Patterico's Pontifications

2/1/2007

AP Owes, But Does Not Give, Correction

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Morons — Patterico @ 12:00 am



Is this a correction?

Four Sunni mosques attacked in late November in the embattled Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad still bear scars from the attacks and all are now either under Shiite Muslim control or closed.

Immediately after the Nov. 24 incidents, an Associated Press story quoted an Iraqi police captain saying the four mosques had been attacked and six men doused with fuel and burned alive at one of them. In some early versions of the AP story, which was updated several times as more information became available, the police officer referred to the mosques being burned or blown up.

Uh, AP? You also reported that Sunnis had claimed the mosques were destroyed:

Sunni residents in a volatile northwest Baghdad neighborhood claimed Friday that revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen had destroyed four Sunni mosques, burned homes and killed many people, while the Shiite-dominated police force stood by and did nothing.

(I understand that some ill-informed leftist bloggers have claimed, without proof, that this language was out there for 20 minutes and never made it into an actual story. I’m not linking these morons out of principle. You can easily find their stupid posts yourself. The name of their moronblog rhymes with the phrase “Madly Ho.” My response to these dunderheads is simple. Uh, ill-informed leftist bloggers? Meet Lexis/Nexis.)

So were four mosques “destroyed,” as the AP claimed in stories still available on Nexis? It sure doesn’t sound that way:

Since then, the AP has confirmed damage at three of the four mosques, including burn damage at two and slight damage at a third.

Unless “destroyed” has been redefined to encompass “slight damage,” it looks like the AP finally owes readers a correction.

This isn’t it, AP. A correction entails owning up to your mistakes and explaining how you got it wrong.

Come on. Man up and give your readers the correction that journalistic ethics demands that you provide.

Weasels.

P.S. At least they did clear up one question I had: the connection between the al-Qaqaqa and al-Meshaheda mosques. Turns out they’re the same:

The fourth mosque named in the AP’s original report, the al-Qaqaqa mosque, also known as the al-Meshaheda mosque, has a broken window and is closed . . .”

Uh-oh! It has a broken window! It must be destroyed!

Will the fringe weasel left ever acknowledge how far out to lunch they’ve been on this story?

Don’t answer that.

57 Responses to “AP Owes, But Does Not Give, Correction”

  1. Row, row, row your boat.

    P.s. Come on over to Just One Minute. I’m getting into it with dittoheads the size of gnats, that think that it’s ok to lie as long as you’re a Repuplican.

    TCO (ac2bf3)

  2. Sure, Patterico, come on over and see yet another example of mischaracterization (TCO’s).

    Besides, we need support for the War on Question Marks.

    Dan S (205dac)

  3. This is what it comes to? The one photo of the one mosque Malkin went to showed a hole in the dome big enough to drive a truck through and she was dim enough to trumpet that as a win for her side. And how many dead American and Iraqis since your crusade for truth began?

    [You’ve been reading too many dishonest lefty web sites. She had a lot of other evidence, including contemporaneous photos. Commenters like steve had argued that later photos would be inconclusive because damage could have been repaired. By that logic, contemporaneous photos, such as Malkin later suppied, would be the only worthwhile evidence. Plus, maybe you missed the bit in the post where the AP itself admits that one of the “destroyed” mosques sustained only “slight damage.” — P]

    Meanwhile back at the war:

    A new Defense audit says the Pentagon has failed to properly equip soldiers in Iraq—just as the President struggles to find support for a troop increase

    by Dawn Kopecki
    The Inspector General for the Defense Dept. is concerned that the U.S. military has failed to adequately equip soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially for nontraditional duties such as training Iraqi security forces and handling detainees, according to a summary of a new audit obtained by BusinessWeek.

    The findings come as the Pentagon prepares to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq and as Democratic leaders levy threats to restrict funding for a war that’s already cost about $500 billion. The Army alone expects to spend an extra $70 billion on an additional 65,000 permanent troops from fiscal year 2009 through 2013. According to Army officials, $18 billion of that will be spent on equipment.

    Soldiers Poorly Equipped
    The Inspector General found that the Pentagon hasn’t been able to properly equip the soldiers it already has. Many have gone without enough guns, ammunition, and other necessary supplies to “effectively complete their missions” and have had to cancel or postpone some assignments while waiting for the proper gear, according to the report from auditors with the Defense Dept. Inspector General’s office. Soldiers have also found themselves short on body armor, armored vehicles, and communications equipment, among other things, auditors found.

    “As a result, service members performed missions without the proper equipment, used informal procedures to obtain equipment and sustainment support, and canceled or postponed missions while waiting to receive equipment,” reads the executive summary dated Jan. 25. Service members often borrowed or traded with each other to get the needed supplies, according to the summary.

    Pentagon officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

    This is your war. You voted for it. You voted for it to be run the way it has been. You voted for the irresponsibility, or you must have because you refuse to face it even now. You ignored the most iportant rule of democracy: when it comes to government “don’t trust, verify.” That’s the citizens’ job, and you’ve refusd. Instead “they” will rescue us. “our leaders” will win the war for us. It’s “our” job to have faith. And those of us who have no faith are traitors.

    Your faith got us into this stupid war and your faith lost it.

    More on why I trust the AP more than I trust you:
    BAGHDAD Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor’s office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were abducted and found dead or dying as far as 25 miles away.”

