Still Asking the Question... Who is Jamil Hussein?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 08, 2006 1:24 PM

I wrote in the Examiner today on the AP's as-yet unproduced Iraqi Police source for the "burning six" story of two weeks ago:

This is a simple source problem. The AP relied on only one source, and one source with credibility problems, for an extremely inflammatory story, then scrambled to add corroborations after the story was questioned.

Had I done the same at the Buford Enterprise-Herald (circ. 9,000), I would have been called to the ink-stained carpet in the editor’s windowless office next to the pressroom. The elderly lady who writes the “Cooking on a Budget” column would have shaken her head at me for endangering the reputation of the paper. I would have been expected to answer the concerns of my editors and my readers by producing my sources if need be.

Just because the story is bigger, the impact greater, and the game more dangerous in Iraq does not mean that the journalistic obligation to the truth changes. If anything, it becomes more important to assure far-away readers that reporting on far-away lands is accurate.

But the world’s most elite professional journalists don’t agree. They like to think notebooks and pens, and even truth, are made especially for them, delivered in little velvet-lined boxes alongside their j-school diplomas. Anyone who would dare question their sole proprietorship thereof certainly has ulterior motives.

He's a named source. Produce him. Simple as that. Michelle's still on the case, too. And, Mark Steyn took it to the AP on last night's O'Reilly.