I get your drift, but someone who was “initially in on the founding” of PM and later parted ways with them would seem closer than, say, someone like Beyerstein, who (to my knowledge) has never had any contact with them, right? I know that it nitpicking, but you’re coming close to the pickery of of the nits yourself here, so it seems reasonable to point out.

    I want Malkin to go – I’m waiting for it. In fact, one would think she would have at least a loose departure date to annonce soon, although these are the holidays, and I’m sure she has to rearrange some appearances and whatnot.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  3. you’re coming close to the pickery of of the nits yourself here, so it seems reasonable to point out

    You ever have a falling out with someone in business? If you had, you wouldn’t consider it nitpicking if someone accused you of still being in business with the people you had the falling out with.

    Patterico (de0616)

  4. Too bad about Beyerstein. I’d always thought of her as a little more reasonable than the rest of them. But give ‘em credit — unlike Kos and Wonkette, they managed to get through a post about Michelle going to Iraq that didn’t flirt with the hope that she’d get killed while she’s over there.

    The only thing that really annoys me about the left blindly defending the AP here is the argument, made most emphatically by Eric Boehlert, that we’re using this incident somehow as a fig leaf for how bad things are in Iraq. If the AP turns out to be lying, the theory goes, we’ll declare all reportage from Iraq suspect by extension and conclude that things aren’t nearly as dire as they seem to be. Which, of course, is patent nonsense. There are Shiite death squads operating in hospitals in Iraq; if you knew nothing else about the country, you could glean from that fact alone how unspeakably horrible conditions are throughout the country.

    We’re not using this story as a fig leaf for the war. On the contrary, it’s Boehlert — the same guy who wrote a book claiming that the media is, giggle, right-wing — who’s using the war as a fig leaf for the AP’s anti-American bias. According to him and his pals, to challenge the veracity of this story is to be guilty, essentially, of historical revisionism, of denying the brutality Iraqis are facing. Oh sure, they say en passant, if the AP got it wrong they should be called on the carpet for it — while in the same breath they dismiss the charges as a “smear campaign” or “baseless” or whatever conclusory pronouncement you prefer. They don’t care if the AP blew it or not. They say they do because they know they have to. It’s purely pro forma.

    The truth is, and you can see this in Boehlert’s piece or Tom Zeller’s piece in the Times a few weeks ago, they think the AP story is true in the Larger Sense, as a microcosm of the brutality in Iraq, even if it’s not, you know, technically true. Which, my friend, is just another way of saying “fake but accurate.” That’s precisely the line they’re taking on this story, which is why it’s so outrageously disingenuous of them to pretend to give the slightest shit about whether Jamil Hussein is real or not. As far as they’re concerned, if he’s real, the story’s true; if he isn’t real, the story’s True. Heads they win, tails we lose. And the AP, if it’s guilty of bad facts to whatever greater or lesser degree, gets an almost completely free pass. It’s more important that Michelle Malkin be wrong, you see, than finding out if the world’s biggest news agency is passing off crap stories about the most important issue of our time. Repulsive.

    Mark my words: unless Danziger comes back with a categorical denial that Jamil Hussein exists, they’ll trumpet whatever facts about him redound to the AP’s advantage even if on balance the AP looks bad. For instance, if it turns out he exists but he’s not a real cop, the news on the lefty blogs will be “HE EXISTS.” And then they’ll set about showing why it’s not a big deal that he’s not a real cop, even though the AP has been claiming he’s a real cop for months now. Anything they can do to shore up the AP’s credibility, any argument they can make, they’ll do it, because like I said above, that’s what this is really about — protecting the left-wing media from a credible charge of malfeasance, even though it wouldn’t mean much in the grander scheme of how awful things are in Iraq. We’ll see tomorrow.

    Allah (bab333)

  5. Did anyone ever claim that the AP had just made up this guy out of whole cloth?

    Patterico (de0616)

  6. “…for the AP’s anti-American bias…”

    Any links to support this outrageous claim, Allah?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  7. You ever have a falling out with someone in business? If you had, you wouldn’t consider it nitpicking if someone accused you of still being in business with the people you had the falling out with.

    Yes, in fact, that’s how I lost my house in San Francisco (the falling out, obviously, not some accusation). I still wouldn’t consider myself as being “about as far [from that venture] as you can possibly get” – I still have very intimate knowledge about the venture, consider some of the people involved then friends, and do business with some of them. Perhaps we don’t regard business the same way, but I would say having nothing to do with some venture is objectively less involved than having something to do with said venture and then severing ties with it.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  8. I mean, because it’s very unlikely (based on what Marc already posted) that he’ll say Hussein doesn’t exist. But it’s also rather unlikely that he’ll corroborate the AP story in full — they already backed off of parts of it themselves.

