Brad from Sadly, No! says to me:
I said that the AP should have run a correction of its initial report, since the language didn’t accurately describe what actually happened. I don’t know what more you want me to say about it. Oh wait, yes I do. You want me to admit that the AP is involved in helping the terrorists.
Oooooooh! The conservative boogeyman thinks the AP is in league with the terrorists! Ooooooooh!
Except, of course, that I don’t — as a cursory search of my site reveals. For example, here’s my post from January 5:
You’d have to be crazy to think that there is a widespread conspiracy of AP reporters to help the enemy. Most of them are out there doing a dangerous job. I don’t always think the information is reliable, which is in part a function of the nature of Iraq in general . . . but we should recognize the sacrifice they are making to try to tell us what’s going on.
Meanwhile, Brad’s howling pack of monkey-commenters shrieks that folks like me are simply trying to hide the fact that things are bad in Iraq. A guy calling himself “fridgemagnet” is typical: “This has never been anything except a tactic to distract attention from the actual events.” I have quoted Allah’s take on this before, but in light of the monkey-shrieks, maybe it’s worth the effort to quote it again, with my emphasis:
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.
. . . . 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.
That is right on the money. Every word of it. [UPDATE: OK, maybe there is one word I disagree with: the AP‘s “anti-American” bias. I would use the word “anti-war” and not “anti-American.”] As I said before:
I completely agree with Allah’s take on this. Things in Iraq are bad. In fact, in some ways, things may be worse than many realize, largely due to our decision to repeat the failures of the end of the Vietnam war. Nobody responsible is saying everything is great there, and the lefties who claim that we are, are liars. Pure and simple.
That, Sadly No! commenters, means you.
Reinforcing the point, I said of the Burning Six story in this post:
[I]s it really that hard to imagine such an atrocity in the vicinity of Baghdad nowadays? The answer is, of course, a resounding “no.”
It’s so very much fun to paint the other side with a broad brush. For Brad and his commenters, the fun outweighs any need to be accurate.
P.S. And yes: knowing what we know now, I think the war was a mistake.
Also, it’s probably not constructive for me to describe Brad’s comments as a lack of concern for accuracy. I have contempt for a lot of the commenters at Sadly, No!, many of whom generally treat any opposing point of view, however politely expressed, with disdain and profanity. They did it to DRJ yesterday, and are doing it to Bradley J. Fikes today. It’s embarrassing. But Brad and Gavin are talented writers and have some degree of intellectual honesty. It’s probably worth acknowledging that. It’s not true of all the posters there, but it is true of those two.