    AF (ec5f86)

  4. I understand that some ill-informed leftist bloggers have claimed, without proof, that this language was out there for 20 minutes and never made it into an actual story. Im not linking these morons out of principle. You can easily find their stupid posts yourself. The name of their moronblog rhymes with the phrase Madly Ho. My response to these dunderheads is simple. Uh, ill-informed leftist bloggers? Meet Lexis/Nexis.

    Actually, Mary Katherine Ham’s piece (which you cite in the Lexis/Nexis reference) admits that the “destroyed” bit never made into any articles (or at least any that made it onto the web), and that the “destroyed” language disappears within an hour of its first usage (and after the supposedly non-existent Jamil Hussein is quoted). AP made a mistake initially (not unusual for the wire services), got more facts from their source, and clarified the issue with each subsequent story. I think you owe Sadly No a retraction.

    [The hell I do. *Today*, Nexis shows uncorrected AP articles with this language, as my link shows. They weren’t written on some kind of papyrus with a 20-minute lifespan. They’re on Nexis *right now*. AP never corrected the “destroyed” language, but rather used other language that could be read consistently with “destroyed.” Subsequently, like the lefty moronblogs, they pretended that the story was about one mosque and not four. Now Malkin has come back with proof that the mosques were not all destroyed, including contemporaneous photos that the moronblogs pretend don’t exist. Faced with this, the AP *finally* sends someone out to look at the mosques. Lo and behold, they’re not all destroyed. One has “slight damage” — a fact that the moronblogs will ignore or downplay. But the AP, the moronblogs, and Editor & Publisher still won’t forthrightly admit that the AP owes a correction. They have no actual integrity. They just pretend to, badly. — P]

    Steve Smith (8fadae)

  5. *Today*, Nexis shows uncorrected AP articles with this language, as my link shows. They werent written on some kind of papyrus with a 20-minute lifespan. Theyre on Nexis *right now*. AP never corrected the destroyed language, but rather used other language that could be read consistently with destroyed.

    Actually, the original draft of the AP post stated that it was “Sunni residents” who had claimed the mosques were “destroyed,” (a point that usually gets dowdified in the Malkin/Hot Air pieces) so it’s hard to see what it is AP would have to correct, unless the “Sunni residents” they were citing claim to have been misquoted. Again, once they had contacted their source, they received more accurate info, and the “destroyed” language disappeared from the AP stories that were actually relied on by other outlets. And since the AP doesn’t have “readers” (only the outlets who pick up their reporting have readers), the fact that the “destroyed” language wasn’t cited by anyone else makes any need for a retraction irrelevant.

    [Nonsense throughout. Let’s assume there really is a police officer by the name of Jamil Hussein, just for the sake of argument. By your logic, if a blogger says: “The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior says there is no Iraqi police officer named Jamil Hussiein,” there is no need for a correction even if there is an Iraqi cop named Jamil Hussein. They said it, after all. And if someone says Steve Smith molests baby pandas, I can report that with no need for a correction if it’s not true, because hey, someone said it.

    Also, you persistently act as though there was this story that somehow disappeared into the ether, ignoring that it’s on Nexis, showing up in searches, able to be read anytime. And it’s still uncorrected. — P]

    Steve Smith (8fadae)

  6. Steve, you’re “destroyed” on November 24 morphed into four mosques that were “burned and blew up,” according to Jamil “Hussein” himself on the 25th. I can provide you a list of those news organizations who ran that account, if you really want it.

    AP claims Jamil and a Sunni elder said the six died after being doused in kerosene. AP’s latest report notes this, but forgets to mention that the elder retracted his claim. It also forgets the mention that officials from the following Iraqi Ministries–Health, Defense and Interior–along with American troops who responded, found no evidence at all such an immolation took place. This in the after-action reports, not that AP would care to publicize that, as it flatly contradicts them. AP also “forgets” that other anonymous residents claimed that the men were never burned. Yep, they don’t have anything to apologize for, at all. Just six claimed murders that apparently never occured.

    Did I say six murders? I meant 24.

    Let us not forget the 18 people, including women and children, who were reported killed in an “inferno” at one of the mosques in that same account. This was a mosque that was never set on fire at all. Malkin has a picture of the interior of the “inferno” mosque from Nov 25. No smoke, no fire. No bodies. “Oopsie.” Nothing to apologize for there, either, I take it?

    Your right Steve, nothing to apologize for at all. Just reporting mass murders that never occurred, and continuing to maintain that lie for now more than two months.

    We don’t just need retractions. We need resignations, starting with that of Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.

    Confederate Yankee (705fe0)

  7. Steve,

    I think your contention is that the AP dropped all references to destroyed mosques once it received confirmation from Jamil Hussein. Perhaps so but this AP article attributes Jamil Hussein with claims of four burned and bombed mosques:

    Police Capt. Jamil Hussein said Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in the burnings of Sunnis carried out by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia, or in subsequent attacks that torched four Sunni mosques and killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same northwest Baghdad area.

    Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein’s account. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes. Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital said the bodies from the clashes and immolations had been taken to the morgue at their facility. They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.

    According to Hussein, the police official, militiamen rampaged through the district, setting fire to several homes in addition to the four mosques that were bombed and burned.

