Editorial: Newspapers SHOULD Complain About AP

Annie

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About time!

http://news.bostonherald.com/columnists/view.bg?articleid=170263&format=text

Say no to AP’s shoddy work
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald City Editor
Sunday, December 3, 2006 - Updated: 02:46 AM EST

When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.

That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.

The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.

Curt at Floppingaces, www.floppingaces2.blogspot.com, led the charge. He thought there was something strange about an AP report, and took a second look at it, then a third look. He and others blew the lid off it. The AP is making up war crimes. But the resulting stink in the blogosphere has barely wrinkled a nose in the mainstream press. The ethics-obsessed Poynter Institute seems to be oblivious to it.

It has to do with the AP’s Iraqi stringers and an oft-quoted Iraqi police captain named Jamil Hussein. Problem is, the Iraqi police say Capt. Hussein does not exist. The Iraqi police and U.S. military say an incident described in an AP report - Iraqi soldiers standing by as people were burned alive in a mosque - didn’t happen. Another AP-reported incident, U.S. soldiers shooting 11 civilians, also never happened, the military says.

When the AP was forced to acknowledge this situation, it did so in a story about a new Interior Ministry policy regarding false reports. The AP buried the fact that its own false report prompted this new policy.

The AP stands by its reporting.. The AP has cast “Capt. Jamil Hussein” simply as someone not authorized to speak, and AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll has sniffed morally: “Good reporting relies on more than government-approved sources.”

The AP has another Iraqi stringer problem. Photographer Bilal Hussein is in U.S. custody, and the AP has been clamoring indignantly for his release. AP reports have buried the U.S. explanation that Hussein is being held without charge because - quite aside from producing photos that showed him to be overly intimate with terrorists in Fallujah - he was in an al-Qaeda bomb factory, with an al-Qaeda bombmaker, with traces of explosives on his person when he was arrested.

The AP, of course, has been delivering unbalanced reports about U.S. national politics for some time, as when President Bush, whom AP reporters despise, is barely allowed to state his case on an issue before his critics are given twice as much space to pummel him. The AP, once a just-the-facts news delivery service, has lost its rudder. It has become a partisan, anti-American news agency that seeks to undercut a wartime president and American soldiers in the field. It is providing fraudulent, shoddy goods. It doesn’t even recognize it has a problem.

This is the point at which, another big American industry learned, people start buying Japanese. But as an American newspaper, if you want to provide your readers with affordable regional, national and international news, you have to deal with the AP.

If newspapers don’t have an alternative, readers do. It’s called the Internet. That’s why newspapers, if they don’t want to be dragged further into irrelevance and disrepute, have to tell The Associated Press they are dissatisfied with its product.
 

William Joyce

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If newspapers don’t have an alternative, readers do. It’s called the Internet. That’s why newspapers, if they don’t want to be dragged further into irrelevance and disrepute, have to tell The Associated Press they are dissatisfied with its product.

Here here. Not an Iraq war fan myself, but that's beside the point this guy is making. I'm often pretty surprised at the naked liberal bias of an AP dispatch, which, as he notes, used to be incredibly staightforward and factual. In any event, the new (un)associated press is the worldwide army of Davids Glenn Reynolds talks about.
 

Avatar4321

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alittle late for this i made a thread about this last wednesday in the War on Terror board.:) glad to see some papers are starting to finally catch on to old news:p
 
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Annie

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alittle late for this i made a thread about this last wednesday in the War on Terror board.:) glad to see some papers are starting to finally catch on to old news:p
Was there another MSM writer that came out about AP? This was the first I've seen.
 

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Was there another MSM writer that came out about AP? This was the first I've seen.
no no MSM writer. But its been in the conservative news since atleast wednesday. They are just way below the curve in the MSM
 
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Annie

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no no MSM writer. But its been in the conservative news since atleast wednesday. They are just way below the curve in the MSM
I know it's been on blogs, I too have been posting on this over a week. Are you saying FOX or some other conservative news channel has reported?
 
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Annie

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**bump**
http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/486/The_APs_Jamil_Hussein_Scandal

Yes, the Eason Jordan of CNN problems:

http://usmessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=18779&highlight=eason+jordan

From his new blog:

Only on Slogger
The AP's Jamil Hussein Scandal
Controversy Will Haunt the AP Until It Does What is Right
By EASON JORDAN 01/01/2007 7:19 PM ET
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.

This controversy and the AP's handling of it call into question the credibility, integrity, and smarts of one of the world's biggest, most influential, most respected news organizations, the New York-based Associated Press.

The back story: On November 24, the AP quoted Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein as the source of a sensational AP story that began this way:

"Militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by."

