Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ha ha funny, or ha ha sad?

Shocking Twist: Iraqi At Center of Dispute Over AP Source Does Exist -- And Faces Arrest for Talking to Media

If you spend much time in the blogosphere, you are probably aware that prominent winger nutjob Michelle Malkin has been a leading advocate of a conspiracy theory to the effect that one Jamil Hussein, the source AP quoted in a series of stories that bothered the wingnuts, was a figment of AP's imagination. So convinced was Ms. Malkin that this theory was both (a) true and (b) significant that she announced (just yesterday, I believe) that she is heading to Iraq to find Nicole Simpson's real killer the truth. But that isn't the ha ha funny.

Today comes the ha ha funny:
The Associated Press has just sent E&P the following dispatch from Baghdad, as it was about to be distributed on its wire. The existence of Jamil Hussein had been hotly disputed by conservative bloggers, some Iraqi officials and the U.S. military in recent weeks.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.
Khalaf told the AP that an arrest warrant had been issued for the captain for having contacts with the media in violation of the ministry's regulations.
During Saddam Hussein's rule, information in Iraq had been fiercely controlled by the Information Ministry, but after the arrival of U.S. troops in 2003 and during the transition to an elected government in 2004, many police such as Hussein felt freer to talk to journalists and give information as it occurred.


E&P note: As recently as yesterday, Michelle Malkin, the best-known blog critic of Hussein's existence, stated flatly "the fact that there is no police captain named 'Jamil Hussein' working now or ever in either Yarmouk or al Khadra, according to on-the-ground sources in Baghdad. Late this afternoon, she posted part of the AP dispatch above with the comment, "Checking it out. Moving forward...."

Soon there will be the ha ha sad part: Jamil Hussein is going to be punished for proving, yet again, how desperately clueless Michelle Malkin is.

Update -- The wingers beat a hasty and amusing retreat:
Whether Jamil Hussein actually exists is really a secondary issue. The fact that the AP used a single source for dozens of inflammatory stories about atrocities in Iraq that still have yet to find any confirmation is almost as disturbing as making the source up.
Uh huh. And The Administration was never about "stay the course."

Update II: Malkin gets honorable mention in Olbermann's "worst person in the world" competition. And Greenwald goes all nukular on her sorry ass.

Update III: Well y'all might not find this amusing, but I think it is teh funny.

Eason Jordan (who is/was bankrolling Malkin's trip to Iraq):

all the key players in the jamil hussein controversy have been sullied in this process.
jamil hussein made a mistake by waiting six weeks to speak out on this matter.

the ap erred in part by responding in a hot-headed, antagonistic way to questions about the existence of jamil hussein and the credibility of ap reports featuring comments from captain hussein. the ap's harsh statements fueled the suspicions of critics and those who otherwise would give the ap the benefit of the doubt. another mistake: the ap took too long to provide irrefutable evidence of captain hussein's existence.
Helpful translation via Skippy:

so let's get this straight. the asspress made a mistake by refusing to dignify the righty bloggers' insistance that the asspress was lying. sure. if someone says you're lying, and you adamantly insist you're not, you're making a mistake. because if you say you're not lying when you're not lying, you only make the people who think you're lying think you're lying. we see. it all makes sense now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tricks are for kids

I don't think I've ever met a magician who was fooled by his own act, and thought he was actually doing something magical. Nevertheless...

Many humans, all too often of the blogospherically left, seem endlessly fascinated with the tricks pulled by other humans, all too often of the ranting right. The curiousness just continues when the trick fails or is exposed as a trick but fails to lose its audience; it seems all the more fascinating to these people. This might be understandable if we were talking about an audience which ranks in the, oh let's say the bottom third of human intelligence. But right away, when you are talking about people who post on the internet without lots of help from their friends, you are talking about people in the top third.Thus the following question has a lot more pertinence than it might seem to at first glance: Seriously, why are smart people fooled, EVER? Why do YOU watch the show repeatedly?

If we could see that these superior individuals had wrapped up the major pieces of the mystery of their own existence and thus were blessed with lots of "free" time, the idea of "stupid people tricks" as a momentarily entertaining diversion (once) might gain some ground as an explanation. However, as near as I can see, there are few if any of these smart people, remember we are talking of the top third in class here, who have the vaguest idea of how humans (themselves or others) work, never mind all the nasty little corners that each individual reserves for his or her own collection of "things I don't like to think about". How can the pain of being surprised by human behavior time after time be responded to by anything other than a full-out, objective study of human nature? You are smart -- what did you think that intelligence was supposed to be used for? Make no mistake: those of you who find back-biting, gossip and dirty tricks entertaining (even at a distance) are in constant pain. Everyone around you sees your pain, just not you. And it's true that each of the ones who sees your pain also does not see his/her own.

Does anyone ever wonder about what goes through the mind of a lemming as it rushes forward towards the premature end? Who among these geniuses (and that is only partly tongue in cheek as there certainly are geniuses in the top third) is ever fooled for 5 seconds by a Michelle Malkin, or thinks that she is even worthy of 30 seconds of gloating, because "no one would ever take US for being so silly or stupid" as she obviously is? Yet, many people in the top third are gloating right now about how wrong she was. Why? She has NEVER been right, so where's the fun? Has no one learned that you can be wrong EVEN when you are right? Certainly being right is not about wasting one's time finding these poor magicians entertaining, people who can't even fool little kids. Maybe you think I'm displaying some kind of prejudice here, but consider this: Michelle Malkin IS in the top third. She IS one of you. She IS in constant pain and you all can see it. How are you different in fact?

So to the challenge: What is the right thing to do that doesn't wind up being wrong? Where is the discussion, serious or even otherwise (life is a joke after all), of that subject? The religious nutters pretend to own that discusion, but they actually belong to the fraternity of failed magicians. So, what about the top third, you readers out there, you bloggers out there? Where is this discussion to be found? Don't know? Can't find it? START one! At least stop laughing at people whose level you must stoop to in order to laugh or not to cry. Who will respond to my challenge?


3:22 PM  

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