Patterico's Pontifications


E&P Fluff Piece on Kathleen Carroll Praises Her Diligence in Seeking Corrections — And the Error Regarding the Four “Destroyed” Mosques? Never Happened!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:06 am

Editor & Publisher has a fluff piece on AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll. The opening is typical of the obsequious tone:

Her day usually starts around 5:30 a.m. in her Montclair, N.J., home, when she consults her Treo to check news from Europe and Asia while many neighbors are still sleeping. After a few quick calls to foreign news bureaus, she heads off to catch the train. It’s unlikely that any of her fellow passengers on NJ Transit’s Midtown Direct to New York give her more than a passing glance as they peruse the morning papers, tune out with their headphones, or utilize hand-held Web connections. After all, among the commuters from North Jersey to Manhattan, the 51-year-old suburban mother resembles any other fare-paying customer.

But, truth be told, Kathleen Carroll likely has more influence over the content of their news feeds than anyone else in the country.

Get this. The piece praises her diligence in seeking corrections:

Her push for accuracy also led to the creation of a correction database that tracks corrections by geography, cause, and other criteria, and is constantly analyzed for ways to improve and prevent errors. “We look at where this is happening and why,” she explains. “Is editing too aggressive? Is information not coming in too clearly?”

Despite this super-diligence, there’s one correction that never quite made it: the story, reprinted in several news outlets in different places around the globe, that said:

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.

Not only has Michelle Malkin brought back evidence that four mosques were not “destroyed.” One had a dome that could fairly be described as “destroyed.” The other three had varying degrees of much less serious damage. The AP itself said in a separate story that at least one of the mosques had only “slight damage.” What the AP didn’t do was acknowledge that it had said something completely different earlier. That’s the essence of a correction: admitting error — and AP never did.

E&P has also been eerily silent about the AP‘s error on the mosques, and manages not to bring it up in the fluff piece on Carroll — even as E&P strives (beginning at paragraph 54) to portray the Jam(a)il Hussein controversy as a victory for AP:

At a time when media criticism is skyrocketing, including the growing microscope on AP, Carroll says it is important to respond to complaints and mistakes, but not in a way that is overly reactive. “When you get a lot of eyes on something, you are going to find flaws,” she says. “There are a lot of thoughtful people out there who are seeing and consuming news, and there are a lot of good voices to have in the conversation.” Still, she stresses some readers with critiques have a clear agenda: “There is a whole group of people who are pissed off, and are not going to like what I say.”

Among them is probably syndicated columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin, who led a drive challenging AP’s repeated use of a police source in Iraq, Jamil Hussein, who had provided information on several stories. In late 2006, Malkin and other conservative critics challenged Hussein’s existence and publicly ripped AP, even visiting Iraq to claim Hussein’s information was false. “A barometer can be if it’s a question of fact or of our motive,” Carroll says about the Hussein dispute. “We always take questions of fact seriously.”

What is that? To “claim” Hussein’s information was false? How about: to prove that AP‘s claim about the mosques was false?

Meanwhile, Eric Boehlert has another self-righteous screed about warbloggers and their alleged failure to correct errors. I still don’t believe he has corrected his error from his last column about warbloggers’ alleged failure to correct errors.

You gotta love this crowd.

27 Responses to “E&P Fluff Piece on Kathleen Carroll Praises Her Diligence in Seeking Corrections — And the Error Regarding the Four “Destroyed” Mosques? Never Happened!”

  1. Boehlert should come clean.

    After all, McCain
    revised his happy horseshit about his little stroll in the Green Zone.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  2. When I first looked at the disingenuous reaction of AP, I really couldn’t understand why they would not just, simply, stick to their Code of Ethics. One of the AP’s customers, Investor’s Business Daily went a bit further to ask why AP should be trusted. Until they come clean, stick to their Code of Ethics and do the things they say they *will* do in these cases, AP will continue to have a credibility problem.

    ajacksonian (87eccd)

  3. The U.S. and Iraqi governments flat-out lied about whether Hussein existed, then reversed themselves with no explanation.

