Have you noticed that western journalists seem a little two-faced at times? Oh, not just me then.
Over the last few days, I’ve noticed that whenever the Iraqi authorities have claimed something, the BBC/CNN/ABC/whoever journalists are quick to point out that they have no way of verifying the claims. Examples: number of dead in today’s market blast (or even, whether it was a missile or some other cause), or the Iraqi troops said to be active in southern Iraq. Yet, whenever the coalition forces make a claim, the western journalists swallow the whole thing. Examples: Umm Qasr captured (nope, not yet), Iraqi TV stops broadcasting (for about ten minutes), local uprising in Basra (evidence anyone?). In the case of the Basra "uprising", the Daily Telegraph gave the whole of the front page to it today, yet as the day wears on it is becoming increasingly clear that either the uprising was small and quickly quashed by the Iraqi authorities, or it never happened at all.
I appreciate that it is difficult to get objective reports and information. There is a war on after all. But I wish that journalists would be a little more circumspect and remember that information given to them by the coalition military authorities is just as likely to be spun or simply wrong as the information given to them by the Iraqis. Perhaps, if we can not rely on the "independent" media to consider this, it is up to us to be circumspect in our interpretation of what they report.
And, as a reminder: my news sources page may help you get a slightly broader view.
UPDATE: maybe I’ve been a bit harsh. This is a quote from BBC reporter Tim Franks, published on the BBC’s reporters log thingy:
All they have said to us is that they are absolutely 100 percent, copper-bottom certain that there was some sort of uprising. They don’t know its scale, they don’t know where exactly it happened but they are certain there was some sort of disturbance there.
Which suggests that Mr Franks, at least, is not accepting everything he is being told at face value.