The AP Reporting Gets Worse


Notice any changes to the latest AP report on violence in Iraq after my Jamil Hussein series? Lets take this paragraph by paragraph:

Sectarian attacks also continued Friday in Baghdad, with at least 12 Iraqis killed and a Sunni Arab mosque damaged in Baghdad, despite a weekly four-hour vehicle ban aimed at preventing suicide car bombers during Friday prayers.

No source identified

Gunmen also kidnapped the Sunni head of one of Iraq’s leading soccer clubs on Thursday and, in separate abductions Friday, two Iraqi women, ages 17 and 20.

No source identified

In other violence, men armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades drove into a mostly Sunni Arab section of west Baghdad Friday afternoon and opened fire on a small mosque, a police officer said. The grenades set fire to holy books inside the one-story al-Quds Sunni mosque, which was empty at the time. Neighbors opened fire on the attackers, who fled, the officer said. No casualties were reported.

A unnamed “police officer”….hmmmm

In Sadiyah, a primarily Sunni area of southwestern Baghdad, a Shiite man was killed early Friday and six relatives were wounded in twin bombings – one that drew them outside their house and a second that exploded near them outside, another police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared for his security.

I have a feeling most of their “police officer” sources will be staying anonymous due to this reason. Pretty convenient wouldn’t you say?

Later, bomb attacks in three areas of the capital killed six Iraqis and wounded 39, police said.

North of Baghdad, mortar rounds killed three civilians and wounded 14 in a village near Muqdadiya, and a suicide bomber targeting an American convoy killed two civilians and wounded three, in the city of Kirkuk, police said.

So lets tally this.

12 killed, 62 wounded, 2 abducted, and one mosque damaged.

And how do we know all this? Well because the AP said so, thats why! No sourced identified. No pictures taken. Yup, some bang-up reporting going on over there.

The use, or should I say non-use, of names wouldn’t be because of a certain Jamil Hussein would it?

UPDATE 12/02/06 0900hrs PST

Apparently the AP has changed the story I linked to but I found the original version here.

There is a new story out with more unnamed sources and some names that are on the suspect list:

Three parked car bombs exploded in central Baghdad on Saturday near a predominantly Shiite area packed with vendors, killing at least 43 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The bombs were about 100 yards apart in the busy al-Sadriyah shopping district and exploded nearly simultaneously, according to police Lt. Ali Muhsin. At least 10 other parked vehicles were destroyed in the area, where vendors sell fruit, vegetables and other items such as soap.

Muhsin and hospital officials said 43 people were killed and 91 were wounded.

The blast, which sent huge clouds of black smoke rising into the sky, was in a popular area with narrow alleys that made it difficult for rescue vehicles to reach the scene. AP Television News footage showed a pickup truck carrying bodies to the hospital.

The attack came more than a week after a Nov. 23 bombing and mortar attack killed 215 people and wounded more than 200 in the Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad, stoking sectarian tensions.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, gunmen attacked the main gate of Yarmouk Hospital, killing one policeman and wounding three, and the bodies of 12 people who had been handcuffed and shot to death were found by police, they said.

[…]But attacks by suspected insurgents continued outside Baqouba. Drive-by shootings in two nearby towns killed two civilians and wounded five, police said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern for their own security.

[…]A roadside bomb also hit a police patrol in Youssifiyah, 12 miles south of Iraq’s capital, killing one policeman and wounding six, police 1st Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said.

Then we have a couple new names:

Elsewhere, a truck driving at high speed slammed into a bus stop in al-Wahada, 22 miles south of Baghdad, killing about 20 people waiting for buses to the capital and wounding 15, police said.

Police Lt. Muhammed Al-Shemari said the crash did not appear to be accidental because the truck, an empty fuel tanker, had no obvious mechanical problems.

The driver fled the overturned truck but was caught by witnesses and turned over to police, Al-Shemari said. Other witnesses found a body in the vehicle’s cabin, he said.

Another police officer said the driver blamed brake failure. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the probe.

[…]Farther to the south, U.S. forces killed an insurgent who was caught planting a roadside bomb on a major highway about 40 miles south of Baghdad, said police Capt. Muthanna Khalid said.