    But I still don’t get your point. What if the AP had originally reported that the Pentagon was destroyed on 9/11, only to learn later that it had been damaged but not destroyed. Does that mean the AP doesn’t owe its clients and readers a correction? According to your logic, it does. What a great job. We should all be journalists if it means we get do-overs like that.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  8. The AP’s non-correction correction (Updated and bumped)…

    Part 47 of my Jamilgate series. Continued from this post. This may be the last post I write about Jamilgate [or not]. What else is there to say? al-AP got caught in a lie and is never going to fess…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  9. Confederate/DRJ:

    Both of you are moving the goalposts. The issue here is purely whether AP must apologize, publish a retraction, or fire people because it initially posted a draft (available only in the archives of Nexis, and not published by any of its clients) that four mosques had been “destroyed.” The issue of whether anyone had been doused in kerosene may well be more important, since that is the story AP stuck with (and other outlets cited them for), but it’s got nothing to do with this post.

    As far as the 9/11 example is concerned, if the AP had initially stated that the Pentagon was “destroyed,” then later posted that a large chunk of the building was destroyed, I doubt anyone would have cared. The damage that did occur to the Pentagon was significant enough without picking nits about what the first draft might have said, and those who would have engaged in a fatwa against the media because the initial report was off must really be questioned about their moral seriousness.

    Steve Smith (1f162a)

  10. Steve,

    I’m not moving the goalposts. The AP released a bylined report that four Sunni mosques were destroyed and that report is, in fact, still posted at an AP client’s website. Furthermore, I think there is a significant difference between a destroyed building and a damaged building, even if the damages were substantial.

    Finally, I object to your statement that discussing these concerns is equivalent to “a fatwa against the media.” Escalating the discussion by using inflammatory rhetoric may be witty but it does not contribute to a respectful dialogue. Of course, maybe that isn’t part of your goal(post).

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  11. Patterico and crew,

    I’m inclined toward seeing AP as owing the world an explanation, but Steve’s comments have got me wondering…

    Exactly how do wire services work? Is it common for them to release breaking news stories that don’t contain 100% accurate info? And then, as sources are double-checked and corroborated, is it common for them to release updated versions which have more accurate info, but without going back and issuing retractions and corrections for the earlier, less accurate version? Is that possibly what’s going on here?

    It seems like it might be a worthwhile exercise for someone to compare how AP is handling this story with how they handled a comparable, non-controversial story. Maybe it’s common for them to not go back and issue retractions and corrections for every story where initial reports turned out to not be totally accurate? Again, just wondering… Patterico, you spend a lot of time critiquing the LA Times so maybe you know how the news biz works in this case.

    Justin (dc3309)

  12. Justin,

    I agree that it would be interesting to hear from a knowledgeable media source. In an earlier thread, when this story first broke, there was a commenter who identified himself as a reporter in Southern California who was concerned about validity of the AP reports. He seemed even-handed and, if he’s still around, I hope he comments.

    I could understand if the AP refused to correct every “mistake” but what if the report had claimed that Shiites rather than Sunnis had been doused with kerosene and burned? Or that it had occurred in Sadr City instead of the Hurriyah neighborhood? Are those differences noteworthy? I submit they would be material differences that require corrections even if many readers wouldn’t know or care whether they were corrected.

    Thus, at a minimum, I submit that there should be a materiality standard for corrections and, to me, claim of destroyed vs. damaged mosques are materially inconsistent and should be corrected, even if few people read the first AP version.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  13. Justin,

    In other words, is the AP somehow exempt from normal standards of journalism, as Steve Smith suggests? Including the journalistic standard of issuing corrections when they report something that is factually wrong?

    No, they are not. Their corrections policy is quite clear:

    When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly and ungrudgingly.

    Steve Smith would rewrite this to say:

    When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly and ungrudgingly. Unless, of course, the mistakes appear only in stories credited to the Associated Press accessible on Nexis. In that case, we can say any damn thing we please — especially if we put the false fact in the mouths of anonymous Sunnis.

    Steve Smith says:

    ” . . .those who would have engaged in a fatwa against the media because the initial report was off must really be questioned about their moral seriousness.”

    Steve, you’re smart enough to realize that the complaint isn’t that the initial report was off. The complaint is that the initial report was inaccurate and the AP has persistently failed to correct it, throwing their own corrections policy into the toilet in the process.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  14. Justin – I don’t mean to imply you disagreed with what I said. I realize that, at this point, you believe an AP correction is appropriate. I just wanted to be clear on my reasoning.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  15. The point I tried to make in the post is that the lefty moronblogs and their ideological brethren in Big Media have a leetle bit of a contradiction to deal with re Jamil Hussein.

    My latest post hopefully makes this point a little more clearly.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  16. I’m not linking these morons out of principle. You can easily find their stupid posts yourself. The name of their moronblog rhymes with the phrase “Madly Ho.” My response to these dunderheads is simple. Uh, ill-informed leftist bloggers? Meet Lexis/Nexis.)

    Yes, we’ve met.

    Ok, let’s get this straight. You found a record of the raw AP feed indexed on Lex-Nex, and this is somehow evidence the story wasn’t posted for 20 minutes and then replaced without having been published in a single news outlet.

    You know what Lexis-Nexis is, right? I’m just asking because you seem pretty positive that you’ve made a major break in the case here.

    Sadly, No! Research Labs (3f81ec)

  17. Shorter Moronblogger #1:

    By calling articles that are archived on Nexis a “raw feed” we can pretend that they aren’t archived online without a correction. Then we can act like the “raw feed” magically disappeared, like the papyrus scrolls in the little tubes in that Da Vinci code book. Wasn’t that a great book? I thought the movie dragged a bit though. Hey — look at this screencap of a dome with a big hole!

