Haditha: Backtrack, Baby, Backtrack

Posted: Jun 12, 2006 10:04 AM

The press is backing off its original tone and some of its facts on the Haditha incident, and I'm keeping track of it in my Townhall column today:

This week, the media is backing off of its original tone, and it's time to highlight corrections so they don't end up being relegated to the back of the paper and the back of people's minds. So, I give you the Top 3 things to remember about Haditha that the press would like you to forget.

1. Oops, Time After Time...

2. Context Come Lately...

3. The Nature of the Enemy

There's much more, including a handful of huge mistakes by Time, the organization that broke the story. Go read the whole thing and make me look good for the boss when he's checking the stats!

And big hat tip to all the bloggers working on this story. I mentioned Mudville, Sweetness and Light and California Conservative in the column, but there are many more.

UPDATE: One of the points Time has corrected is this one:

In the original version of this story, TIME reported that "one of the most damning pieces of evidence investigators have in their possession, John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told Time's Tim McGirk, is a photo, taken by a Marine with his cell phone that shows Iraqis kneeling — and thus posing no threat — before they were shot."

While Sifton did tell TIME that there was photographic evidence, taken by Marines, he had only heard about the specific content of the photos from reports done by NBC, and had no firsthand knowledge. TIME regrets the error.

I accused Time of slandering troops by ascribing a pretty horrific atrocity to them without proper sourcing on it, but Allah Pundit notes that CNN has seen the pictures and he has thoughts on whether they can be dismissed:

The first item listed, in particular, sounds somewhat similar to what Sifton described (depending upon whether the victims were facing towards the wall or away from it). Which, again, doesn’t excuse Time’s mistake, but it does mean that the claim can’t be dismissed out of hand...

Update: On the other hand, if any of the photos showed Iraqis kneeling — specifically, in the case of the first image listed, kneeling facing the wall — wouldn’t CNN have played up that fact to the hilt? And even if they did, what would it prove? Wuterich admits that they fired into the room through a cloud of smoke; some of the people inside might have been frightened enough to start praying when they heard the Marines barge into the house and might have ended up being struck by gunshots while in that position.

More on the pictures, here.