No new news about newzzzzz......

I can't think of a more perfect example of why the mainstream media hates bloggers than this:

Los Angeles Times editors have edited a Reuters story to remove critical facts supporting the U.S. position on an important international issue.

This morning’s L.A. Times publishes an article about the March 4 shooting by U.S. soldiers of a car bearing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. The shooting killed Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari, and created an international controversy, which strained U.S.-Italian relations.

An important contested issue in the controversy was the speed of the car as it approached a U.S. checkpoint. Sgrena has maintained that the car was traveling at a “regular speed” – no more than 25-30 mph. Americans have said that the car was traveling at least 50 mph.

The L.A. Times story today portrays that critical issue as a still-unresolved queston....

(Via InstaPundit.)

Patterico goes on to prove quite conclusively that:

  • 1. Satellite data confirms the U.S. position that the car was speeding;
  • 2. That this information was included in the original Reuters report; and
  • 3. That the LA Times deliberately edited this out, in blatant violation of its journalistic duties.
  • Not only am I not surprised, I'm so callused to this sort of thing that I feel a bit guilty. My daily paper (the Philadelphia Inquirer) removes critical facts all the time. Sometimes I write about it, but when I do I'm always afraid of boring my readers. Who the hell wants "proof" that the Philadelphia Inquirer engages in selective reporting?

    For what it's worth, the Inquirer also ran a story (AP, not Reuters) with no mention of the satellite data in support the U.S. position.

    Here it is (for what it's worth):

    Italy, U.S. disagree on agent death

    By Nicole Winfield

    Associated Press

    ROME - Italy and the United States said yesterday that they had failed to agree on whether U.S. soldiers were at fault in the death last month of an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq.

    In a statement, the two countries said that their joint investigation into the March 4 death of agent Nicola Calipari had ended and that they could not arrive at any "shared final conclusions."

    The statement said the case had now been referred to authorities in both countries. Italy has launched a criminal inquiry.

    He was killed soon after he had secured the release of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena from insurgents who held her hostage for a month. U.S. soldiers fired on the Italians' vehicle as it neared a U.S. checkpoint. Sgrena and a second Italian agent were wounded.

    U.S. and Italian experts worked for more than a month on the investigation. The killing put increasing pressure on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to withdraw his country's estimated 3,000 troops from Iraq.

    From the start, testimony from the two survivors clashed with the U.S. military's account.

    The Americans maintain that soldiers fired warning shots in the air, then shot at the engine block because the car was speeding. The survivors insist that they saw the beam of a warning light at virtually the same time gunfire broke out. The surviving intelligence agent has testified that he was driving slowly.

    The soldiers had been on high alert because the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, John Negroponte, had been due to pass by.

    "The investigators did not arrive at shared final conclusions even though, after examining jointly the evidence, they did agree on facts, findings and recommendations on numerous issues," the statement said.

    Officials from both countries said relations remained close. "Italy and United States are strong allies and enjoy a close and vibrant friendship, based on shared values and ideals," the statement said.

    Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said there was no way the Italians could have approved of the U.S. version of events.

    "Out of a dutiful homage to Calipari," he told reporters, "and out of an indispensable national dignity that a government must have, the Italian government could not have been asked to sign off on reconstruction of the facts that, as far as we know, does not correspond to what happened that night."

    State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said: "The mark of a strong relationship is to be able to work together to find the areas of agreement, to accept the areas of disagreement, to put them all in the proper perspective, and then to move on."

    He said the Americans soon would release what he called a "unilateral" report based on the joint investigation.

    Is anyone awake? I know how utterly tedious this is, but the key paragraph is this one:
    The Americans maintain that soldiers fired warning shots in the air, then shot at the engine block because the car was speeding. The survivors insist that they saw the beam of a warning light at virtually the same time gunfire broke out. The surviving intelligence agent has testified that he was driving slowly.
    This is where the "evidence" is presented, and the exonerating satellite data should be there. It isn't. Nor does it appear in a longer version of reporter Nicole Winfield's story.

    At least the Inquirer didn't remove critical details from the Nicole Winfield story. However, the Reuters report (the one including the satellite information) was dated April 29, the day before. Surely AP reporters like Nicole Winfield read Reuters? Surely they pay attention to CBS reports (especially when they're picked up by Agence France-Presse)?

    Don't they?


    UPDATE (05/03/05): I see that today's Philadelphia Inquirer is running Tracy Wilkinson's LA Times story -- about which Patterico asks the following questions:

    What’s the reason for the omission? Suspicion of CBS News? Appropriate journalistic skepticism? Partisan politics? Not enough room in the paper? Something else entirely?

    I dunno. I’m askin’ – but they’re not sayin’ . . .

    The same questions could be asked of the Inquirer, of course.

    And I'd additionally like to ask why they seem to be going out of their way to run discredited LA Times stories.

    Might the Inquirer might be reading blogs for pointers in their quest for misguidance?

    I don't know, but I think we'll see more outright contempt for blogs. Open defiance of blogs might confound bloggers, but it should not surprise them. (After all, the "anarchic consequences" identified by Glenn Reynolds cut both ways. Who ever said anarchy was fair?)

    MORE: John Cole has written a very thorough post on a much-neglected issue -- the likelihood that the Italians paid ransom money in one form or another to free Ms. Sgrena. Opines John:

    you simply can not give in to these thugs and murderers. They have to be destroyed, not appeased, paid, or otherwise mollified.
    I couldn't agree more with that.

    posted by Eric on 05.01.05 at 08:01 PM


    Every time I visit this f---ing blog, you manage to ruin my day, you capitulating little f---wadd.

    What the hell difference does it make how fast that damn car was moving? The fact remains that US soldiers fired on an unarmed vehicle containing a journalist that the US goverment wanted dead? This is an atrocity. Since when is it OK to f---ing fire bullets at journalists, you Stalinist prick?

    Instafaggot   ·  May 9, 2005 7:50 AM

    Hasn't anyone told you that trolling isn't the best way to build a blog?

    Eric Scheie   ·  May 9, 2005 9:55 AM

    Oops. You used the "f" word again. Not once but THREE TIMES!

    And once again, the Moral Majority has made me whip out my electronic red pencil and use it on you.

    Sorry but I must do their bidding.


    Eric Scheie   ·  May 9, 2005 10:55 AM

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