    Patterico (de0616)

  9. Well, fishbane, you are obviously a continuing member of that venture, then.

    Patterico (de0616)

  10. Well, fishbane, you are obviously a continuing member of that venture, then.

    Funny that, given that it has not existed as a legal entity since 1998, the lawsuits are over, and everyone involved works for a different entity now (some, like me, are self employed). I do have a strong interest in law, so if you can offer a definition of ‘venture’, ‘continuing’ or ‘member’ that explains how this can be, I am very interested.

    All of which, of course, is a distraction from the notion that someone who for whatever reason chose not to formalize a business arrangement with someone else can be said to be “about as far as you can possibly get”. Which is clearly false, unless you assert that lapsed Catholics, say, are more distant to the Church than an Animist who has never even heard of Mass.

    fishbane (3389fc)

  11. I hope the wingnut bloggers still all go to Iraq and go see all the good news that’s there.

    actus (10527e)

  12. Eason Jordan is a “wingnut blogger” now?

    NYC 2L (4c4727)

  13. Eason Jordan is a “wingnut blogger” now?

    Oh. I don’t care where he goes. It’s the wingnuts that want to travel around like they’re in philadelphia and tell the good stories that I care about.

    actus (10527e)

  14. For what reason would Michelle Malkin be expected to apologize or eat crow? All she did was ask probing questions about a news story and forced the AP to prove the reliability of their sources. What’s wrong with that? Is the Associated Press considered to be so reliable a news source that it cannot possibly make a mistake?

    aunursa (629857)

  15. Jam(a)il Hussein being a real person will not fix the A(w/t)P’s reputation about producing a story that no one in the world except them and a few anonymous witnesses know about. In a country where tit-for-tat is the norm, you’d think that 6 immolations would require some serious payback, not even a press conference on the Sunni side though.

    If indeed Jam(a)il Hussein is a police captain (in whatever district A(w/t)P decides he works in this week)then he needs to get a good lawyer (wes clark? [hehTM]) and sue for his backpay, since MOI states they’re not paying any Jamil Husseins.

    Lord Nazh (285c90)

  16. The last generation of professors at journalism schools must be spinning in their graves on this one.

    First we have the AP using an Iraqi Police Captain named Jamil Hussein for not one but several stories, but when a question concerning his authenticity arises, they cannot produce a named source.

    A few weeks after the kerfuffle begins, someone named Jamail Hussein turns out to be with the Iraqi police, even though the Ministry of Infornmation apparently never knew of him as a police spokesman and CENTCOM had no idea who he was.

    The story that caused the questions now seems to turn on whether there is a Jamil (or Jamail) hussein with the Iraqi police, but we still have no bodies, no specified graves, no pictures of the incident (in a place where it seems like everything gets caught on tape), and no identifications of any of the supposed victims.

    In short, we have a story that meets the journalistic requirements of The Weekly World News (and The Los Angeles Times), but a story any responsible editor of a generation ago would have withheld until the reporter had more evidence.

    Dana (3e4784)

  17. All of which, of course, is a distraction from the notion that someone who for whatever reason chose not to formalize a business arrangement with someone else can be said to be “about as far as you can possibly get”. Which is clearly false, unless you assert that lapsed Catholics, say, are more distant to the Church than an Animist who has never even heard of Mass.

    I actually think that’s a pretty good analogy. Say someone is a lifelong Catholic, but loses faith over the way the Church has handled pedophiles in its ranks. Might not such a person, with their likely hatred for the Church, be described as being as far from a Catholic as you can imagine?

    To take the flip side, wouldn’t it be fair to call C.S. Lewis as far from an atheist as you can imagine — perhaps *because* he was an atheist before being a Christian, and therefore had the zeal of the converted?

    All of which may well overstate the level of Marc’s falling-out with Pajamas, which he and I never really discussed extensively. He never said anything bad about them, and for all I know he does remain friends with those folks; knowing Marc, he almost certainly does. That’s how he is. I just think it’s pretty damn inaccurate to say he is a Pajamas Media blogger. The discussion you’re insisting on having, fishbane, is hair-splitting and I’m not wasting any more time on it. I’ve made my position quite clear and if you want to continue to disagree there is nothing else I can say to change your mind.

