Part of the problem with the whole “liberal media” trope is that journalists themselves sometimes buy into it. It’s good to see that they’re starting to throw it back in the accusers’ faces.
A few days ago, an honorary member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders wrote this unbelievably horrible column, which sounds like it was ripped from one of the less literate denizes of Little Green Footballs:
Is NBC wrong and the Marines right? Americans deserve both sides to make up their minds.
“The Najaf shrine — HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left,” Rose wrote. “They (Sadr’s supporters) rounded them up during the battle and brought them in to be executed. Why? Because they anticipated the Americans would eventually enter the shrine and walk into a media ambush. We never went in. The people of Najaf love us right now because of that. They hate Sadr and want him dead.
“Have you heard that one yet (in the media)?”
No we haven’t. We just get one side. That’s bad journalism — by a news media acting in concert with Kerry.
I’d really encourage you all to go straight to Romenesko’s Letters to read the unending smackdown of this stupid, tacky little man. Here’s a taste of what they had to say to his smug, self-serving, and completely wrongheaded bloviating:
9/30/2004 8:23:10 PM
From ALEX BERENSON: I covered the battle of Najaf for the New York Times. I was embedded at a Marine base in Najaf and saw the battle from its third day to its finish. I was at the shrine the day the battle ended and a ceasefire was declared. I can tell you firsthand that the report Tim Chavez supposedly received from a Marine lieutenant colonel claiming that “HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left” the shrine of Imam Ali is entirely false. Does he really think that the correspondents on the scene would have covered that up, or that the Iraqi government and the American military would not have broadcast that fact around the world?
Tim, let me ask you directly: Have you ever been a reporter? Do you have any idea what makes a good story? The massacre of hundreds of women and children inside a sacred Muslim shrine would have been front-page news worldwide for days. We didn’t report it because it never happened. There were almost no women and children, living or dead, anywhere near the shrine by the time the battle ended. We did get — and write about — reports that Sadr’s guys had tortured and killed a handful of Iraqi police officers and other people unfortunate enough to run afoul of the Mahdi Army.
I don’t know where Lt. Col. Jim Rose is getting his information (or if he exists at all), but it isn’t from the 1-4 Marine battalion in Najaf, or the 1-5 or 2-7 Cav, which also fought down there. If you want to check for yourself, Tim, I can send along some names and even a couple email addresses for you. We call it reporting in this business.
Most of the rest of your piece is equally fictitious. But I don’t really want to get into a long political debate. I’ll stick to what I saw with my own eyes.
I have no love for the Mahdi Army. They took me captive and almost killed me that day. Maybe that’s why I’m a bit exercised about the fact that you’re telling me what really happened in Najaf, based on an email from a guy who apparently was never there either.
Tim, your piece is a disgrace. You ought to apologize for it to the correspondents who are risking their lives on the ground in Iraq. I’m back home now, so I can write this in safety and peace. But I’d urge you to head on over. Spend a few weeks on the ground for yourself. And then decide whether the picture we’ve painted is accurate.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Foreign correspondents in Iraq deserve respect for what they’re trying to do, mostly over the objections of the Bush administration. Tim Chavez is a small-minded couch jockey who should shut up or ship out.