Eason “Saddam appeaser” Jordan says:
If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it – and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly.
And the AP responds with a dismissive wave of the hand:
Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor, told E&P today that she had not read Jordan’s latest item, posted Monday, and likely would not.
(H/t Armed Liberal; emphasis mine.)
This attitude is quite similar to that expressed by humor columnist Joel Stein in today’s L.A. Times (h/t ada):
DON”T E-MAIL me. . . . I don’t want to talk to you; I want to talk at you.
. . . .
I get that you have opinions you want to share. That’s great. You’re the Person of the Year. I just don’t have any interest in them.
. . . .
A lot of e-mail screeds argue that, in return for the privilege of broadcasting my opinion, I have the responsibility to listen to you. I don’t. No more than you have a responsibility to read me. I’m not an elected servant. I’m an arrogant, solipsistic, attention-needy freak who pretends to have an opinion about everything. I don’t have time to listen to you. I barely have time to listen to me.
Heh. That sums up the attitude of the AP‘s Kathleen Carroll towards Eason Jordan and other critics of the Jam(a)il Hussein stories.
The difference is, I’m pretty sure that Joel Stein is kidding. Kathleen Carroll isn’t.
If Carroll were inclined to listen to her critics, she might want to check out Bob Owens’s attempt to corroborate the events described in the 40 of the 60 Jam(a)il Hussein stories. After doing the grunt work, he concluded:
I was completely unable to find a definitive corroborating account of any of Jamil Hussein’s accounts, anywhere.
Owens’s work is not definitive, as he readily admits. His limitations include a lack of access to Lexis/Nexis, and a lack of fluency in foreign languages that limits his search to English-language stories. But his research is likely to be a springboard for further research by people who are not so limited.
Remember how Eric Boehlert said:
Warbloggers also make a big deal that I didn’t mention that the AP has used Jamil Hussein as a source for approximately 60 articles, which proves they’re not obsessed over a single story, but think it represents a wider, systemic problem. But warbloggers have had a month to dissect those 60 articles that quote Hussein and, as far as I can tell, they haven’t found a mountain of factual errors in any of them.
As Boehlert phrases it, his claim is still true . . . but the fact that Owens was unable to find definitive corroboration for a single one of the 40 stories he looked at should be a cause for concern for the AP — that is, if they cared at all what their critics say.
Ms. Carroll, I’ve got “news” for you: this is not going away. The bunker mentality is not going to work.
P.S. While I want to know more about Jam(a)il Hussein, I continue to believe that it is a mistake to focus on his “existence” to the exclusion of focusing on the other problems with the AP story. I am primarily concerned with the fact that the initial AP story on the “burning six” reported that four mosques were burned. The AP later dialed that back to one mosque, but never admitted error. I’d like to see pictures of those mosques — a possibility that Armed Liberal has dangled in front of us for days. Pictures like that would be a hard fact that we could compare to Jam(a)il Hussein’s story — and if they contradict him, then Owens’s lack of corroboration for 40 other stories takes on new significance.