It was a horrific report that was an AP exclusive - a story picked up and reported by news outlets across the U.S. and the world.

The U.S. military and Iraqi officials were quick to call the story baseless, saying there was no evidence that six Sunnis were burned to death in Hurriya and that there was no record of an Iraqi police captain named Jamil Hussein. The U.S. military and the Iraqi government demanded the AP retract the story and explain itself.

The AP fired back with at least three strong statements defending the initial AP report and provided a follow-up report from Baghdad quoting anonymous witnesses as confirming the original immolation story.

In the absence of irrefutable evidence that Captain Hussein exists and that the original AP report was accurate, bloggers and a few mainstream media journalists kept plugging away in an effort to get to the truth about whether there is a Captain Hussein and whether six Sunnis were burned alive that day.

Five weeks after the disputed episode, key questions remain unanswered, but what is clear is the AP has botched its handling of this controversy - and it's not going away until the AP deals with it forthrightly and transparently.

...
 
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Annie

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The list of 'new media' embeds keeps growing, while the MSM reporters mostly hang out in the green zone:

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006634.htm

As you know, ex-CNN newsman Eason Jordan extended an invitation to me three weeks ago to go to Iraq to investigate the Associated Press/"Jamil Hussein" story. He offered to pay for a trip. As you'll recall, I asked if he would offer to cover travel and security costs for Curt from Flopping Aces--who broke open the story of AP's dubious sources on Thanksgiving weekend and continues to lead the blogospheric search for the truth. Jordan agreed.

I spoke with Jordan by phone before Christmas to learn more details of his offer, which I'm not going to get into for privacy and security reasons. (He asked that his discussion be off the record.) I let him know that I had received invitations to embed with the military and planned to follow up on some of these offers concurrently with the investigation of the AP's reporting. Since our conversation, things have moved at a fast pace on the embed side. Over the holidays, my Hot Air colleague Bryan Preston and I received word that our embed applications had been approved. We have been busy preparing our families and ourselves for the journey. Our overarching goals are two-fold:

1) to report on how the troops perceive mainstream media coverage of the war (with a particular focus on the wire services relying on local stringers); and

2) to report on progress and interaction between U.S. troops and Iraqi Army trainees.
The "Jamil Hussein" story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn't just about "Jamil Hussein." Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions--not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged--including "Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq" and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There's also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called "Green Zone" (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters.

I am very heartened by Eason Jordan's post yesterday challenging the Associated Press's credibility, but am puzzled that his own crew in Baghdad still has nothing new to report more than a month after bloggers first started raising questions. I hope Jordan follows up on the most recent investigative developments in the blogosphere. As of Dec. 21, the AP refuses to answer these simple questions:

1. Is Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim the real name of your oft-cited source, "Captain Jamil Hussein" aka " Jamil Gholaiem Hussein?"

2. If not, where is "Captain Jamil Hussein" currently working? If he is a Baghdad police officer, as AP asserts, why hasn't anyone -- not CPATT, not MOI, not Marc Danzinger's sources [nor Eason Jordan's] -- been able to locate him?

3. What is your response to the CPATT officers' report that Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim denies being AP's source?​

The reply from Linda Wagner, AP media relations officer, you'll recall, was this:

Michelle-

I have no additional information for you at this time.

Linda
The reply from AP exec editor Kathleen Carroll...well, there was none.

...
 

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Surprise, surprise, it's happened again, al-AP the culprit again, surprise, surprise:

January 5, 2007: The Associated Press has again put out an Iraq story detailing events that did not happen. This time, it involves an airstrike that, " killed a family of four during a firefight." However, according to the press desk of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, no air strike happened during that firefight, and MNF-I also reported that which six insurgents were killed by American troops in Baghdad on January 1. This is the second time in roughly six weeks that the AP has been caught fabricating events.
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20070105.aspx

They "accidently" lied about an airstrike this time.
 

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The AP used to be a rock solid form of the fastest news info in the world. The networks, news agencies and the public could depend on non biased accurate reporting through the AP wire. Now they are just another leftest spin factory.
 
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Annie

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The AP used to be a rock solid form of the fastest news info in the world. The networks, news agencies and the public could depend on non biased accurate reporting through the AP wire. Now they are just another leftest spin factory.
Now they are just fairies spinning yarns. It's catching up with them though, the newspapers are starting to notice.
 
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Annie

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Just for the record:
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=23895_AP_Concerned_for_Jamil_Hussein&only

AP Concerned for Jamil Hussein

The Associated Press’s Kathleen Carroll is suddenly concerned about the well-being of Jamil Hussein: AP’s Editor Criticizes Those Who Questioned Iraq Source.

