Sunday, May 15, 2005


Journalistic Injury

More media hyperventilation, this time from the BBC. Folks, this media outlet lost its prominence along with its journalistic integrity and objectivity many years ago. It's really tragic, considering what a terrific organization it used to be.

Chrenkoff dissects BBC reporting of Operation Matador, and a rather obvious example of data sampling to get the desired atmospherics.

Chrenkoff notes:
Fortunately, BBC is there to remind us that every seemingly good-for-America cloud has a silver lining:

"The BBC's Jim Muir, in Baghdad, says the operation appears to have exacerbated tribal tensions in the area."

In case you didn't quite get it, BBC is quite keen to let you know that the offensive against the terrorists has also done a lot of collateral damage, hence a handy video-report, tagged "See the damage caused by Operation Matador", linked to in the upper right hand corner of the above mentioned-story.
And what is the damage they are reporting? The only footage was of a single bombed out house. Chrenkoff relates the breathless BBC reporting on Qaim, a town of 50,000 people:
The original BBC report quoted before captions a photo of a tent "Many people have fled to the desert as a result of the US campaign", while the story itself says only that "About 250 people fled Qaim into the desert as a result of the fighting and are currently receiving assistance from the Iraqi Red Crescent."
To add the final insult to journalistic injury, the BBC fails entirely to note that much of the violence in Qaim was the result of townspeople turning against Al Qaeda elements:
Plus, as the indispensable Bill Roggio notes, fighting seems to have been taking place in Qaim between Al Qaeda forces and the local Sunni tribe. It begun even before Operation Matador, and the American forces are said to have been invited into the city by the elders to help mop up Al Zarqawi's men - all facts reported in the American media, but which seemed to have escaped BBC, as it salivated over the destruction of Qaim.
Bill Roggio provides greater detail in his post, and speculates why press accounts don't mention the witnessed heavy fighting in Qaim, which is supported by accounts in The Hindustan Times:
"According to witnesses and the US military, the offensive triggered intense clashes in the town of Al-Qaim between fighters loyal to Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq and the most wanted militant in the country, and a rival Sunni tribe in the border city."
Chrenkoff concludes:
It must be remembered the local leaders in Qaim requested US intervention. It is possible the price to be paid was a commitment by the locals to fight the jihadis themselves. The tactics used in Qaim may be much like those used against the Taliban in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom: local fighters acting as the infantry while the US provides backup by cordoning the city and inserting Special Forces teams to coordinate air, artillery and other forms of support. This can explain why US forces have not entered the city.
There will no doubt be more to this story. Keep an eye on Chrenkoff and Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail for the latest updates.

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