Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The US press in Iraq does what all day?

From yesterday's snapshot:

Dar Addustour has a breaking news report this evening that American journalist Daniel Smith has been arrested in Baghdad by Iraqi forces (the arrest was Friday). If the report is correct and the name is correct, this is most likely Daniel Wakefield Smith who in addition to text reporting is also a photojournalist (not to be confused with retired US Army Col Dan Smith who has offered commentary and analysis on the Iraq War). Dar Addustour is the only one reporting the story currently and they say that there is confusion regarding what he was arrested for with some saying it was for the Friday protests in Baghdad (covering it or participating in it? that's not explained) while others are saying he was arrested for spying on Iraqi officials.

Right now Aswat al-Iraq is reporting:

The American Reporter, Daniel Smith, detained in Iraq since last Friday, has been released on Wednesday by Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who allowed him to continue his reporting from Baghdad, according to a statement by the Prime Minister's Press Freedoms Center's Director.
"Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided on Wednesday morning to release the American Journalist, Daniel Smith, and to allow him continue reporting from Iraq, in response to demands by our Center and other journalists," Ziyad al-Ujeily told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Wow. What a proud moment for the US press which never reported one word about an American arrested in Baghdad. What a proud moment. There's time to mock the Friday protesters, just not time to report an arrest of American citizen in Baghdad?

There's time to show so much stupidity, so much gross stupidity, that you waste everyone's time with a bad report that reads like really bad copy for the local news. In fact, it's so trying to be coy that it's embarrassing. It's not hard news, by any means, but it's also not solid feature writing. It's an embarrassment. The authors are Michael S. Schmidt and Zaid Thaker and before they write again, they might want to grasp that as insulting as the 'style' of their copy is writing about a 'typical' trip to the circus in Baghdad when tickets are $12. With Parliament noting just last week that the number of widows and orphans is again on the rise, with the number living in poverty in Iraq in the millions, you've written a piece about upscale Iraqis -- the ones who've been visiting the country clubs throughout the Iraq War. (CNN reported on them, one of the few that did, and didn't try to disguise them as 'ordinary folk.') The report was insulting on every level and an embarrassment to read:

The crowd erupted in cheers.
The man then ran around the ring, and the Iraqi flag flowed off of his back.
The cheers grew louder. Then the lights dimmed, and the night's performance was over.

Was it over? You mean it wasn't one of those typical marathon circus with a single performance lasting an entire week?

They're in Baghdad. But they didn't cover the US citizen arrested on Friday. Still haven't. I believe we were the first non-Arabic site to note Daniel Smith's arrest. They missed it. They also missed the Friday death of a US soldier. How did that happen? What do they do all day? They're in Baghdad to file reports on a traveling circus? If baby cried the day the circus came to town, maybe it was in part because she'd read the New York Times coverage?

Yesterday, DoD announced Pfc Steven Shapiro had died Friday in Iraq. Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) has a post featuring a photo of the fallen. KXTV News 10 notes that he deployed to Iraq last March. Lake County News observes, "Shapiro's death occurred on the same day that President Obama announced that the remaining US troops in Iraq would be coming home by year's end." Glenda Anderson (Press Democrat) reports that as yet, family members or even former schools haven't been found and that's in part due to the fact that Fort Hood provided the wrong hometown: ". . . Fort Hood officials listed it as Hidden Vallen. There are several towns in California called Hidden Valley." Shapiro's home town was Hidden Valley Lake.

The following community sites -- plus NPR,, the ACLU and CSPAN -- updated last night:

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