NEW YORK Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on Friday criticized those who questioned the existence of an AP Iraq source, who was proven this week to be real, saying the scrutiny has now endangered the man’s life.

“I never quite understood why people chose to disbelieve us about this particular man on this particular story,” Carroll told E&P, referring to Jamil Hussein, an Iraq police captain. “AP runs hundreds of stories a day, and has run thousands of stories about things that have happened in Iraq.”

Carroll pointed out that critics should be more concerned with the fact that Hussein could face imprisonment for being a source to journalists than how AP handled the situation. “A man who is a legitimate police official who has talked to journalists is threatened with arrest for doing so,” she said. “Doesn’t that bother anybody other than me? Officials being threatened with arrest for talking to reporters ought to be of concern.”​

The Associated Press has quoted “Iraqi police Capt. Jamil Hussein” by name in more than 60 articles published on web sites and in newspapers around the world, identifying where he works and his title. But bloggers have put him in danger?

Give me a break.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press’s story about the incidents of November 24 in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah keeps on changing.

6:39 PM PST
Oh yeah, a bit more:
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006637.htm
I am awaiting reaction/response from my sources. Bob Owens received this from MNF-PAO:

Mr Owens,

The validity of the AP story below has not been confirmed at this time.
Allah's take is here.

Don Surber:

So 6 weeks after people asked AP to produce him, AP produced him.

Now to verify his claim that 6 Sunnis were burned alive.
Mickey Kaus:

Capt. Jamil Hussein, controversial AP source, seems to exist. That's one important component of credibility!
Dan Riehl:

Fascinating. But let me be the first to say to the Left, before they lose themselves in glee, I don't see that bloggers have anything to apologize for, nor do I see this story being at an end. The ultimate question is what happened in Hurriya the day six Sunnis were claimed to have been burned alive?

Did it happen? Is Shi'ite domination of one or more ministries trying to cover up violence by Shi'ite factions? Or is Hussein unreliable as a source?

If the story ends up being an expose' on a troubling Shi'ite dominated Iraqi regime, as opposed to the AP being light on sourcing, so be it. Like most bloggers following this story, all I have ever wanted is the truth.
Commenter Dwilkers at Patterico's:

So why has it taken all this time to produce him then?

And where are the bodies of the folks that were burned alive? And what about the mosques that weren’t destroyed?

I’m making the same point as Patterico of course - the underlying story was the original problem. The failure to produce this guy was just the marker that let you KNOW it was BS.

So they produced him. Now produce the people set on fire and destroyed buildings claimed in the story. Otherwise its nonsense.

I also question the timing, since Malkin was OTW over and the attention level was about to increase. I seriously doubt we’ve heard all there is to know about this.​



Bill Faith:

Color this old dog very, very skeptical. So, the Iraqi Police may or may not arrest some dude and claim he's Jamil, then they may or may not put him in a line-up where the AP people can claim "Yes we see him but we aren't going to identify him; must protect our sources, y'know," and we're all supposed to just forget about all those sole-sourced stories that still don't check out? And our source for all this new-found knowledge is ... the AP?
Curt at Flopping Aces weighs in: "As many of us have said from the beginning, finding Jamil Hussein will not make this story go away..."

I repeat what I said yesterday about our upcoming trip to Iraq:

The "Jamil Hussein" story is one important item on our agenda, but not the only one. As Curt and other bloggers on this story have noted from the beginning, Jamilgate isn't just about "Jamil Hussein." Bryan and I plan to do as much on-the-ground reporting as we can to nail down unresolved questions--not only about Jamil Hussein and the Hurriya six burning Sunnis allegations, but also about the AP four burning mosque story discrepancies and the many other AP sources that our military has publicly challenged--including "Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq" and more than a dozen police officers listed by U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Michael Dean. There's also the issue of detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein. And we are looking forward to reporting first-hand on the security situation in Iraq outside the so-called "Green Zone" (International Zone) and talking to as many American and Iraqi Army troops with insights on these and other broader matters​
.... lots more...
 
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Annie

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and a whole lot more, now that some embeds have been there:

http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/213483.php
January 26, 2007
Right to the Top

One thing I've learned over the course of my 35 years, is that when you have a customer service issue and the lower level support staff won't help you, it helps to go to their supervisors to get a satisfactory resolution. So what do you do when the person blocking your attempted to remedy the situation is senior management?

You go straight to the Board of Directors.