    Shorter Moronblogger #2:

    By leaving a comment on this post I am showing my awareness that the AP itself has published a story corroborating Malkin’s evidence that four mosques were not destroyed, and that at least one was only “slightly damaged.” But I won’t tell my readers about that, or ever refer to the contemporaneous photos she received of the mosques. Here, look at this screencap of a dome with a big hole!

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  18. Mr. Research Labs Guy:

    While you’re here, can you explain to us which is the current moonbat line on whether there is an Iraqi cop named Jamil Hussein? Because you seem to be saying that there isn’t — therefore Bob Owens should not reveal his true name (by the way, I agree with you there). But then, didn’t you mock Malkin & Co. for suggesting that no Iraqi cop by that name exists — a suggestion that you now seem to assume is true? Isn’t that a little bit of a contree-diction?

    Could you have your labs research this question?

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  19. I must be missing something but I don’t understand the repeated comments that the AP story of destroyed mosques is “not on the web.” If you mean the AP doesn’t have it on its website, I agree with that, but the AP’s report of destroyed mosques was most definitely released to its media customers and is still “on the web” at several sites.

    Let’s recap. Here’s the AP report that I think we’re talking about:

    Sunnis Say Shiites Burn Their Buildings
    By QAIS AL-BASHIR
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Sunni residents in a volatile northwest Baghdad neighborhood claimed Friday that revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen had destroyed four Sunni mosques, burned homes and killed many people, while the Shiite-dominated police force stood by and did nothing.

    The reports were the most serious allegations of retribution in Baghdad the day after Sunni insurgents killed 215 people and wounded 257 with five car bombs and mortar fire in the capital’s Sadr City Shiite slum.

    Police officials in the region told Associated Press reporters that nothing had happened in the Hurriyah district, a once-mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhood that has increasingly come under the control of the Mahdi Army of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

    The Sunni residents, who would not allow use of their names for fear of retribution, said militiamen were blocking them from entering burned homes to claim the bodies of victims killed in the fires.”

    I’m posting this at 1:35PM EST on 2/2/2007. Right now, this 11/24/2006 report is still posted at the websites of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Las Vegas Sun, the Philadelphia Intelligencer Phillyburbs.com, and Boston’s WHDH7 News. In addition, the report is also present in the worldwide media at the websites of Yahoo’s Asia News, Ireland’s BreakingNews:ie, and Canada’s Ottawa Recorder.

    This AP-bylined report is still up at all these websites and there are probably more I missed. In my view, that alone is a reason why the AP needs to send their clients a correction.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  20. Patterico,

    I was surfing on an unrelated matter and clicked on a post from the site that rhymes with “Madly Ho”. Now I wish I could launder my eyes and brain. They are beneath contempt. The posters and the commenters, both. You are too kind to even acknowledge their existence but then … I have commented before about your tolerance.

    nk (4d4a9d)

  21. DRJ:

    It’s interesting what part of the passage you stressed. One can just as easily post, “Sunni residents in a volatile northwest Baghdad neighborhood claimed Friday that revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen had destroyed four Sunni mosques, burned homes and killed many people, while the Shiite-dominated police force stood by and did nothing.” Unless you are asserting that Sunni residents haven’t ever claimed any such thing, there doesn’t seem to be anything for AP to retract.

    Steve Smith (1f162a)

  22. Steve,

    Patterico addressed your concern in earlier comments and in inserts to your own comments. My own view is that if the AP (or any media source) presents something as a fact, even if it is attributed to someone else, it should correct that fact if it turns out to be wrong. If the AP quoted a particular person and put their statement in quotes, that might be different if the statement had been offered for the fact of being uttered, not for its underlying truthfulness.

    In this article, the AP did not offer this information so we would know what Sunnnis think. It offered it as a fact to show that a particular event occurred. Thus, a correction is in order.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  23. […] Here’s Patterico, once half-sane, but now deeply obsessed with the Communist plot to fluoridate our nation’s drinking water the ‘Jamilgate’ escapade, who thinks we totally won’t notice if he posts something like this: 2/1/2007 AP Owes, But Does Not Give, Correction Filed under: General, Media Bias, Morons — Patterico @ 12:00 am […]

    Sadly, No! » New Innovations In WTF?ery (d83a19)

  24. My own view is that if the AP (or any media source) presents something as a fact, even if it is attributed to someone else, it should correct that fact if it turns out to be wrong.

    What if the President reports something as a fact, and it is attributed to, I don’t know, British intelligence? Should he correct that fact?

    Moops (8fcb37)

  25. Moops,

    Let me know when you are ready for a serious discussion and I’ll be glad to participate.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  26. If somebody could translate that Sadly, No! post into standard English, I’d be surprised.

    [Someone with a lot of patience for cretins should go to their comments and list the *numerous* links DRJ gave to news publications where this magic disappearing wire feed was actually *published*.

    D’OH!!!

    Since DRJ provided the links, and is very patient, I nominate him. The reaction should be interesting. Just don’t expect much honesty from the commenters. My guess: once Gavin realizes that the entire premise of his post is wrong, you’ll get the hordes engaging in a very quick changing of the subject, and squawking about how this is all unimportant anyway.

    Gavin will probably be honest and admit he was wrong, but it will be interesting to see how he tries to word it and still save his pride.

