The best approach to journalism? No. The best approach to suppressing a damning connection to terrorists.
The mainstream media enjoys mocking bloggers as journalistic wannabes who don't do any "real" reporting and have no concern for the "public interest." But as in the case of the Reuters photo-faking debacle this summer, it is bloggers in their little home offices -- not the professionals on the ground thousands of miles away -- who smoked out a war story with profound national security implications. Well before I reported on Hussein's capture, military bloggers and media watchdog bloggers had raised persistent questions over the past two years about Hussein's relationship with terrorists in Iraq and whether his photos were staged in collusion with our enemies. (For a thorough overview, see http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/cat_bilal_hussein.php.)
Hussein's up-close-and-personal insurgent propaganda photos include a Pulitzer Prize-winning image of four terrorists in Fallujah firing a mortar and small arms at our troops in November 2004, several chilling photos with terrorists before, during and after the Iraqi desert execution of kidnapped Italian civilian hostage Salvatore Santoro, and repeat images of Sunni locals in Theater of Jihad poses.
In an investigation of war photo staging and fakery earlier this spring, National Journal's Neil Munro exposed another dubious Hussein photo taken in October 2005 of a purported funeral image outside Ramadi. An accompanying article claimed the U.S. had bombed the crowd including 18 children. But according to the military, video footage of the air strike against terrorist roadside bombers in that incident showed only what appeared to be grown men where the bomb struck. Munro reported: "AP officials declined to make Hussein available for an interview."
The Hussein case may be the tip of the iceberg. In December 2005, AP television footage was used to spread bogus reports (see http://www.rantingprofs.com/rantingprofs/2005/12/who_you_gonna_b.html) of a fake "uprising" in Ramadi. Earlier this spring, independent milblogger Bill Roggio identified another suspicious AP/Hussein-photographed scene in Ramadi (see http://billroggio.com/archives/2006/04/a_street_corner_in_r.php). And blogger Clarice Feldman at The American Thinker recently highlighted an Iraqi intelligence document that bragged about "one of our sources (the degree of trust in him is good) who works in the American Associated Press Agency" (see http://www.americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=6058).
I e-mailed the AP yesterday to find out whether any other AP employees are currently in military detention. The people have a "right to know," don't they?