Julie Inskeep
Publisher
The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne, Indiana
jinskeep@jg.net

David Lord
President
Pioneer Newspapers, Inc.
Seattle, Washington
dlord@pioneernewspapers.com

R. John Mitchell
Publisher
Rutland Herald
Rutland, Vermont
john.mitchell@rutlandherald.com

Jon Rust
Publisher
Southeast Missourian
Co-president, Rust Communications
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
jrust@semissourian.com

William Dean Singleton
Vice Chairman and CEO
MediaNews Group Inc.
Denver, Colorado
deansingleton@medianewsgroup.com

Jay R. Smith
President
Cox Newspapers, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia
Jay.Smith@coxinc.com


Dear Publisher Inskeep, President Lord, Publisher Mitchell, Publisher Rust, CEO Singleton, and President Smith:

I write to you today as members of the Board of Directors for the Associated Press, asking you to write a wrong that Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll has steadfastly refused to address, even after being confronted with the evidence.

On November 24, 2006, a series of stories was published by the Associated Press concerning a series of Shia militia attacks upon Sunni mosques in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. Two these reports have been attached as PDFs, as they were published by Gainesville.com and the Jerusalem Post (gainesville11_25_26.pdf and jeruslampost11_24_06.pdf, respectively).

These reports allege that four Sunni mosques were "burned and blew up" and that 24 Sunni civilians (18 at one mosque, six at another) perished as a result of these attacks as nearby Iraqi Army units looked on. A particularly gruesome detail of the attacks were claims made by a long-time Associated Press source, Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein, that when the al-Mustafa mosque was attacked, six Sunni men were pulled outside by Shia militiamen, doused in kerosene, and immolated—burned alive.

From that time until today, Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and International Editor John Daniszewski have officially held the position that these attacks occurred just as they have described.

These claims are:

The Associated Press originally claimed four mosques were "burned and blew up" in Hurriyah according to Police Captain Jamil Hussein, along with several houses.
That 24 people were burned to death. Six were pulled from the Ahbab al-Mustafa as it was attacked, the were doused and set on fire, according to AP source Captain Jamil Hussein. The AP also printed a claim by the Association of Muslim Scholars (a group suspected of strong ties to al Qaeda, a detail the AP left out of their reporting) that 18 more people, including women in children, were burned to death in an "inferno" resulting from a Shiite militia attack at the al-Muhaimin mosque.
The Associated Press initially claimed that Associated Press Television had video showing damage to the Ahbab al-Mustafa mosque where they claim these six men were immolated.
Executive Editor Carroll insists that their long-time source, Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, is exactly who they said he is.
The problem I've written to you to address, as the Board of Directors of the Associated Press, is that every single claim listed above is highly questionable; some have been proven to be exaggerated with photographic and videotaped evidence, and it is quite likely that some of the claims were fabricated entirely.

Once you read the evidence compiled below, I hope that you will consider having the Associated Press run an article correcting the mismanaged Hurriyah coverage issued so far, and perhaps several other issues as well.

To begin with, the Associated Press has never retracted nor corrected the claim that four mosques were "burned and blew up" (see the attached Gainesville article), even though photographic evidence was taken the following day (November 25) shows that all four mosques are still standing. Information about all four mosques are available for your review here:
Print:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/0121200...not_opedcolumnists_michelle_malkin.htm?page=0

Pictures from the day after the attacks took place:
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006728.htm

Video from two weeks ago:
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/01/22/hurriyas-mosques-still-standing/

All four mosques sustained small arms fire. One abandoned mosque was fired upon with a rocket-propelled grenade that damaged its dome and a firebomb did burn two rooms. Another mosque had two rooms damaged by a firebomb. Of the two remaining mosques, neither one suffered any fire damage, though one had exterior damage due to an RPG strike.
In addition to grossly exaggerating the damage inflicted upon these four mosques, the Associated Press accounts of 24 deaths attributed to these attacks may have been entirely fabricated.

The largest number of casualties in the Associated Press accounts of the Hurriyah attacks was a claim sourced by the AP to the "influential"Association of Muslim Scholars, which claimed that 18 people burned to death in an "inferno at the al-Muhiamin mosque."

The Association of Muslim Scholars is a group deeply involved with the Sunni insurgency, including elements of al Qaeda. The Associated Press accounts conveniently skipped over that fact in order to carry their allegation, which is completely fabricated.

I return you once again to the pictures provided by Michelle Malkin in the link to her site above, which shows RPG and rifle fire damage to the exterior of the mosque, but also shows that Sunni worship service in that mosque the very next day. For the Associated Press claim to be true, there must have been a fire; there was none, and this account has conclusively been debunked. Even with this conclusive evidence, Kathleen Carroll stands behind the AP's reporting, and refuses to issue either a correction or a retraction.