    Patterico (de0616)

  18. I have to say I am a little perplexed just why the lefty bloggers jumped on this – Jordan and Malkin – and more specifically Malkin going to Iraq, so obsessively…why do they care? It’s pretty transparently desperate.

    Also, a little perplexed why the lefties are so eager to protect the AP reporting – and lame excuses to justify it — wingers out to prove all reporting is FUBAR…Especially coming from a group that asserted Red State blogger Ben’s plagiarized college-paper movie reviews was the single biggest threat to journalism and democracy as we know it.

    topsecretk9 (3ff626)

  19. Fair enough, Patterico. I said up front it was hair splitting, but I think you were, too. And I understand your use of my analogy – nobody hates like a scorned lover, etc. I just don’t think it is accurate in this case. But this is getting tedious. (I just have to say, though, based on my experience with two former girlfriends, even lapsed Catholics are very Catholic.)

    fishbane (3389fc)

  20. Patterico:

    For more on Jamil-Gate, please read my blog over the last few days, where there are some entries on this. Thank you, Esquire.

    Button (a6e181)

  21. [...] No matter. Whether the story happened the way the AP said it did is entirely irrelevant to the other side. I commented at length about it on Patterico’s site last night; rather than reproduce the whole thing here, I’ll send him some traffic by asking you to click and read it over there. Ragnar made a similar point today at the Jawa Report, wondering why the left would rush to the defense of a corporation that might be guilty of making an already horrendous situation in Iraq look even worse than it is. He’s speaking rhetorically, I think. [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Jamilgate: Many Jamil Husseins, not so many Capt. Jamil Husseins (d4224a)

  22. Breaking: “Jamil Hussein” identified? (Updated and bumped)…

    CENTCOM says AP’s Iraqi police source isn’t Iraqi police — Part 20 — Continued from this post. Not real sure what’s happening here, folks. Michelle posted this at 10:30 (EST?):Breaking: Jamil Hussein identified? Developing… Well, this is a str…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  23. There was a case here in the Detroit area a few years ago at one of the Grosse Pointe high schools. There were freshmen girls partying with senior boys and apparently one was getting passed around. The prosecutor filed statutory rape charges against the boys who were over 18. When asked why he didn’t file charges against the boys who were under 18, he explained that if he charged the minor boys with having sex with a minor, he’d have to charge the girl too, since she also had sex with a minor.

    Bozoer Rebbe (d84609)

  24. Hmmm .. since actus isn’t offering to go to Iraq, does that make him a “chickenhawk” for criticizing those that are? OK, maybe a chickendove.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  25. Hmmm .. since actus isn’t offering to go to Iraq, does that make him a “chickenhawk” for criticizing those that are? OK, maybe a chickendove.

    Criticize? nah. I WANT them to go.

    actus (10527e)

  26. [...] But some of the folks whom he carries water for are not quite so cleverly subtle. Let’s start with Michelle Malkin, whom Patterico correctly says we have a particular animus toward. Patterico has defended Malkin on repeated occasions from lefty attacks, and has happily touted his association with her several times. All of which is well and good. But for someone who thinks it’s “crazy” to believe there is a widespread media conspiracy to help the enemy, Patterico sure did pick an odd horse to hitch his wagon to. [...]

    Sadly, No! » Fair is Fair (d83a19)

  27. [...] said something similar myself in a comment on Patterico’s blog in the heat of Jamilgate back in December: Mark my words: [the left will] trumpet whatever facts [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » “Scott Thomas”: A psychological profile (d4224a)

  28. [...] Patterico’s Pontifications » Lefty Bloggers Jump to Conclusions on Malkin and Jam(a)ilgate Mark my words: unless Danziger comes back with a categorical denial that Jamil Hussein exists, they’ll trumpet whatever facts about him redound to the AP’s advantage even if on balance the AP looks bad. For instance, if it turns out he exists but he’s not a real cop, the news on the lefty blogs will be “HE EXISTS.” And then they’ll set about showing why it’s not a big deal that he’s not a real cop, even though the AP has been claiming he’s a real cop for months now. Anything they can do to shore up the AP’s credibility, any argument they can make, they’ll do it, because like I said above, that’s what this is really about — protecting the left-wing media from a credible charge of malfeasance, even though it wouldn’t mean much in the grander scheme of how awful things are in Iraq. We’ll see tomorrow. [...]

    Wash. Post Kutz on Scott Thomas Beauchamp : 186kpersecond.com (3c2933)


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