January 29, 2007


In the wake of my January 25 26 letter to the Board of Directors of the Associated Press concerning the news organization's inaccurate reporting of the November 24 Hurriyah assault by Shia militias on Sunni mosques--a letter in which I provided to the Board of Directors the real name of AP source "Jamil Hussein"--the official Associated Press web site containing all of AP's official responses regarding Hurriyah has curiously withdrawn the January 4 article by AP reporter Steven R. Hurst claiming that Jamil Hussein is Jamil Hussein.

A screen capture of the AP web page from January 8 containing the Hurst article is captured here.

A screen capture of the AP Web page, minus the Hurst article, as captured this morning, is online here.

Is the Associated Press beginning a walkback of it's Hurriyah coverage? If so, quietly attempting to scrub their reporting to date is perhaps not the best way to do so.

Perhaps they should start with a formal retraction acknowledging their comedy of errors.

As I have stated from the very beginning of this debacle, what we are witnessing in action via the Hurriyah scandal and the 39 of 40 AP stories attributed to Jamil Hussein that cannot be corroborated by a rudimentary search of other English-language news organizations of the same events, what we are witnessing is a flawed methodology for gathering the news that places far too much credibility in the words of questionable sources and local stringers with dubious allegiances, and no readily apparent internal mechanism for fact-checking the reports provided.

The advice I issued on December 18 is looking better all the time.

Update: Curt at Flopping Aces notes (via email) that while the AP has scrubbed the one file linked above where AP has been consolidating their Hurriyah reporting, they still have the Hurst claim posted here. Don't worry... if they attempt to scrub that, I have a screen capture of that page, as well.

Update: By the way... notice anything funny about the image used by AP in their "Freedom of Information" section? It appears to be a photo of terrorist detainees at Guantanemo Bay.

Does the Associated Press consider capturing terrorists a violation of AP's freedom of information?


It certainly does not apply to Jamil Gulaim XXXXX XX-XXXXXXX, who is presently back at work as an Iraqi police officer.

Update: Confirmed. The picture was of detainees arriving at Camp X-Ray in 2002.

Update: Linda Wagner, Associated Press Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, states that the disappearance of the Hurst article is "purely a technical issue." It has since been restored to the AP web site.

Does anybody here with an IT background want to explain precisely how AP's "technical issue" would delete just the one post on the page, and not all of the posts on that page? I assume it could be a technical glitch, but my experience tells me that human involvement is a far more likely culprit.

Update, for the kids over at Sadly No!: who apparently can't figure out how to click a link. A whole indignant post, dedicated to something that did not happen... how sad. No?

As for CMS systems, they are typically set to default to a set expiration after "X" days. This was not in evidence here, nor was this what AP's Linda Wagner alleged happened.

While you are at it, why won't you discuss the other mosques (not that you've finally learned to spell Nidaa Allah correctly), particularly how it is impossible for AP's al Qaeda-linked source of the Association of Muslim Scholars to be correct that one mosque was gutted in an "inferno" that left 18 dead, only to have the same mosque open for regular services the next day, and soot free at that?

Why, that might require independent thought and actually looking at facts instead of reflexively attacking any evidence brought forth by a conservative, and we can't have that, can we?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 29, 2007 11:59 AM

He shoots! He scores! Great work, Bob. I excerpted and linked. That makes 45 posts in my Jamilgate series now.

Posted by: Bill Faith at January 29, 2007 01:08 PM

Here at Ohio University (using a P.O.S. called CommonSpot) I can set an exparation date for any section of text on the site. Perhaps whatever software they are using allows that same kind of control.

I do agree that it seems odd though that someone would have bothered to expire one post.

I wonder if this "technical" issue would have been caught if you guys weren't on top of them. My bet is that they were indeed trying to re-write the past and got caught, but that's just me..


Posted by: Chuck Bennett at January 29, 2007 02:56 PM

The same response was received from Wagner in the comment section at AP as originating IP confirmed.

Posted by: Tully at January 29, 2007 03:07 PM

Apparently the AP will respond to a blog post or two, so long as the AP can avoid answering the questions the very same bloggers have been asking for a month or so...

Posted by: Karl at January 29, 2007 05:03 PM

Does anybody here with an IT background...

Software rots just like wood. Really! I don't think even the dumbest non-technical managers I've ever seen would buy a story like that...

...well maybe one or two, but they probably got jobs at AP.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at January 29, 2007 09:59 PM

Michelle Malkin: Fact-checking the AP and Jamil Hussein
One of the mosques identified by the AP, the Nidaa Alah mosque, ... Small arms fire damage at the Nidaa Alah mosque, which had been abandoned at the time of ... - 43k - Cached - Similar pages

Posted by: Nidaa Alah Allah at January 30, 2007 08:59 AM

Psst... concering your "truthiness" story

You wrote: "First, "Allah" is not spelled "Alah," you morons."


Hot air uses "Alah"

But of course it's sadly no, a comedy blog, that needs to "get it right"

Posted by: cokane at January 30, 2007 12:34 PM