Monday, December 27, 2004

AP: Accomplices of Terrorists?

The Belmont Club has more on that suspicious AP photo of terrorists killing two Iraqi election workers. It seems the AP photographer, whose identity the AP is keeping secret, was tipped off by terrorists that there would be a "demonstration," which is why he was on-hand to photograph the execution.

While it seems unfair to criticize the photographer for simply capturing the "demonstration" on film, one has to ask what responsibility these journalists have to prevent such things from happening if they have foreknowledge. Did the photographer know what the "demonstration" would entail? Probably not. But did he have the duty to warn Iraqi authorities that a "demonstration" of some kind was going to take place? Absolutely.

Then there is the fact that the printing of the photo in question undoubtedly helps terrorists do what they do best: spread fear and terror.

I'm of two minds. On one hand, I think it's important to know the atrocities that terrorists are committing. It can only steel our resolve to wipe them off the face of the earth. On the other hand, reporting on their actions is exactly what they want. As a result, journalists and terrorists feed off each other, in ever more bitter-tasting bite-sized pieces.

Part of the entry at The Belmont Club addresses this comment at Power Line, which was apparently a response to this earlier entry at The Belmont Club.
AFP, AP and AP TV had advance notice of the murders of contractors in Fallujah last spring, so that they could position themselves on scene.

The Fallujah case is particularly interesting, because it involves one of the same organisations (AP). Apparently the reporters were tipped to go to a specific location. They were not told exactly what would take place, but they knew it was going to be a terrorist action of some type. For security reasons, the terrorists give the reporters very little notice -- just enough to get there, if everything goes right.

They were told exactly what street corner to be on, where they would be expected by and under the protection of the terrorists. ("If you're anywhere else, we can't guarantee your safety.") The AFP writer and photographer got to the scene "in time" to get photos of the tag end of the fight. The AP van, held up by the TV crew, was late to the scene and had trouble finding it at first. When AP arrived, the fighting was over, the Americans were dead and their vehicles were being set afire.

After the contractors were dead and their bodies looted, the reporters stayed and encouraged the mob that had gathered to mutilate the bodies. I am told by our Arabic speakers that they can be heard egging the youths on during the video of the mutilations. "Go ahead, cut him up. What are you afraid of?" I don't believe that they are motivated by anti-American animus -- after all, there were plenty of Americans like Kos that took delight in those murders -- but by professional considerations. They need shocking video to win the daily news cycle. If they can't get it, they'll manufacture it.

If this is true -- if the reporters actually encouraged the mutilation of the bodies, the reporters deserve nothing less than to be charged as accomplices to the crime.


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