    Given how badly the entire premise of Gavin’s post is eviscerated by DRJ’s links, I might even break my rule and link them tomorrow. — P]

    Jim Treacher (15574e)

  27. I don’t think this obsession with one wire story is particularly serious in the first instance, though I am curious as to whether the AP and the President should be equally judicious about setting the record straight when they err.

    Moops (8fcb37)

  28. Moops,

    We don’t know for sure about Saddam’s WMD but we do know that President Bush wasn’t lying when he addressed this topic in his 2003 State of the Union address. And since you apparently don’t agree with anything I say, I’ll even provide a supporting link to a website recognized as fair and ethical so you don’t have to take my word for it.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  29. Steve Smith keeps making the same point because it hasn’t been addressed. The AP reported claims by Sunni residents the mosques had been destroyed. That’s not reporting the event as a fact, it’s reporting what these Sunni are saying. If the AP reports a Loch Ness monster sighting, is the AP saying it exists?
    Of course, the mosque burnings and the loch ness monster aren’t really comparable, but the point is the AP DID NOT report this as fact. The word “claim” means these were unverified reports, using that word means, quite simply, that the AP was not reporting the substance of these claims as unquestioned fact.
    It’s funny that folk here are still pretending Jamil Hussein doesn’t exist when other wingnut bloggers are threatening to post all his personal details. Pick a lie, guys.
    And, please, patterico and your supporters, educate yourselves about what a raw feed from a newswire is.

    [So if Michelle Malkin says that the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior says there is no Iraqi cop named Jamil Hussein, and the AP later reports that there is, she owes no correction. And Gladly Blow would not mock her for making the statement. And if I report that someone said you blow baby seals for recreation, that’s cool as long as someone really said it. And in the unlikely event that it’s not true, I owe no correction by your logic, because someone really said it. (A lot of people are saying it, actually.)

    As for your claims regarding the magic disappearing raw feed, kindly scroll up to DRJ’s list of seven media outlets that printed the “raw feed” even though it was replaced, vanished, and went poof forever after just 20 minutes. Your moronblogger heroes screwed the pooch . . . again. But hey — look at this screencap of a dome with a big hole!! — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  30. Moops,

    Just in case you don’t have time to read my link, it includes additional links to two instances where senior Bush Administration representatives corrected the record on President Bush’s State of the Union statement about WMD. Thus, while I appreciate the point of your analogy, I think it actually supports my position. The AP should correct the record here.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  31. Before you say it, sure, they reported claims of destruction instead of arson. Put yourselves in those local Iraqis’ shoes. Your local Church has been firebombed, but, while you saw flames in the sky a few blocks away where it is, you can’t get to it right now to see what happened. You hear it’s been bombed, the turret is gone, maybe you assume it was blown up, destroyed even. Then an AP reporter arrives and asks you what happened.
    Or hell, maybe they overstated it for propoganda purposes. If your Church was firebombed, but technically still standing would you get in an argument with a fellow parishioner if they said it was blown up?
    Honestly, you should all be ashamed of trying to hide the reality of what’s happening over there behind semantics.

    [Gotcha. If some Iraqis overstate violence for propaganda purposes, then we shouldn’t expect the AP to do anything but repeat the propaganda. And if the AP learns that the propaganda was an exaggeration, the AP shouldn’t have to correct anything. After all, it was only on a magical disappearing feed that nobody will ever see ever again — except that it’s archived for all eternity on Nexis without correction, and (Gavin’s false statement to the contrary notwithstanding) has appeared in at last seven media outlets on the Web generally, as DRJ documented.

    Nobody is denying that Iraq is chaotic, murderous, and out of control. At least I’m not, and I’ve made this point many times, your unresearched assumption to the contrary notwithstanding. This is about whether the AP has the integrity to admit its mistakes. I care about that issue. As long the mistakes fit your agenda, you apparently don’t. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  32. Brad,

    I have responded to Steve’s point. The AP article is not about what Sunnis think, it’s about a reported event that we are supposed to believe happened.

    Let me give you an example of what I mean: Suppose the AP wrote an article about growing antagonism between Sunnis and Shiites. To demonstrate this antagonism, the AP might point out that Sunnis frequently accuse Shiites of serious atrocities such [destroying mosques, killing innocents, etc.] In other words, on its face, the AP article would not be about what actually occurred but about what people were talking about or thinking. The point of the article would concern public sentiment.

    On the other hand, this AP article was written so that readers believed these events occurred. (If the AP’s reporter believed the events might not have occurred, he should have made that clear in the article.) The point here is that the events were not presented to demonstrate public sentiment, and the article should be corrected if it turns out the events did not occur.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  33. When did anyone claim the raw feed disappeared? You’re adding that to distract from the fact we live in an age where everything is archived online, so there’s no reason to expect that raw feed to vanish. It seems I was wrong that it wasn’t picked up, so there you go. But you’re still ignoring the actual content of the “mistaken” report.
    Even the title reads “Sunnis say”. That’s not reporting it as fact. Just like reporting sightings of bigfoot, ufos, and the loch ness monster aren’t stating the reports as fact. Later reports clarified what happened to these mosques, after more sources became available.
    As for Jamil… oy, vey. http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/213899.php

    And, both that post and comments here fail to note the very AP feed in question says the local residents didn’t give their names for the record out of fear of reprisal. Considering the violence over there, that might be a legitimate concern. Be dubious, fine, but don’t demand the AP apologize for putting a quick report based on unverified claims up when they label the claims as such.

