AP calls cold-blooded murder "firefight"

WikiLeak’s release of U.S. military video showing U.S. soldiers murdering a group of unthreatening men — including two Reuters employees — as they stood in an Iraqi street offers a rare opportunity to compare objective reality against what journalists reported.

Immediately after the murders, the military spread lies, and The Washington Post dutifully repeated those lies, almost verbatim.

But the media’s response to the release of this video is even more scandalous. First, this news has been — predictably — buried under a pile of junk news. When hard evidence emerges showing U.S. soldiers eagerly murdering civilians and journalists, that should be the headline in every paper across America. But I can’t find any mention of it at Google News' main page. And it’s not among MSNBC’s 50+ front-page stories that include these hot stories:

  • Will jotting down license plates pay the rent?
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  • Scoop: NYT doesn’t seem to understand ‘Idol’
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  • Rate ’em! How did the stars do on ‘Dancing’?
  • Tidbits: Jon’s ex calls ‘Bombshell’ trash
  • Battle of the behemoths: ‘Dancing’ vs. ‘Idol’
  • Air-travel etiquette in the 21st century
  • Aspen Mountain extends ski season by 2 weekends

MSNBC judges these stories more important than video showing U.S. soldiers enthusiastically murdering unarmed journalists.

And look at how the story has been covered.

AP frequently misleads readers by slanting articles in pro-military, pro-Republican ways. True to form, AP titled its article “AP source confirms video on Internet of firefight where Reuters photographer believed killed” and then re-uses the word “firefight” in the second paragraph. No! It was not a “firefight”!

“Firefight” is defined as: “An exchange of gunfire, as between infantry units,” “(Military) a brief small-scale engagement between opposing military ground forces using short-range light weapons”

  • There was no exchange of gunfire.
  • There was no engagement.
  • There was no opposing military force. Most or all of the men killed appeared unarmed.
  • The U.S. military didn’t engage with short-range light weapons. It attacked without warning from attack helicopters perhaps miles away.
  • Even if some of the men were armed (which I doubt), the second-round attack — on a Good Samaritan with two kids in his van who tried to get the wounded journalist to a hospital — had absolutely nothing in common with a “firefight”!

By repeatedly calling the massacre of civilians a “firefight,” AP lies to readers, tricking them into thinking, “OK, we killed some bad guys who were attacking us.”

The article does say “some of [those killed] were unarmed,” but its phrasing implies some killed had weapons when it’s doubtful any of those attacked had weapons. If weapons had been found, the military would have eagerly told reporters. The U.S. military may have succeeded in murdering the only group of completely unarmed men in Iraq, and much of the U.S. media is ignoring or misrepresenting the story.

Posted by James on Tuesday, April 06, 2010