So a majority of the violence reported today is from sources already suspected of being frauds by the Iraqi government. And the public has no idea, they just swallow it whole.

Apparently the AP has changed the story I linked to but I found the original version here.


Ray Robison has uncovered some evidence that Jamil Hussein and even Lt. Thaer Mahmoud may be Al-Jazeera stringers:

Bloggers and news organizations all over the country are literally asking the question “Who is Jamil Hussein?” Well maybe I can shed a little light on the sources in question. I have been investigating Hussein and some other “unofficial spokesman” named by CENTCOM. The misreporting of one incident may be the least of the Associated Press’s worries. It appears very much like the AP is working with al Jazeera.

I found two articles here and here both dated in March of 2006. Both of these al Jazeera articles use Jamil Hussein as a source. Curt has searched the AP articles from Iraq and it appears that Jamil Hussein first shows up in the AP articles in April of 2006. For whatever reason, the Captain was an al Jazeera source and switched to being an AP source within weeks.

It gets deeper. I investigated a man named Lt. Thaer Mahmoud. While searching for background on him I came across two articles, one from the AP another from al Jazeera posted a week later. What is interesting is that neither article is attributed to a writer, at least as viewed on the respected websites. But when you read these stories, it is clear that they are almost point for point the exact same:


11 killed (in the title)

Bomb at hospital (source Thaer Mahmoud)

Audacious attack on security firm

Al Jazzera:

11 killed (in the title)

Bomb at hospital (source Thaer Mahmoud)

Audacious attack on security firm

There are many more similar elements but I believe that illustrates they are the same story. I think it is reasonable to conclude that either al Jazeera reprinted the AP story (with or without permission) or they are employing the same writer, maybe a freelance local journalist known as a stringer. So which is it?

Al Jazeera runs the story with cosmetic writing changes, kind of like a writer might change the story just enough for it to be considered unique reporting for a separate news organization. If al Jazeera was carrying the AP article legally, why make the changes at all? Would they really plagiarize an entire article? Unlikely, they really wouldn’t need to after all. Of the two I am sure they have more sources, quality aside. It looks very much like this unidentified writer has written two articles from the same set of notes for two different news agencies.

Considering that al Jazeera used Jamil Hussein as a source and he subsequently started sourcing for the AP (no more mentions on al Jazeera after working with the AP) and considering that a writer appears to be submitting essentially the same stories to both the AP and al Jazeera, one has to wonder, what exactly is the relationship between them?

Go read the rest. I know most of you won’t be shocked by these revelations. Wonder what the AP’s response would be to the fact that their stringers also report to Al-Jazeera?

More of the “We stand by our story” crapola I’m sure.

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First look I’ve had at your new template; I like it. I’ll link to your post in a few.

That’s not news, that’s gossip.

Sure is Book. Didn’t take the AP long to get back to their old tricks huh?

Not even gossip, really, just rumor.

Do notice that the reporter doesn’t really tell what they saw at the scene, only what one other has seen. That doesn’t even come close to gossip, at that point. So, when will these reporters actually show up on the scene and start this thing known as ‘reporting’?

Yes, a lovely AP television camera crew seeing bodies taken away in a truck… did they happen to show the rest of the area? All that lovely carnage that the camera can linger over? I really don’t know as, after Lebanon, solo reporters in areas where ‘battle’ has gone on are highly suspect. I will wait for the Ministry to actually hand out facts and figures at this point. AP has sunk to al-Reuters, NYT and WaPo depths… and none of their hulls will take much more at those depths.

Perhaps its time to stop bothering with AP since they seem to show no intentions of reforming their process, and move on to the next step? Political pressure.

Sure, keep exposing their lies and all, but that alone can’t be the endgame. They’re not going to change without outside pressure.

Maybe if congressmen started receiving thousands of communications from constituents concerned about the credibility of media reporting and how its impacting policy and decision making within the government, etc…

Flamming muslims story so soon after the doctored photos?
How can the other tabloids ever hope to compete with the
“AP Inquirer”?

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