    [I’m not ignoring that point at all. I hate repeating myself, but here goes: it’s like Malkin saying that the MOI reported there is no Iraqi cop named Jamil Hussein. The moronbloggers laughed and pointed over that, when the AP reported the contrary. Gavin put up posts wondering when she’d mention it. But what did she have to correct, by your logic? She correctly reported what the MOI had said. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  34. Brad,

    I agree that rumor played a big role in this story, but I doubt an AP reporter was on the scene.

    [The key issue is: does the AP have the integrity to issue a correction when Nexis archives a story and (Badly Crow’s falsehoods to the contrary notwithstanding) it gets picked up by several news outlets? — P]

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  35. Brad #34: “When did anyone claim the raw feed disappeared?”

    No one said it disappeared but Steve Smith in comment #9 claimed it was a draft and unpublished:

    “The issue here is purely whether AP must apologize, publish a retraction, or fire people because it initially posted a draft (available only in the archives of Nexis, and not published by any of its clients) that four mosques had been “destroyed.””

    My earlier comment was offered to rebut that claim.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  36. I didn’t say he was lying, I said he was wrong. Good of Rice, Tenet, and Fleischer to admit it, however. But the AP has pointed out that the Mosques were not destroyed, just as the Administration acknoweldged that Bush’s statement was incorrect. Patterico apparently wants something more, but it’s hard to see how the administration “explained how it got it wrong,” and, as the article you cited points out, Rice’s attribution of the error to the forged documents doesn’t make sense.

    Moops (8fcb37)

  37. I don’t pretend to know how the AP got its first reports of the events in question, so that’s fair enough. But rumor had to play a large part in the story because of the nature of Iraqi society right now. I’m not denying anyone’s right to be dubious it happened exactly as the Sunnis were reported as claiming, I’m saying that at best it’s misleading to say the AP reported those mosques were destroyed even in the initial report, which is the heart of this whole manufactured controversy. The title reads “Sunnis say…” and then uses the word “claims”. Those words mean the events reported in the raw feed were unverified. The AP did not report these claims as fact. I know I’m being repetitive but I don’t understand what’s so confusing. Patterico is basically demanding the AP apologize for his poor reading comprehension.

    [Your reading comprehension is so bad that you can’t even comprehend the post you’re commenting on, in which I said: “Uh, AP? You also reported that Sunnis had claimed the mosques were destroyed.” That’s an accurate summary of what the article — oh, sorry, the magic disappearing raw feed — actually said. You also can’t comprehend the two responses I have already given you to this very argument. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  38. I’m not demanding any correction from Malkin, though it’d be nice if being wrong were cause enough for y’all to drop it.
    If there’s a mistake in your logic, it’s that you can’t extend it to the AP. If they were correctly reporting what their source told them, and, apparently unlike the military and Iraqi gov’t the AP correctly knew said source existed, even if that source were wrong, as the military and Iraqi gov’t were about the source’s existence, why should the AP apologize for being lied to by a source, even assuming Hussein did lie?

    [Your heroes the moronbloggers sure mocked her for what she’d said. I’m still interested in the moonbat explanation of what, precisely, she got wrong. Care to share? — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  39. The AP is part of the media. Its product is information and it has a vested interest in providing reliable information. I don’t think it’s in the AP’s interest to be known as the publisher of town gossip.

    [Another point the SN crowd is failing to acknowledge: the AP itself now admits in a new article that one of the mosques is only slightly damaged. A little different from “destroyed” — yet the AP won’t acknowledge its mistake.

    By the way, isn’t it just dishonest for Gavin to claim the AP feed was only “up” for 20 minutes? What the hell does “up” mean in that context? It’s “up” on Nexis right now, several weeks later, and it’s “up” on at least seven news outlets’ web pages. What he means is that they sent a new story out 30 (actually 30, not 20) minutes later. That doesn’t mean it’s not “up” on Nexis or on the sites that picked up the original. And it doesn’t excuse them from their obligation to issue a correction. — P]

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  40. One could easily dismiss almost any form of news media as gossip. It’d be wonderful if conditions in Iraq were more conducive to clearer reporting, but there’s that whole violence and destroyed infrastructure problem. Unlike Patterico, I see recognition of the limits of reporting in how the war is generally covered, with qualifiers present to note when certainty is lacking.

    [And you see no need for media to correct the record — even when they *do* have certainty that what they previously reported is wrong.

    Let’s say that righty bloggers report that, *according to a source*, a picture shows John Kerry being snubbed by soldiers. If the source turns out to be wrong, does brad really think the righty bloggers have no obligation to correct the record? Nah. This argument he’s making here is just something he trots out when he’s not bothered by the content of the inaccurate stuff reported — like an overblown tragedy in Iraq. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  41. So, Patterico, by your own admission, you’re demanding the AP apologize for accurately reporting what Sunnis were claiming?

    [By your own admission, you wouldn’t get mad at a right-winger who said a source claimed Kerry was lonely in that picture, and never corrected the record?

    Go tell that to your pals at SN, who gloated about that quite a bit. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  42. She picked the wrong source to believe, Patterico. At the very least that doesn’t speak well of her journalistic instincts. The AP can fire a bad reporter, Malkin can’t fire herself.

    brad (a55f2c)

  43. While youre here, can you explain to us which is the current moonbat line on whether there is an Iraqi cop named Jamil Hussein? Because you seem to be saying that there isnt therefore Bob Owens should not reveal his true name (by the way, I agree with you there).

