April 10, 2007

Some of the News That's Fit to Print

Gateway Pundit correctly nails the leading regional and world media outlets for vastly over-exaggerating the actual number of protestors making noise on behalf of Tehran resident Mookie al Sadr in an anti-U.S. protest over the weekend.

A sampling of the media's inaccurate mis-reporting:

  • The Associated Press: "Tens of thousands of Shiites..."
  • New York Times: "Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr..."
  • Reuters: "Tens of thousands of people waving Iraqi flags..."
  • Gulf Daily News: "Hundreds of thousands of chanting Iraqi Shi'ites burned and stamped..."
  • Guardian (UK): "Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr..."

And now, a reality break.

As Bugs Bunny says, "That's all, folks."

Even Duke University football games get better turn-out than the 5,000-7,000 shown in the image above.

I'd be very interested to discover which organizations actually had reporters in Najaf for the protests, if those reporters were bureau reporters or local stringers, and where they came up with their figures. Thinking I'd actually get a response to any of these questions from these news organizations is, of course, absurd. The media doesn't like the idea of accountability.

I'll update this with more detail if information becomes available.

Update: Crap! I screwed up. the photo above was clearly captioned as being from Baghdad in the MNF-I article , and I did the "assume" thing, and thought that Gateway Pundit captioned the photo correctly (he didn't), and got it completely wrong.

SSG Craig Zentkovich said via email that he shot this picture from the top of the Sheraton hotel in 2005. You have my apologies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 10, 2007 02:38 PM

"Even Duke University football games get better turnout..."

That's cold, Bob. Cold.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at April 10, 2007 02:59 PM

Wow Lex,

The major news outlets never, ever slant something do they? Time for a reality break - take off that tin foil hat and COUNT THE NUMBERS. So I guess we can now rule out any of these groups (and ABC, NBC, and CBS who all reported the same thing) from hosting debates. What's left? The Cartoon Channel?

Posted by: Specter at April 10, 2007 04:45 PM

The real story is it was JUST a protest.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 10, 2007 06:54 PM

It's kind of funny that you knock the MSM for not fully reporting their stories, when you don't bother to report yours. If you read on in the NYT, there was a 'graph with this little tidbit:

"Estimates of the crowdís size varied wildly. A police commander in Najaf, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Mayahi, said there were at least half a million people. Colonel Garver said that military reports had estimates of 5,000 to 7,000. Residents and other Iraqi officials said there were tens of thousands, and television images of the rally seemed to support their estimates."

You see, when you actually report stories (as opposed to, say, sitting at home blogging on your computer in the United States), sometimes there's conflicting information. So you highlight that in your article.

There are some other issues you fail to address:

1) When was the photo taken? If that was a photo from early in the day, then couldnít it be possible that more people came later in the day?
2) How many Iraqis came and left during the day? While there only may be 5,000-7,000 Iraqi protesters in the photo, itís entirely possible that protesters came and went throughout the day, raising the numbers to the indicated level.
3) What about those side streets that are conveniently cut off in the photo? Were there more protesters down those streets? If you look at the photos featured in the NY Times article, it seems that the protest extended down the side streets.

Sorry if Iím being nitpicky here, but it really bothers me when bloggers make specious claims about war correspondentsí journalism. Just like the troops, our journalists are risking their lives in Iraq. And as someone who knows both troops and journalists working in Iraqi, it kind of pisses me off when people half-thought-out claims about their integrity.

Posted by: I read the whole Thing! at April 10, 2007 07:21 PM

the duke LACROSSE team gets bigger crowds.

when you add the 30 million dem lefties rooting for al sadr and assad, then the crowd is really rather big.

Posted by: reliapundit at April 10, 2007 08:45 PM

I read the whole Thing,

Who are you trying to kid. The journalists of which you speak do not go out and report. They sit in a bar in the Green Zone and hire local stringers to go out and gather the news. What a joke.

