April 9, 2005

Actions speak louder..

Posted by Mary Madigan

The Mudville Gazette* posts on reports that a CBS Cameraman has been arrested in Iraq.

The Mudville Gazette links to CNN. CNN's homepage links to a report that the CBS cameraman has been arrested in Iraq as a suspected insurgent. According to the report his camera contained footage of an insurgent attack on American forces, authorities believe he was 'tipped off'.

[CBS's homepage reports that Bob Barker’s Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular will be featured tonight]

Via CNN:

A CBS stringer has been arrested as a suspected insurgent, U.S. military officials said Friday.

The video cameraman was wounded during a firefight in northeastern Mosul between U.S. troops and insurgents Tuesday.

U.S. military officials said the man's camera held footage of a number of roadside bomb attacks against American troops, and they believe he was tipped off to those attacks…

..In a written statement, the network said the man was referred to the network by a "fixer" in Tikrit "who has had a trusted relationship with CBS News for two years."

"It is common practice in Iraq for Western news organizations to hire local cameramen in places considered too dangerous for Westerners to work effectively," the network said.

"Common practice." Wasn’t it common practice a few years ago for certain Western news agencies to keep bad news about terror-supporting dictators to themselves due to fear of reprisals? It’s not yet clear what this CBS stringer’s involvement was, but one thing is clear – the common practices of western news agencies don't seem to be in the best interests of Iraqi citizens; Iraqi citizens like Hatem Ali Hadi al-Moussawi, Mahdi Sbeih and Samy Moussa, election officials who were dragged from their cars and shot dead by terrorists. An AP photographer snapped surprisingly well-framed, clearly focused photos of the murders. That photograper won a Pulizer Prize for his efforts.

According to the Mudville Gazette, important facts have been “left out” of CBS reports:

CBS original comment on the shooting was buried in another story on Iraq:

A soldier shot an Iraqi freelance reporter and cameraman employed by CBS News, Abdul Amir Younis Hussein, in northeastern Mosul while working. According to what the Pentagon told the CBS News bureau in Washington, Tuesday, Hussein was shot in the hip by a soldier who mistook his camera, which he was using at the time, for a weapon. Hussein is being treated and is expected to make a full recovery.

The original Reuters report:

The cameraman and reporter suffered minor injuries when he was shot while covering a firefight for CBS in Mosul, CBS News said. It asked that the man's name not be reported for his protection.
CBS then promptly released his name in their own report. Reuters again:
The U.S. military said in a statement from Mosul released at the Pentagon that U.S. soldiers had been involved in an engagement with at least one suspected insurgent who was "waving an AK-47 (assault rifle) and inciting a crowd of civilians."

During the incident, "an individual that appeared to have a weapon who was standing near the insurgent was shot and injured. This individual turned out to be a reporter who was pointing a video camera," the military statement said.

Leaving out a fact that could be considered essential:

A US military statement said troops also shot and killed an insurgent who was waving an AK-47 assault rifle and inciting a crowd of civilians at the site of a suicide bombing in eastern Mosul.

That was left out of the CBS report too.

This report from an NBC affiliate attributed to AP adds this: The incident followed a car bombing in Mosul that injured five American soldiers.

According to the Guardian and ABC News International:
[Task Force Freedom, Capt. Mark Walter] said the reporter was detained immediately after the incident, in part because of statements from witnesses to the battle.
Witnesses that were, presumably, Iraqi citizens. The Iraqi people have defied the insurgent/terrorists by turning out by the thousands to protest terrorism, participating in elections, shooting insurgents and spitting on their dead bodies. Many of the insurgents aren’t Iraqis. By their actions, Iraqi citizens have shown that they do not support the terrorists who murder their neighbors and their children.

The phrase the press uses to explain themselves is "values-neutral."

[*Link thanks to dougf]

Posted by Mary Madigan at April 9, 2005 9:36 AM

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