    And the AP has given up much of its presumption of being trustworthy in the last year.

    steve (d87056)

  4. If journalists were cops, the LA DogCatcher would demand prosecution, termination, and reform. Imagine Rafael Perez or David Mack (Rampart) making this retraction:

    “Last week we reported that Javier Ovando pointed a firearm at us when we shot him. After careful consideration it appears that we actually shot him before planting a gun on him. We regret any misunderstanding.”

    Clark Baker (4c2767)

  5. What are you going to do next, link to the video at M. Malkin’s place of the mosque with four walls, and the top of the dome blown off!!?.
    And the title reads: “Still standing”
    Still hilarious.

    If only you went after Fox this much.

    AF (c319c8)

  6. AF,

    I’m sorry. Did I not mention that in the post?

    Oh yes — I did.

    Were four mosques destroyed, AF? Was the AP right?

    Do you care, if the answer doesn’t support a leftist agenda?

    Patterico (f2eb3d)

  7. The FIREBOMBED mosques weren’t destroyed, so naturally they are back in full use by their communities, right?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  8. When a mosque is destroyed an inch is taken off the road to Hell. That’s sarcasm, LA. One good extreme deserves another.

    nk (a3cd81)

  9. Do Malkin and Patterico really believe all of the shit they sling? I love when they come out fighting over something like the firebombed mosques not being “destroyed.” It reveals them for the “unhinged” people they really are.

    I can’t imagine the demons they must be fighting internally over their advocacy for the Iraq misadventure. “It was just a minor firebombing. Freedom is on the march in Iraq!”

    Speaking of which…

    Moqtada al-Sadr’s change of policy this weekend wherein he has instructed his militias to resume attacking American forces… That’s a sign that “the surge is working,” right?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  10. TLA, I’ll agree with you the moment it works…

    I’ll advise you not hold your breath, because I highly doubt it will do anything.

    The bombs are still going off killing non-americans.

    These people just want to kill as many as they can. al-Sadr’s statement is just a form of spin… “Well, I tried to stop them…”

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  11. Well, not all our enemies are like our left. Some enemies need to be killed to believe they have been defeated.

    nk (a3cd81)

  12. LA, a building can be “firebombed” and suffer no worse than a couple hundred dollars of superficial damage easily fixed with paint and a little basic carpentry.

    “Destroyed” MEANS (not implies, MEANS) something else. The AP isn’t supposed to be anybody’s ideological bitch, they are supposed to be a news service for whom the difference between something suffering damage vs. something being destroyed isn’t trivial.

    The AP puts out corrections when they mispell someone’s name, but they can’t correct this?

    The only question is if this damages or destroys their credibility.

    Rich Horton (8018ee)

  13. Doesn’t it shame you as an American, LA, that some fat, woman-hater who wipes his behind with his left hand is not willing to give up and you are?

    nk (a3cd81)

  14. NK

    LA would have to be proud to be an American before he could feel shame

    And he has already admitted he considers patriotism as sign of mental illness.

    Darleen (187edc)

  15. Then I must be bug-fuck nuts, Darleen…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  16. Well, Scott, then so am I

    but that’s better than LA…who is an evoluntionary dead end.

    Darleen (187edc)

  17. “Were four mosques destroyed, AF? Was the AP right?”
    Is there something more important we can discuss?
    Is Michelle Magalong’s post now any less absurd now than it was then?

    As far as I can remember, there hasn’t been a single plea for people to enlist in the armed services from a prominent figure since this began. It isn’t simply that Operation Yellow Elephant was a failure, it’s that they didn’t try. We’re paying record amounts in retention bonuses (not something I have a problem with), and now extending troop deployment times from one year to 15 months.

    But, no patriotic call to service. Not even from St. McCain of Arabia.


    Meanwhile Fox spews bullshit as ever. You ever call Fox on their lies?
    I didn’t think so.

    AF (c319c8)

  18. Since my last comment may not show up:
    on the general subject of Iraq, try this,

    AF (c319c8)

  19. Geez, Rich, you just destroyed The Liberal Avenger, by his own metric.

    Good on ya, mate!