Posted by: Specter at April 10, 2007 08:50 PM


This was all fun and games until you posted that. There have been 62 (last count) journalists killed covering this war. These people go out every day in neighborhoods you wouldn't fly over just so you can sit on your backside and make snarky remarks.

That's just shameful. Christiane Amanpour has bigger huevos than anyone you've ever known, met, or had lunch with.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at April 10, 2007 09:33 PM

And what percentage of that 62 was red-on-red? Inquiring minds want to know. Or are they still considered journalists if they give up their cell phone to trigger the IED?

And as for Christiane, no, don't theenk so, Lucy.

Posted by: SDN at April 10, 2007 09:48 PM

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, over 99 journalists have been killed while reporting in Iraq. Of the 99 killed 78 were from Iraq and 3 were from other Arab countries. Even if you look at it from the extremely cynical (and incorrect) viewpoint that all of the Iraqi and Arab journalists were insurgents, that still leaves you with 18 western journalists killed while reporting in Iraq.

But I'm sure they just, you know, died from drinking too much in a bar in the Green Zone.

Seriously, I had a friend go over to Iraq as a war correspondent. It was extremely scary. You can trivialize his work (His name is Amit Palay and he worked for WaPo in Iraq for 6 months during mid-2006. You can check out his work on Lexis Nexis, and maybe in the free archives if they go back that far), but I personally think that's sick ó especially when it's coming from stay-at-home bloggers. Itís kind of akin to trivializing the work of the U.S. soldiers, although they obviously face a much more direct and daily risk. I don't mean to be rude, but this is personal.

Posted by: I read the whole Thing! at April 11, 2007 12:11 AM

And as for Christiane, no, don't theenk so, Lucy.

Wow, SDN, that's hilarious. Do you take this act on the road?

Or, I should ask, does your mom let you take this act on the road?

Posted by: David Terrenoire at April 11, 2007 06:07 AM

Well, a few more of these mistakes and you will qualify for MSM status.
No, wait. You have to make the mistake and cover it up, not apologize for it, to qualify for MSM status. You have a long way to go.

Posted by: old_dawg at April 11, 2007 08:32 AM

Where's your comment Lex. You dared someone to show you where the big guys bend/lie about there stories. Here it is. Why are you so silent?

Posted by: Specter at April 11, 2007 09:47 AM

Good for you I read the whole Thing. Now tell us, of the 18 western journalists who died, how many were in the original push into Iraq, embedded with the troops? That will pare your numbers down a lot. Now - like I said in my original post, most of our western MSM hires local stringers to go out and gather the news. The information posted here actually shows that. OK - you had a friend that went there, and maybe that friend was different than most reposts (So is Michael Yon BTW), but surely you aren't trying to tell me that all of the hundreds of western journalists "on the ground" in Iraq are out in the streets gathering news every day? Are you serious?

Posted by: Specter at April 11, 2007 09:51 AM


Nobody says that all journalists are intrepid reporters out in the country covering stories. However, you painted with a very large brush.

Tell this to Bob Woodruff.

Every day there are reporters risking their lives to get the story in what is, by all accounts, an incredibly dangerous place, especially if you're an American.

To question whether they're putting themselves in enough danger, especially from the comfort of your toasty home, is like questioning whether a combat vet really shed enough blood to earn a Purple Heart.

Oh, wait, the GOP has already done that.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at April 11, 2007 10:26 AM

Specter's a bit of a chump minimizing death. Thank you for your words David and RTWT.


Posted by: Temple Stark at April 11, 2007 10:47 PM


You don't show much class by taunting me in threads that I'm not involved in. I read these comments for the first time just now.

Now that I have -- oh dear.

Posted by: Lex Steele at April 12, 2007 12:37 AM


Where's your comment Lex. You dared someone to show you where the big guys bend/lie about there stories. Here it is. Why are you so silent?

The media bend the truth all right, but to sell ads and to suck up to various people. It's childish to think they support jihad. You want a scapegoat because your perfect war is a disaster.

How rich that it is actually your fellow dead enders who are bending the truth.

Posted by: Lex Steele at April 12, 2007 10:05 AM