- Nov 22, 2003
Does AP stand for Al-Qaeda Propaganda?
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald City Editor
Sunday, September 24, 2006 - Updated: 08:33 AM EST
The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over.
It is not only in the disturbing matter of Bilal Hussein, AP photograher and al-Qaeda associate, being held without charge in U.S. custody in Iraq that this is evident. But also in the departure from balanced, nonpartisan coverage that has always been the APs promise to us, its customers.
The AP was, in fact, a pioneer in balanced coverage. The concept was born with the AP in 1848 and tempered in the Civil War. The AP served newspapers of different stripes and had to keep politics out of it.
But for any news organization going into war, its hard not to have a side. In 1876, AP scribe Mark Kellogg was killed with Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. I go with Custer and will be at the death, he reported. Guess which side he was on. In 1941, the AP had to shut its Berlin bureau when its reporters were arrested. In 1945, AP correspondent Joe Morton was executed by the SS. AP correspondents were imprisoned by communists in North Korea, Romania and Czechoslovakia. The APs Terry Anderson was held captive by Islamic extremists in Beirut for six years. It is a brave and illustrious history.
The AP has had one or two exemplary war correspondents in Iraq. But this strange war has changed so many things. In late 2004, as the U.S. military was moving to rid Fallujah of the terrorists who controlled it, the AP wanted some eyes inside the city. It hired Bilal Hussein. He gave the AP photos of insurgents setting up ambushes and firing at Americans. He gave them photos of terrorists posing with their freshly slaughtered victims. His pictures helped the AP win a Pulitzer Prize.
A blogger named Darleen at www.darleenclick.com said it very well in December of 2004:
I have trouble with how cozy this AP photographer is with the terrorists. I realize hes a Hussein from Fallujah, so his own personal feelings and associations may be on display here, but did The Associated Press . . . employ Nazis to get photos showing attacks on the Allies and the execution of Jews?
I wish it stopped with the APs effort to give the enemy in Iraq a fair shake, as if terrorists were freedom fighters. Then I look at the AP copy I see nightly. The president of the United States gives a speech. The AP grants him a couple of fragmentary quotes before allowing his failed 2004 challenger and other opponents several full paragraphs to denounce him.
There is the bizarre work of Charles J. Hanley, an AP apologist for Saddam Hussein. He dismisses evidence of weapons programs and reports on the deep frustration Saddam felt when he could not convince the world of his good intentions, in those years when he was murdering his own people and playing a hard-nosed game of cat-and-mouse with U.N. weapons inspectors that led to their removal.
Last week, the AP gave us a lengthy series on the U.S. detention of terrorism suspects. The APs opinion was evident. Bilal Hussein was the poster boy. The salient fact that Hussein was captured with an al-Qaeda leader was buried. Al-Qaeda has killed and abducted dozens of journalists, Iraqi, American and European. Mainly Iraqi. I wonder: Whats so special about this particular Iraqi journalist that he could associate freely with al-Qaeda?
I look at Husseins photos. Terrorists trying to kill Americans. Terrorists posing with dead civilians. Bilal Hussein knows things about these men, who they are, how they operate. Im thinking, Bilal Hussein looks like an accessory to murder. Im thinking, I hope the U.S. intelligence agents who have him are getting good information out of him. And Im wondering, who does The Associated Press want to win this war?