    I believe the current line of speculation is that Bob Owens has a name which is quite similar to ‘Jamil Hussein.’ You should email Owens and ask what it is.

    [I know it, and it’s nothing like Hussein. I notice you dodged the question. Predictable, given that you guys mocked Malkin for reporting the MOI’s denial, which now appears credible, though you won’t admit that. — P]

    But then, didnt you mock Malkin & Co. for suggesting that no Iraqi cop by that name exists a suggestion that you now seem to assume is true? Isnt that a little bit of a contree-diction?

    Malkin & Co. were saying that no such source existed, and insinuating that the AP simply invented him as a way to publish negative stories about Iraq — a somewhat different claim.

    [Linkee please. After your false claims about the raw feed being “up” for 20 minutes and not being picked up by any outlet, I’m not taking your word for it. I recall her saying the MOI said there is no Iraqi cop by the name of Jamil Hussein. Which they did say. And not incidentally, they may have been right. — P]

    Sadly, No! Research Labs (3f81ec)

  44. When sources turn out to be wrong or made up news organizations tend to go to great lengths to admit the fools they’ve made of themselves. I’m sure the folk here can do better than I at remembering big eff ups by the MSM.
    But when, apparently, the existence of Jamil Hussein is still up for debate, isn’t it a bit early to say his reports were wrong?
    Also, at least in the case of the mosques Hussein, while confirming the more arguable claim of indifference by Iraqi forces, was the one who, presumably, provided the detail that led to the AP not repeating the claim the mosques were destroyed. So, maybe now you want to claim they were destroyed? Can’t take Jamil at his word, can we?

    brad (a55f2c)

  45. My faith in the LA District Attorney’s office is restored.

    O. J. Simpson (972e32)

  46. No Patterico. I don’t particularly care about the whole Kerry thing. If anything, I’m glad y’all kept smacking him around and helped keep him out of the field for 08. I loathe Kerry for wasting the chance the Dems had to remove Bush.

    [Your answer doesn’t really address the point I was making. I’ll try a different way. You and I have an argument about whether Gitmo has any innocent detainees. Then Bush gives a speech saying that only real terrorists are at Gitmo. I publish a triumphant blog post saying: Contrary to what brad said, Bush says only real terrorists are at Gitmo. Later, indisputable evidence emerges to show you were right: many innocents are being held there. I breathe not a word of it. You demand a correction, and I say that every word I said was correct. Bush did say that. So what if I gave readers a wholly false impression? I told the literal truth, and by brad’s standards, that’s apparently good enough. Bizarre — but that’s your argument. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  47. Just thought I’d mention that Malkin’s internment book has been completely demolished by two people who can actually research and write history. Yet she still hawks it.

    If we accept the premise that the entire AP operation is somehow completely destroyed by reporting that someone claimed something, Malkin should probably be in jail.

    [This comment is a treasure trove of fallacies. Strawman? Check. Appeal to authority? Check. Tu quoque? Check. Well done, and with such brevity! — ]

    Righteous Bubba (47bf68)

  48. Patterico, without trying to be funny about anything, I’m going to highlight some of the stuff we don’t seem to know yet:

    – Did the AP alert clients to the changed text (from ‘destroyed’ to ‘burned and blown up’) in later versions of the story? This is often how the AP ‘corrects’ itself in its feed to its clients, with a highlighted note at the top of the corrected version of a story that comes over the wire, alerting the client about the change(s). What we don’t know is if the AP did this on the mosque story vis-a-vis the word ‘destroyed’. This is an important question, because the AP could correct itself thusly but a client could still run the incorrect copy due to deadlines or simply missing the correction.

    – What are the guidelines re: corrections in the contracts between the AP and clients? It seems highly unlikely that there is a provision stating the client MUST run a correction to AP copy if the AP demands it. But there might be. Furthermore, is the AP obliged to ‘correct’ itself beyond sending an updated, corrected version of a story to its clients? Does it then become the client’s obligation to issue a correction if the client runs an incorrect version for whatever reason?

    Now let’s try to answer those questions as best we can. A lot has been said about the AP’s own stated policy about corrections. Let’s look at it again:

    When we’re wrong, we must say so as soon as possible. When we make a correction in the current cycle, we point out the error and its fix in the editor’s note. A correction must always be labeled a correction in the editor’s note. We do not use euphemisms such as “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.

    Note the process. Corrections in the “current cycle” – which is the case with the mosque story, as the text was changed just 30 minutes after the first version went out – happen in “the editor’s note”. That means that the whole process of AP corrections that occur in the “current cycle” happens over the wire, out of the sight of the public. I don’t know if those editor’s note corrections even appear on Lex-Nex. I suspect they don’t, but would like to hear from anyone in the know.

    A corrective corrects a mistake from a previous cycle. The AP asks papers or broadcasters that used the erroneous information to use the corrective, too.

    This part of the policy concerns correcting mistakes from non-current cycles. It might not apply to this case, since the AP seems to have changed the mosque story within the same cycle that it originated. However, note that the AP “asks” clients to issue “correctives” on such errors … clearly implying that it’s up to the client to comply or not.

    D. Aristophanes (589a70)

  49. Patterico,

    I just noticed your earlier comment/insert suggesting I wander over to Sadly No and post the “destroyed” links. I’ll do my best but I’m not sure how long I’ll last.

