April 25, 2004
When I was a little boy growing up around here, Philadelphians had a nickname for the Philadelphia Inquirer; they called it "The Inky."
Cute, isn't it? Anyway, I grew up respecting the paper, because they used to do really cool stuff like this:
Well, the times have changed, and the Inky has changed with the
I don't know how many times I have said this, but I'll say it again: THE STORY IS NOT BEING REPORTED. The Inquirer has not yet answered my calls or emails asking where the story is. Philadelphians do not know that the UN was running on Saddam Hussein money and the worst corruption, for years.
Well, OK, so my local paper appears to guilty of non-reporting the biggest news story of the year. Because I grew up here and knew some of the reporters in the old days, I'd like to bend over backwards and at least play devil's advocate.
Might the Inky be afraid the story is fake? Especially in light of the major news scandals this week, I can understand the reluctance to report stories before all the facts are in. Otherwise, you might look bad, and have to issue retractions, right?
This was all in the back of my mind I turned on my computer this morning and found yet another story of incredibly sloppy journalism: the misidentification of photographs of the Columbia crew's coffins as American war casualties from Iraq. NASA issued this press release to newspaper editors:
Columbia Crew Mistakenly Identified As Iraqi War Casualties
Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes,
Here's a partial list of outlets that were snookered. Apparently, they just picked these up from an antiwar website and didn't do any further checking.Partial list?
Surely the Inky wasn't involved, I thought. I hoped not, because I hate having to search through piles of old newspapers. So, first I went to the Inquirer's web site, where I found the story, which does complain of the government's "crackdown" but which did not feature any of the misidentified NASA pictures.
One of the drawbacks of being a slob is that you have no excuse for not raking through journalistic muck to look for answers. So I dug and I dug, and suddenly VOILA! Paydirt!
Well, but NASA asked the Inquirer's editors to confirm that these pictures in fact showed the Iraq dead. Did they?
Well, sort of. In a later article about sensitivity to families ("Bush stresses privacy in coffin-photo debate"), there's this:
The photos were taken at the Dover base, and most were of flag-draped caskets used by the military to transport remains. But Anderson said yesterday that the photos also included images of the remains of the shuttle Columbia astronauts arriving at Dover, as well as casualties from Afghanistan. A NASA spokesman said that at least 18 rows of photos on the site were of the Columbia astronauts.There's also an accompanying paragraph entitled Clearing the Record:
A caption for a photo showing an honor guard trailing a hearse in yesterday's editions of The Inquirer contained incorrect information. The hearse carried the remains of a shuttle Columbia astronaut.Well, that's all good and fine. But how do you clear a record that doesn't exist?
What intrigues me the most about the retraction is the complaint that the guy who supplied the photos "has not returned phone calls or e-mail."
That's my complaint about the Inquirer!
UPDATE ON "OLD" NEWS: Speaking of Nazi Kurt Waldheim and the UN, I found a real underreported gem from 1998:
By refusing to pay the UN "debt," Congress would not only put a stop to the improper if not illegal practice of misappropriating funds to the UN; it would also acquire additional leverage for forcing tough reforms on that body. The latest UN scandal, uncovered by the New Yorker magazine, is that in 1994 Secretary General Kofi Annan, then director of peacekeeping, ordered UN troops in Rwanda not to intervene to stop a planned genocide campaign that took half a million lives. Annan, a veteran UN bureaucrat, has reacted to the controversy over his role in the genocide by blaming the United States for not doing more to save lives. It appears that much of our "voluntary" assistance to the UN for peacekeeping missions has been wasted.Did part of the money from Saddam Hussein's UN slush fund help pay Kurt Waldheim's pension?
I don't know, but I am not holding my breath in the hope of seeing the story in the Inky!
MORE: I don't know about the status of his pension, but according to this report, Kurt Waldheim is STILL ALIVE.
....Which is more than can be said for Waldheim's Chief of Staff, former Iraqi UN ambassador Ismat Kittani, a Kurd who defended Saddam Hussein's genocide against his own people. (I guess he learned a lot from his UN boss.)
NOTE: email addresses omitted as protection against SPAM.I have never gone to this much trouble to track down an article in the paper.
Anyway, a big welcome to all new readers here from InstaPundit!
UPDATE: Sometimes I think I am living in two separate worlds: the online world and the "real" world. In the online world I take it for granted that I can get the news, even if it means having to sort through various stories, looking past bias here or an inaccuracy there. In the online world I can read news stories saying that UNSCAM is:
the biggest scandal ever to engulf the organisation.In the "real" world of the Philadelphia Inquirer, I see that there is no such scandal, because it is not reported. Yet that same paper then lectures me about "the importance of an informed electorate in a democracy." From today's editorial:
....57 percent of the 1,311 Americans questioned last month still believe that "before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al-Qaeda." That is simply not so. Twenty percent believe Iraq had a direct connection to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Also not so. Thirty-eight percent believe prewar Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.The figure I'd like to see is what percentage of Philadelphians know about the biggest scandal to hit the UN, funded by Saddam Hussein.
The electorate is uninformed all right....
UPDATE: THE REAL WORLD REPLIES! I was amazed to receive the following reply this morning from Marlena Slowik at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
You can imagine how foolish this made me feel. Chagrined, I decided to spend more time, and carefully go through Wednesday's entire paper, paragraph by paragraph.
No luck. The story could not be found. So I replied to the email:
I was starting to think, "Well, I'm out in the slurbs, and maybe this was in a later edition or something. Maybe there is a hard copy."
But then I got this:
-------- Original Message --------"It did not run in the Inquirer."
Nor has it run since.
Philadelphians are not supposed to know about such things. That's because of the "importance of an informed electorate in a democracy."
posted by Eric on 04.25.04 at 02:04 PM
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Inky Doo?:
» Who pays for UN peacekeeping? from Being American in T.O.
Apr. 26 - Eric Scheie started off wondering why the media is ignoring UNSCAM (read through the whole thing which, like all good questions, answers questions unasked) and he follows a path that came up with a link that answers... [Read More] Tracked on April 26, 2004 12:36 PM
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