"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lions - Or Just Lyin'? 

I agree wholeheartedly with Jeanne:
In order to tell a story, it helps if you have some understanding of (and sympathy for) human emotions. CNN doesn't.

The gist of their story: If a man was sodomized and refuses to talk about it on camera, in front of millions of people, he must be lying.

Yeah, that's the only explanation.

She's referring to this CNN video (transcript available here), which I happened to see broadcast. While I am generally inclined to think of ACLU lawyers as being particularly careful about their factual allegations, I remain somewhat skeptical that prisoners were actually thrown to the lions (call it the triumph of hope over experience). That said, however, this piece is notable mostly for the thinly disguised contempt that reporter Tom Foreman holds for Thahe Mohammed Sabbar, the Iraqi detainee behind the most shocking allegations in the ACLU suit. I appreciate that good journalism depends on a healthy dose of skepticism (something which CNN seems to forget if the speaker should happen to be, say Dick "Dick" Cheney), but this report struck me as being over the top.

And where was that famous journalistic skepticism when Donald Rumsfeld declaimed as follows:
It seems quite farfetched. People are -- obviously, every -- everything that everyone alleges is looked into. But you have got to keep in mind that the -- the documents that were found, I believe in Manchester, train people, terrorists, to lie about their treatment. And they do it consistently. And it always works.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Mr. Sabbar was released from custody. He is, apparently, not a "terrorist" (whatever that means in this context), but rather an innocent Iraqi who got caught up in the horror. So, then, I wonder - even if it is so that al Qaeda operatives are trained to lie, what the hell does that have to do with Mr. Sabbar? And where was Mr. Foreman's cold journalistic detachment, when he failed to note this problem with Rumsfeld's comments?

I tell ya, it's enough to make me wonder what ever happened to the liberal media.




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