Friday, December 14, 2007

NYT's 'scoop'

Homemade bombs hit two Baghdad liquor stores early Thursday, and attacks in several other parts of the city killed two people and wounded at least seven others. Eleven more deaths were reported from attacks outside Baghdad, and 19 bodies were found in Baghdad and elsewhere.

The above is Paul von Zielbauer's opening to a really bad piece of 'reporting' entitled "Violent Day in Iraq Begins With Liquor Store Bombings" in this morning's New York Times.

On Thursday morning, many of the families of the 27 people killed in a triple car bombing Wednesday in the southern city of Amara transported the remains to a well-known burial ground in Najaf, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad.

First, 'officials' (Alexandra Zavis reports it was the province's health department) has lowered the number of dead to 28. Unlike Zavis, the paper reports no down-grading. Nor do they get the down-graded figure correct (28 -- if you're going to accept it). But here's how the Times works (always), if they're breaking from the pack it's because they've got officials whispering in their ears. And when that happens, there's usually a behind the scenes story. Just as they managed to offer the Article 32 defense in the gang-rape and murder of Abeer and the murder of three of her family members before the defense could offer it -- a defense a 'military expert' would note (in other publications) had never been argued before. Translation, the push for the undercount came not yesterday but on Wednesday. And if the Times knew about it wasn't by happen-stance or 'good reporting.'

On the topic of Iraqi refugees, the UNHCR has finished another study and find that the bulk of the tiny amount who have returned site lack of funds as the primary reason followed by the obstacles to extending visas and granting residency in host countries.

The e-mail address for this site is