Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NYT: Little too read, step away from the paper

Considering the amount of money that the New York Times spends in Iraq, it's a surprising that so little from Iraq makes it into the paper day after day. Today there are two Iraq related stories, one filed in Iraq and one filed in DC. Edward Wong offers "Iraqis Consider Ways To Reduce Power of Cleric" which Jim Rutenberg should be strongly advised to read. Not just because it's the better of the two -- although it is -- but also because it contains information that Rutenberg should have known and should have shared in his article ("In Advance of Speech, Bush Seeks Iraq Advice").

Rutenberg's doing the usual puff piece -- "Bully At War" could be the subtitle if he wanted to nod to a previous stenographer. Bully Boy met with Condi (which is somehow news because?) and blah, blah, blah, and yada, yada, yada, and four star generals, yackey-yackety-yack. The whole thing reads like a six-year-old in a playground claiming his daddy is better and best nah-nah-nah. It just doesn't read like reporting and did Rutenberg put in a half-day yesterday? How else does he miss what AP reported long before Rutenberg's quitting time?

From yesterday's snapshot:

And the approval of the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki. As the puppet continues to dangle in the wind, the future looks less bright. AP reports that following last week's meeting with the Bully Boy, Shi'ite parliamentarian Abdul Aziz Hakim has begun meeting with "[m]ajor partners in Iraq's governing coalition" for "behind-the-scenes talks to oust Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki" and form "a new parliamentary bloc that would seek to replace the current government and that would likely exclude supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr".

Now Wong's got details of that in his reporting the paper runs today, where was Rutenberg? At some mid-day John McCain worship-fest all the DC reporters seem required attend?

There's no excuse for his not knowing of that. It's bad enough that the Times didn't break the story but for a DC reporter to be unaware of what the AP is reporting before he's filing is shameful.

Though Wong's piece is the better of the two, neither are necessary. And when the Times is eyeing cost cutting measures, maybe it's time they consider pulling reporters from Iraq? If they're not going to run their reporting, then why have them over there?

By yesterday morning, it was announced (by the US military) that four US troops had died in Iraq. You can't find it in today's paper (three of the deaths were announced to late to have made it into Monday's paper). This weekend through yesterday, there's been repeated targeting of Iraqi children, not grown ups, in the daily killings. You won't find that in today's paper.

Saturday's paper read like they had little else so they decided to run some pieces they otherwise wouldn't on Iraq. But the reality is that with the number of reporters and stringers on the payroll in Iraq, they should be running that number of reports every day. If they're not going to, what's the point of keeping people assigned there and keeping people on the payroll?

Already reports emerge of today's violence. Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports at least sixty dead in Baghdad and at least 221 wounded from an explosion in Tayaran Square so possibly tomorrow readers of the Times may be able to learn of that and, maybe in the final papragraphs, they'll learn of the violence that's been ongoing?

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