Sunday, December 03, 2006

AP and fauxfacts

I've just come across this one. You will remember that after the November 23rd bombings in Sadr City, the Shi'ite reaction seemed to confirm that sectarian violence had become so implacable and widespread that 'civil war' seemed the only proper label. Two of the stories that built that picture were picked up by AP and spread across the world. According to one, four Sunni mosques had been burnt to the ground; the other told of 6 Sunnis handcuffed, tortured and burnt alive.

Curt at Flopping Aces looked a little deeper, his curiosity piqued by the source of both these sources, police Capt. Jamil Hussein. It turns out that Capt. Hussein has been a very fruitful source for AP at least since April reporting on nine incidents of violence, all, as it happens, involving violence by Shi'ites on Sunnis. It also turns out that not only was there no confirmation of this last incident from any other source (and it was contradicted by the US military), but that police Capt. Hussein's existence is ... problematical. As is another of AP's much quoted sources.

Go here for Curt's full investigation and here for Jules Crittenden's commentary. Pajamas Media's Blog Week in Review has Richard Fernandez and Glen Reynolds to comment on the AP Affair.

(via Instapundit)

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