Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good news for Troy Gilbert's family; the idiot Tim Arango

KCBD reports the family of Major Troy Gilbert has learned that the Pentagon will "resume" their search for Gilbert who died in Iraq while using his plane to provide cover for US soldiers on the ground who were under attack. When his plane crashed, fighters took Gilbert's body from the plane and a year later, in 2007, his body showed up as a prop in a propaganda video. Ariel Walden (KFYO) reports that his parents received the news last Friday. Jim Douglas (WFAA) offers a video report on the news, speaking with the parents, widow Ginger Gilbert Ravella and government officials. Excerpt.

Jim Douglas: The last time we saw Kaye Gilbert she was crying because the government told her that her son's case was closed, that no one would look for the remains of Major Troy Gilbert in Iraq.

Kaye Gilbert: Please, please help us get him home.

Jim Douglas: Now they will.

Kaye Gilbert: You cry when you're sad and you cry when you're happy. But today is a happy, happy day.

Jim Douglas: Air Force and MIA officials told the Gilbert's their son's case is so extraordinary that an Undersecretary of Defense to give it special consideration. The first time that's ever been done.

So they've reopened the search. And did so Friday. So if I had, for example, blathered on about how someone else was the last missing MIA on Sunday, if I'd embarrassed myself like that, if I'd flaunted that much ignorance, I'd need apologize right now. So Lara Jakes, Luis Martinez and Hannah Allam, we can expect your corrections and apologies when? (If you're late to the party, see the opening of "And the war drags on . . ") One of you's already whined to me so let me share with all three of you: Your little hurt feelings don't trump the Gilbert family's very real pain. And you should had that in mind when you were reporting Sunday.

From bad press to really bad press, Tim Arango of the New York Times. You know if you're not really trained in hard news, if you come from feature writing, you might think that you'd take some care with your writing, especially if you've been publicly spanked by your paper's public editor for you're one-sided report. But apparently Tim Arango looks forward to having his pants taken down and being taken over the knee. (You sort of picture him as Harvey Korman in High Anxiety whining, "Too much bondage! Not enough discipline!")

His latest garbage is pure trash. It's probably the worst thing he's put his name to thus far. (And remember, we called out his one-sided Camp Ashraf report weeks before the public editor did.) It's called "Iraq's Prime Minister Gains More Power After Political Crisis" and classified as "MEMO FROM BAGHDAD" which is good because it does read like stenography.

We've noted, many times, that domestic reporters appear to confuse the campaign (a method of getting elected) with covering what a candidate stands for. They do it because it's cheap and easy and it doesn't tax them. They take gossip and put it into print (or on air) and it saves them having to read over actual proposals from the candidate and to fact check them. Anyone can cover the horse race -- look at the brain dead writers of The Nation magazine. It's infantile, uninformed and of no value. And it's cheap. And that's why it's all over the media.

Timmy wants to take that approach and apply it to foreign correspondence.

Which is why an article that tells of a further slide towards authoritarianism is instead treated as "Nouri's up!" In fact, why did they print any of this crap? Why not just reduce it to Newsweek's old pattern of an up or down arrow with a brief sentence to explain who's hot and who's not?

Tim Arango hopes you're floundering in a pool of reality the same way he is. Chances are, if you're even treading water, you're doing far, far better than he is. Which is really underscored when he starts telling you what Iraqis think. There is extrapolating and there is lying.

Arango coming from 'soft' coverage (features) may not grasp that you can't just say Iraqis feel something. You need to be able to back it up. And in a country of at least 28 million a few pull quotes doesn't do that. In fact, to speak on behalf of Iraqis, you need a poll. Tim Arango has none. But he's happy to put index fingers against his temples and channel what he just knows is inside the hearts and minds of Iraqis.

They cheer Nouri -- or at least the Shi'ites do -- for becoming more authoritarian.

Has greater crap ever been written?

I think Arango's gone so far beyond what anyone else has done on Iraq that he's now the bastard spawn of Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon.

Facts can't constrain him, nothing can. He rushes dementedly through his piece never grasping that he's not writing a cover story for Groovy Dictators of the World but supposedly supplying a piece for the New York Times.

Gristle chest is so busy identifying up that he forgets he shouldn't be fawning and gushing in print over a dictator.

He quotes garbage from the Institute for the Study of War (of course) and ignores human rights. You know, if I were the New York Times and so damn busy trying to sell war on Syria, Iran and a multitude of others, and if I were using "human rights" as my cover, I think I'd tell my correspondents to get it through the thick heads that we're stressing human rights in every article as opposed to fawning over dictators.

To Tim Arango, secret prisons and three branches of government reduced to one is reason to strip down to his BVDs and make like Richard Gere in King David running through the streets.

He cites the Washington Institute for Near East Policy because, apparently, AIPAC was on another call.

This is a horrible piece of garbage. A grown up writes "Iraq outlook looks dim after pullout" (Joel Brinkley, POLITICO). A cranky child churns out what Timmy did. It may be time for the paper to notify their staff that reporting is not about amusing themselves but about conveying realities. And the paper may need to explain to Timmy that his sexual interests are something to entertain himself with, not to push off on the paper. His reign in Baghdad is characterized by non-stop worship of power abused. He oversaw the 'congratulations' to Nouri on the way Nouri's forces behaved February 25, 2011. If you've forgotten, 16 people were killed that day, Nouri's forces attacked journalists, kidnapped journalists and tortured journalists. A story Liz Sly took to the Washington Post and Kelly McEvers took to NPR but one that the New York Times never saw as 'news fit to print.' There's a pattern here, a well established one.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Antiwar.com and Adam Kokesh -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office issued the following about this morning's Committee hearing:

Monday, Februay 27, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834

TOMORROW: Murray to Push Deense Secretary Panetta on Pentagon Oversight in PTSD Diagnoses

Murray will also question Panetta on proposed FY 2013 cuts and their impact on DOD

(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, will attend a hearing on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request for the Department of Defense. The Committee will hear testimony from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. Sen. Murray will question Secretary Panetta about the Pentagon's handling of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnoses, specifically as it relates to the recent controversy surrounding the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state.

WHO: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey

WHAT: Examination of President's FY 2013 Budget Request for Dept. of Defense
Focus on PTSD Diagnoses Oversight, FY 2013 Cuts

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building -- Room 608

When: Tomorrow -- Tuesday, February 28, 2012
9:30 AM EST/ 6:30 AM PST

Megan Roh
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

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