Sunday, September 17, 2006

Journalocracy

The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions.
Boo. Frickin'. Hoo.

Powerline beat me to the punch, and with images. Do go look.
Look at their photos, and understand what the AP means by this:
AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Oh really?
That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn't make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor.

"Journalists have always had relationships with people that others might find unsavory," she said. "We're not in this to choose sides, we're to report what's going on from all sides."...The military in Iraq has frequently detained journalists who arrive quickly at scenes of violence, accusing them of getting advance notice from insurgents, Lyon said. But "that's just good journalism. Getting to the event quickly is something that characterizes good journalism anywhere in the world. It does not indicate prior knowledge," he said.

Even if that were true--and the photos Powerline has up make me wonder--it does indicate knowledge after the fact.

Out of Hussein's body of work, only 37 photos show insurgents or people who could be insurgents, Lyon said. "The vast majority of the 420 images show the aftermath or the results of the conflict — blown up houses, wounded people, dead people, street scenes," he said.
Oh well, he only makes propaganda photographs part of the time?

..."How can you know what a conflict is like if you're only with one side of the combatants?" she said. "Journalism doesn't work if we don't report and photograph all sides."
We certainly couldn’t have journalism not work, could we?

Back in 2001 the President got up and said that people could either be with us, or with the terrorists. AP has chosen to be with the terrorists, among the terrorists, to document what the terrorists do as they do it. AP is the on-call public relations house for terrorism.

Back in 1978 J. Ross Baugham became an international disgrace for traveling with Rhodesian soldiers and blithely filming torture, rape, arson. I saw Baugham on a PBS series on journalist ethics in which he vowed to do so again if the situation arose. “My respect for the story would compel me to refrain from participating in it” he said.

Go look at the photo Hussein took of a blindfolded Italian being murdered by terrorists. That’s the price of the Story. The Story was more important to Hussein, and the New York office, than this guy’s life. And the next Story, which Hussein would get for keeping his mouth shut, was more important than picking up a phone and helping shut down this terrorist gang.

Journalism has decided its operations are above laws regarding classified information and privacy, and now they’re above the War on Terror itself.

Our government, and the government in Iraq, have decided that the “other side” of this conflict is a gang of thugs to be shot on sight or captured when convenient. The Associated Press insists it has a veto power over this decision—that if, in the opinion of the executive review panel in New York, continually providing terrorists a confidential pipeline to the world media is fair, then the United States government cannot object.

The United States government can either punish such a conspiracy, or surrender its authority.

Having said that, I agree with the AP that Hussein needs to be sent into the criminal justice system. Life without parole sounds like a fair sentence.

And—I’m serious—ten to twenty for the fellow conspirators in New York. They are giving aid and comfort to the battlefield enemies of the United States. They are with the terrorists.

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