July 09, 2004


Patterico reports that the LA Times has finally corrected its "Paul Bremer gave no farewell speech" story:

A news analysis about the new Iraqi government in Sunday's Section A stated that outgoing administrator L. Paul Bremer III did not give a farewell speech to the country. His spokesman has since said that Bremer taped an address that was given to Iraqi broadcast media. The spokesman said the address was not publicized to the Western news media.

Not publicized to the Western news media, eh? A whole bunch of bloggers knew about Bremer's speech days in advance of the Times' bitchy front-page piece:

L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year.

Still afraid to look anybody in the eye is the Washington Post, which is yet to apologise for its own no-speech claim. As Patterico writes, these guys need professional help:

Someone at every major paper should be reading blogs. If they did, the papers might learn different points of view. They might pick up stories that are "not publicized to the Western news media."

And they might make fewer errors on their front pages.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 9, 2004 12:59 AM

Someone at every major paper should be reading blogs. If they did, the papers might learn different points of view. They might pick up stories that are "not publicized to the Western news media."

I made that very suggestion to our local (left-leaning) rag, The Dayton Daily News. They hate me.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 9, 2004 at 01:12 AM

I spend half my work day rolling through blog sites. I wonder that the White House and other serious institutions, especially the press don't have a staffer doing the same.

Posted by: fjharris at July 9, 2004 at 01:22 AM

The spokesman said the address was not publicized to the Western news media.

"We didn't get a press release!" That has to be the poorest excuse I've heard in a while. If your journalists can't be arsed to do their own investigating, why are you paying them? Oh, that's right, for their valuable ability of putting anti-Bush spin on any and all stories. Glad we've sorted out your priorities, LAT.

Posted by: PW at July 9, 2004 at 01:22 AM

The spokesman said the address was not publicized to the Western news media.

Excuse me, but aren't outlets like the Washington Post and the LA Times the Western news media? Whose fault is it if they failed to do their job? Were they too busy sitting around in Baghdad hotels to be bothered with actually digging for information (broadcast in plain TV) and reporting the news?


Posted by: Larry J at July 9, 2004 at 01:27 AM

Of course the LAT and the WaPo could've easily have found out about the speech if they'd actually, you know, umh, talked to an Iraqi. But then, maybe Iraqis don't much frequent the bar at that fancy hotel the LAT and WaPo journalists stay at.

Posted by: David Crawford at July 9, 2004 at 01:43 AM

Has anyone gotten a copy of the transcript?

Posted by: Pat at July 9, 2004 at 01:53 AM

The press always finds something to whine about, even when there's unambiguously good news. Unbelievable.

What happened on June 28 surprised the hell out of most Iraqis - they didn't expect the CPA actually to pass control to the interim government, and all of a sudden, they're in charge. The CPA kept its promises to the Iraqis. Bremer's speech was short and sweet - a real gentleman.

God knows we Aussies/Yanks/Brits mustn't be so arrogant as to take pride in a job well done, must we? Sheesh!

Posted by: Butch at July 9, 2004 at 02:18 AM


Hate the Dayton Daily News back! Works for me.

Posted by: Nick at July 9, 2004 at 03:39 AM

Here's a question. How many reporters at the LAT or WaPo speak Arabic? Anyone know how to find an answer?

Posted by: Tim Worstall at July 9, 2004 at 04:15 AM

And here I thought the Iraq correspondents for the major Western media were doing their "reporting" by sitting in the hotel bar watching TV. So much for that theory.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 9, 2004 at 04:19 AM

Perhaps they're watching Cartoon Network or something else just as well-suited to their level of intellectual curiosity.

Posted by: PW at July 9, 2004 at 04:29 AM

Maybe if he'd been carrying a turkey of some sort.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at July 9, 2004 at 04:33 AM

Until the dust settles on this story, I'm going to go on assuming that the Coalition has slunk out of Iraq like a whipped cur-- while simultaneously maintaining the iron-fisted control that makes a hollow mockery of the nominal transfer of power. It's a potent combination.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 9, 2004 at 04:51 AM

Apropos sitting around the bar and talking their translators, Deborah Amos of NPR was interviewed this AM about her tour in Iraq--when asked about good news/progress stories, the reason she gave for not doing them that it was too dangerous to visit the sites where good things were happening.
You GO, girl!