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  20. Oh, and y’ll realize that there is no Iraqi police officer AP contact by the name of Jamil Hussein, right?

    Just a guy with a different name who says he isn’t the AP’s source.

    Fake but accurate, I suppose.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  21. “Just a guy with a different name who says he isn’t the AP’s source.”
    That would be Jamal Gholaiem Hussein, who faced arrest for being a source.

    From the 7 day period around the events in question:

    Mosul — Police said they recovered 14 bodies, including three women, in different areas of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. [November 22]
    Baghdad — Up to six car bombs killed 133 people in a Shi’ite militia stronghold in Baghdad and a further 201 people were wounded, police said. [November 23]
    Baghdad — Baghdad police recovered 30 unidentified bodies around the capital in the 24 hours to late Friday, an Interior Ministry source said. [November 24]
    Baghdad — Baghdad police retrieved 30 bodies of victims of violence on Friday and 17 on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said. [November 25]
    Baquba — Police in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, found the bodies of 25 people, including seven teenagers blindfolded and each with a single gunshot wound to the head, in various parts of Baquba in the past 24 hours, police said. [November 26]
    Baghdad — Baghdad police retrieved 39 bodies in the 24 hours to Monday evening. [November 27]

    And from today.
    Bombing Hits Parliament in Baghdad

    Malkin and her compadres are trying to accomplish one thing, and one thing only: They want to staunch the flow of images back to America of President Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq. With public opinion turning against the war, the demonization of the news orgs represents a desperate and flailing last-ditch effort to discredit the people bringing the awful carnage of the war to American audiences.

    Follow the link for context.

    AF (c319c8)

  22. AF et al;

    They want you to focus on the gnat turd buried in the flyshit. The BIG PICTURE must be avoided, at all costs.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  23. Patterico,

    Don’t get too worked up this puff piece. I spent 40 years on the business side of newpapers and am pretty familiar with stories like this and why they appear in E&P. They are not always what they seem to be.

    Many are written at the behest of the subject when they are in deep doodoo with their employer. These stories are often designed to assist the subject in either retaining his/her job or burnishing resumes for an imminent job search. In one case I am familiar with, the announcement of a newspaper executive’s firing was published the week following an incredibly egotistical story on the individual.

    Make no mistake, Kathleen Carroll made some terrible mistakes: First as joint spokesperson for the three photo news services providing coverage of the Lebanese/Israeli conflict and secondly for defending the “Burning Sunnis/Four Destroyed Mosques” story. Her demeaning attitude to her critics in both instances was ill advised, especially when the facts supported her critics. More importantly she created a blogstorm that reached all the way to the AP board members.

    I would guess the latter story, which involved a very questionable source, might have warranted an internal investigation. As we haven’t seen a byline from this source since he was challanged, Ms. Carroll might be in some trouble over her hiring and vetting of local stringers.

    Again, things are not always what they seem to be.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  24. That would be Jamal Gholaiem Hussein, who faced arrest for being a source.

    No, AF, there’s no Hussien in his name. There is no Iraqi police officer named Jamal Gholaiem Hussein, and no person with any such identity has ever been confirmed. There’s is only AP’s claim that he exists.

    Jamil Ghdaab Ghulaim exists. And he insists he’s not the AP’s source. And there’s still no evidence or corroboration of the Burning Six incident. Nor were there 4 destroyed mosques as reported by “Jamil Hussein”

    Those are facts. Spin them all you like, but there they are. Facts.

    And from today.
    Bombing Hits Parliament in Baghdad

    al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for that. Think we ought to just run away and let them have the place?

    You can take a crack at that question on the big picture too, semanticleo.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  25. They want to staunch the flow of images back to America of President Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq.

    Which is why Malkin and Preston went over there and took all that video. Like Bill Roggio, Bill Ardolino, Michael Yon and others went and took all those pictures…


    Pablo (08e1e8)

  26. Maybe muslims should flush all their NEWSWEEKS

    krazy kagu (10add8)

  27. Jamil Hussein – the Arabic version of ‘Nautimus Maximus’?

    Adriane (0df404)

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