    [It’s a cruel thing to ask of a good and patient man. But I am going to enjoy watching this. Try to persist. — P]

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  50. Errr, but in your good guys bad guys system, what did my side originally do wrong again?
    Let’s see. The AP used Hussein as a source in a number of stories. He was not yet a source in the report in question, however, and in fact quite possibly provided the details that led to the non-repetition of the claim of destruction. (The word wasn’t removed, the claim was not repeated.) Anyways, Jamil isn’t part of it.
    So it’s the AP reporting that Sunnis “say” and “claim” that mosques that in reality were attacked were destroyed that you want to equate with a ‘hypothetical’ claim by Bush that only guilty folk go to Gitmo. Problem is, the mosques were attacked, and at least in the case Malkin herself provided photographic documentation of, visibly damaged. There were more than, say, 2 innocent men at Gitmo. It wouldn’t be a question of Bush understating the magnitude of the problem like the Sunnis overstating the damage to the mosque, at least arguably.
    The gist of our disagreement is whether the AP reported the destruction of these mosques as fact. I simply don’t agree they did, and thus don’t see them needing to apologize for an accurate report of unverified claims, which they noted were such, that was clarified 20 or 30 minutes later once more info became available. A quick update from the AP in the breaking news column of the online edition of a newspaper is a lot different from a presidential address to the nation. If you pay attention to the feeds for even a couple hours you realize almost everything they run will be updated, sometimes more than once.

    [When you respond to an analogy by arguing that it’s not an equivalence, you appear to misunderstand the point, or to be trying to evade it. — P]

    brad (a55f2c)

  51. … at least in *one* case Malkin herself….
    typo

    brad (a55f2c)

  52. [This comment is a treasure trove of fallacies. Strawman? Check. Appeal to authority? Check. Tu quoque? Check. Well done, and with such brevity! — ]

    Patty, your whole argument is appeal to authority.

    In any case, Malkin’s proven herself to be as wildly inaccurate as you’re in a tizzy about over the Hussein business. If you gave a shit about accuracy you’d be booting her ass instead of sniffing it.

    Righteous Bubba (47bf68)

  53. I’m out, so last reply, but I’m not dodging your point so much as not agreeing it’s applicable. Had the AP relied on the Sunnis to report as fact that the mosques were destroyed and they had instead been relatively unharmed, as would be needed to fit your case, then I’d agree the AP should issue a correction. I don’t agree they did, so I don’t think they need to.

    brad (a55f2c)

  54. This is really more about Michelle Malkin’s honor and blogger payback than a wire service that didn’t own up to its responsibilities. And all in the atmosphere of an 8th grade cafeteria.

    Even if the AP, say, had included a line toward the end of the November 24 “Re-Send,” acknowledging “early reports based on witness statements indicated the mosques had been destroyed,” bloggers would be indignant that it appeared “after the jump.” Nothing is quite enough.

    My guess? It wasn’t altogether clear how badly damaged the buildings were as follow-up reporting came back in conflict. AP split the difference and took the one safe out: the mosques had been “damaged,” “burned” or “attacked.” That, at least, was unchallenged. In any case, the AP clients would have all gotten a top-line, explaining what had been “fixed” at the time the second draft was fed. There were probably other alterations. Little more is expected in same-cycle, rolling coverage. Messes are cleaned up later if they’re huge.

    You want a huge mess? Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: the heart-of-darkness tale about rooftop people shooting at (can you believe the depravity?) rescue helicopters wound up discredited. Once rescued, individuals who had been stranded on rooftops explained they were firing in the air to attract attention. Desperate, certainly. Foolish, perhaps. But hardly malicious.

    You want a really huge mess? First editions of the New York Times and USA Today heralding the “MIRACLE!” of *all* Sago miners being found alive last year, save one. The opposite was the case as we – and angry family members – soon realized. The miners were all found dead except for one. The “miracle” had come second-hand from loved ones attending a briefing at a church. The NYT didn’t even bother sourcing its 01/04/06 headline, which read:

    “12 Miners Found Alive 41 Hours After Explosion”

    To this day, deep in the mainframe of a few AP clients will be the top-line the wire service sent out the November night it re-filed to change the “mosques desroyed” error. And I concede it was more an “error” than an update.

    But this isn’t so much about AP’s standards and practices any more.

    Ed (b773e0)

  55. Ed,

    To me, this story is and always has been about the AP’s standards and practices. If the AP inadvertently published misinformation or, worse yet, if it published rumor as fact, then it should issue a correction.

    This story is important because it was the precursor to the burning Sunnis story, and that was the point when the media labeled Iraq a civil war. It also perpetuated the idea that Iraqis can’t depend on the Iraqi police. That may be true or it may not, but this article provides questionable support for that belief.

    I want to know if this story is true or if it’s built on a house of cards. That won’t make Iraq any less dangerous or less of a problem. However, it’s patently unfair to shout this story from the rooftops in order to dramatically impact public perceptions, but to remain silent when the true facts reveal something far less dramatic.

    DRJ (e69ca7)

  56. This story is important because it was the precursor to the burning Sunnis story, and that was the point when the media labeled Iraq a civil war.

    This is an assertion that I haven’t seen any basis for. There is a lot more evidence that Iraq is in a civil war than the burning Sunnis story. The recent NIE report says the term “civil war” could be an accurate way to describe the violence as well:

    The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.

    Brad R. (4dd547)


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