Posted by: RogerA at July 9, 2004 at 04:59 AM

" 'We didn't get a press release!' That has to be the poorest excuse I've heard in a while."

PW, it's worse than that. It's not as though the LAT just missed the speech. They reported that no speech occurred because the theme of Bremer's alleged silence, cowardice, and shame was the *centerpiece* of the article. It was very important to their story that Bremer NOT have given a speech.

Anyone - even a good journalist or blogger - can miss a piece of news. But it takes some true moonbattery to strenously *avoid* the news so that utter falsehoods can be presented as the assumption upon which all the remaining arguments rest. Reminds me of an old saying from graduate school in psych: "Neurotics build castles in the air and psychotics live in them."

Rita Rudner improved the joke by adding, "My mother cleans them." The LA Times reports from them.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 9, 2004 at 05:02 AM

PW, they aren't watching the Cartoon Network. On the Cartoon Network, good fights against evil. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup fight Mojo Jojo, Samurai Jack fights Aku, and Bugs Bunny fights—you get the point.

They aren't even watching C-SPAN.

Posted by: Eric Jablow at July 9, 2004 at 05:45 AM

How expensive would it be to hire a few Iraqi couch potatoes to sit around and watch TV all day, and call the press if anything interesting happens?

Posted by: Xrlq at July 9, 2004 at 05:48 AM

Puts the rest of their reporting from Iraq in perspective. They should have written "we don't have a clue about what's going in Iraq, stopped listening to the 'man on the street' there when they didn't bash Bremmer, are too smug to ask the CPA a simple question: 'did Bremmer make a farewell address?', but at least we are bonafide real journalists, not like those stinking pseudo-journalists on Fox who got the facts of the story wrong but were all wrong on tone." Of course, LAT doesn't care about accuracy, so we got their lame correction instead.

Posted by: Kevin Murphy at July 9, 2004 at 05:49 AM

I keep reading that the world thinks we Americans are too arrogant. They're right, if they're talking about our mainstream press: 'not publicized to the Western media'. So the LAT is now the Western media? Or should that be THE Western media? Sounds pretty arrogant to me. Another reason to get the news that matters from blogs.

Posted by: Retread at July 9, 2004 at 07:14 AM

RogerA: The Deborah Amos story was full of juicy tidbits!

What did she notice about Iraq? Every time she visited, she and her entourage took stricter and stricter security measures; ergo, the violence is getting worse. Not "security is becoming more vigorous;" the "security situation is becoming worse." Apparently worse than when she visited in 1980, when SH was filling mass graves at an average rate of 1 corpse every 40 minutes.

Ms Amos spoke at length about her ability to slap on a hajib & a head scarf, and wander about Baghdad, unrecognized as a Westerner. Why then did she not go to see reconstruction projects?

Her example of the danger that reporters face when they leave their spider holes? Apparently, she had heard that some other reporter, while (shudder) _outside_, heard a gunshot, and that this sound caused this other reporter's driver to lay down on the ground. Oh, the terror.

Deborah Amos flat-out admitted it. Her reporting from Baghdad consisted of reading al-Reuters press releases on the air, interviewing vagrants in a nearby bar, and failing to ask military units for a ride-along. She may as well have been reporting from Bagdad, Arizona.

Posted by: buzz harsher at July 9, 2004 at 09:43 AM

"And they might make fewer errors on their front pages."
Misses the point. They're not "errors" at all--just flat-out lies.

Posted by: Tango at July 9, 2004 at 10:13 AM

Jesus. In my neighborhood I hear gunshots at least once a week. And that's nothing to the neighborhood in Miami that I grew up in -- and it wasn't even one of the worst ones. From what convent did NPR pluck this delicate flower?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 9, 2004 at 12:20 PM