Monday, December 17, 2007

Two Fallujah Reporters = Two different Perspectives

One embedded with the civilians.

One embedded with the U.S. Marines.

Which is the more accurate picture? I'd say both are being factual, simply reporting from differing perspectives. Except for one point that Totten brings up in his comment section:
70 percent of Fallujah isn't destroyed. Nor is the city under siege. There is just no way to make those claims honestly if you've been there and know what it's actually like.
Excerpt from Michael Totten's article at Commentary Magazine:
I just returned home from a trip to Fallujah, where I was the only reporter embedded with the United States military. There was, however, an unembedded reporter in the city at the same time. Normally it would be useful to compare what I saw and heard while traveling and working with the Marines with what a colleague saw and heard while working solo. Unfortunately, the other Fallujah reporter was Ali al-Fadhily from Inter Press Services.

Mr. al-Fadhily is unhappy with the way things are going in the city right now. It means little to him that the only shots fired by the Marines anymore are practice rounds on the range, and that there hasn’t been a single fire fight or combat casualty for months. That’s fair enough, as far as it goes, and perhaps to be expected from a reporter who isn’t embedded with the military and who focuses his attention on Iraqi civilians. The trouble is that Mr. Al-Fadhily’s hysterical exaggerations, refusal to provide crucial context, and outright fabrications amount to a serious case of journalistic malpractice.

Some of what al-Fadhily writes is correct. The economy and infrastructure really are shattered. Unemployment is greater than 50 percent, as he says. It’s true that most Iraqis – in Fallujah as well as everywhere else – don’t have access to safe drinking water. But he proves himself unreliable, to put it mildly, after only one sentence: “The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues.”

There is no “siege” in Fallujah.


I suppose it would only be fair if al-Fadhily also covered Totten's piece, the way Totten covered al-Fadhily's; but based upon his past writings, I'd say al-Fadhily is partial to finding every dark cloud attached to a silver lining.

Further reading: Michael Totten's After the Battle of Al-Fajr

Check out the Fallujah bike race.

Also blogging:
Flopping Aces

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Blogger Karen said...

Michael Totten has done some incredible reporting over the course of this war. I think I'd put my money on him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 4:02:00 PM  

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