In addition to these 18 AP-reported deaths that categorically did not happen, there is exactly zero corroborating evidence to support the AP-run claim of Jamil Hussein that six Sunnis were pulled from the al-Mustafa mosque, doused in kerosene, and burned alive. the AP account hangs squarely upon the word of Jamil Hussein; a "Sunni elder" the AP chose to cite as a secondary witness recanted his statement almost immediately, and AP reporters flatly buried denials made by other areas residents, including two local imams, that these alleged immolations never occurred.

And what of long time AP source Captain Jamil Hussein, the man who broke the story of the immolations, and still the only source saying the immolations occured?

He has been cited as an Associated Press source by name on 61 stories between April and November of 2006, and Editor Carroll claims that the AP has been using him as a source for up to two years. Interestingly enough, I did an English language Google search of the first 40 of the 61 accounts attributing Hussein as a source, and was able to verify just one of the 40 with corroborating accounts from other news organizations. Of those 39 accounts that were not corroborated by any other English-language accounts from other news organizations, research into both English and Arab language accounts of one assassination, along with Iraqi Police casualties accounts provided to Multinational Corps Iraq (MNC-I) and relayed to me for the day of June 20, 2006, seems to suggest that one story, the assassination of Iraqi Police Captain Amir Kamil, may have been fabricated entirely.

Jamil Hussein is not a source who's stories have been easy to corroborate, and the fact that his accounts came from all over Baghdad, mostly well outside of his jurisdiction, should have thrown his veracity into question months before Hurriyah became and issue.

Two variations of a map showing Hussein's duty stations and the locations of his alleged accounts show just how suspicious accounts are, and are located here:
http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/211760.php

By way of comparison, this is the equivalent of a New York Police Department officer based in Staten Island being used as source in Brooklyn, Long Island, the Bronx, Queens, and Harlem. Would you allow the reporters in your own organizations to get away with this? Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and International Editor John Daniszewski apparently did.

Another point of contention is that she still maintains that "Jamil Hussein" is, in fact, the name of her source. This is patently untrue.

According to MNC-I, there is no police officer named Jamil Hussein, despite a January 4, Steven Hurst article (surprising enough, an AP-written article by someone who used Hussein as a source repeatedly) saying otherwise. According to a MNC-I email, Interior Ministry personnel records show that "Jamil Hussein" is actually Jamil Gulaim XXXXX XX-XXXXXXX [name redacted for blog publication]. If this is true--and MNC-I has been right on almost everything so far--then one of two things has occurred.

Either the Associated Press is guilty of extremely shoddy reporting, and has been duped as to XX-XXXXXXX's identity for two years, or the Associated Press reporters and editors involved, in direct violation of the organizations own code of ethics, used a pseudonym for their source.

Considering how rapidly Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for the Associated Press Linda Wagner contacted me with a denial after I attempted to confirm to XX-XXXXXXX's identity with Steven Hurst (within 1.5 hours), I feel the second is more likely.

Let me now take a moment to review the case I've made:

The Associated Press reported 4 mosques were "burned and blew up." the physical evidence shows that this claim was greatly exaggerated, as all four building still stand.

The Associated Press claims that 24 people died as a result of these attacks. The same photographic evidence cited above flatly debunks the claim of 18 people dying in an inferno, as there was no fire. As for the claim that six people were immolated, there has never been the first bit of evidence to suggest this is true, and local civilians dispute that such an event ever occurred, as does all involved Iraqi Ministries (Interior, Health, Defense) and American military units in the area.

Jamil Hussein, who Kathleen Carroll would seem to imply is a rock-solid source, is not even Jamil Hussein, but Jamil Gulaim XXXXX XX-XXXXXXX. Jamil Hussein seems to be an unacknowledged (and therefore unethical) pseudonym. Only one of 40 accounts provided by Hussein can be readily verified, and it appears that one account, the assassination of Amir Kamil, may have been fabricated.

With all of this known, I hope that you act to restore integrity to the reputation of the Associated Press by correcting the inaccurate Hurriyah stories, and consider investigating how "Jamil Hussein" could have been allowed to be a source for AP for so long when his accounts seemed almost always uncorroborated and well outside of his jurisdiction.

I hope that you also take steps to assure that this kind of journalistic malpractice and "faith-based" reporting does not happen again.

Thank you very much for allowing me to present this matter to you.

Respectfully,​



I was unable to find the email addresses of all of the Board's members, but feel confident that by contacting these members who have the AP's best interests at heart, that we might see some movement towards a correction of the Associated Press' overexaggerated and in some cases fraudulent reporting in the coming weeks.
 

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