THE (NOT SO) INFALLIBLE AP ROBERT By ROBERT BATEMAN - New York Post Online Edition: Seven

Friday, December 08, 2006
THE (NOT SO) INFALLIBLE AP ROBERT By ROBERT BATEMAN - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "In Baghdad, the local AP team has been using a man who calls himself Police Captain Jamil Hussein for more than a year. AP claims he works in the Yarmouk police station on the west side of Baghdad - and he's been a source for several stories on killings of Sunni civilians over the past two years. He was AP's main source for a Thanksgiving-week report that four mosques had been attacked and burned and/or blown up, with six Sunni worshippers burned alive.

But the Iraqi government and the U.S. Army have long warned the AP about its use of 'spokesmen' who don't exist. Indeed this time it appears that there is no such officer in the Iraqi police force in Baghdad. More, they could find no evidence of such an attack (though they did see that one mosque had been hit with some gasoline and had some smoke and scorching damage in the entryway).

Did the AP retract or reinvestigate? Nah. Instead, in a follow-up story a few days later, it simply noted the old (2005) news about efforts to plant Coalition press releases in the Iraqi media, accused the Iraqis of censorship and claimed that it had found three more (anonymous, naturally) witnesses. In effect, AP said that, no matter what the Iraqi police headquarters said, Hussein is one of its spokesmen after all.

Bizarrely, it seems that not even Iraqi Sunni politicians believe the AP story; even the radical Association of Muslim Scholars hasn't embraced the account. But we here are supposed to anyway. After all, AP doesn't make mistakes."

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