Nobody should be surprised when the MSM takes an anti-American angle on just about anything that is printed in the press today. Surprise is mostly reserved for articles that are fair and objective.
Thus I was typically disappointed when I opened the AP section of Yahoo News and was confronted with “World opinion divided on Saddam sentence”. However, as I read the article I was stunned at how willing the writer was to allow questionable claims to go unchecked by those opposed to the War in Iraq and U.S. foreign policy. (Update - The AP Rolled the article off the wires so I replaced the link with an ABC news copy).
There is rarely a time where a statement by Republicans or President Bush is left to hang without the typical “yeah but” rebuttal. Yet the Associated Press has reached a new low in unprofessional reporting as they allow the following quotes to hang as if they were accepted dogma; which may in fact be the case for the reporter on this story. (all emphasis mine)
-- "This is not the way to present the new Iraq to the world, which is different from Saddam, who was behind hundreds of thousands of deaths as well as death penalty sentences," said Hands Off Cain, an Italian organization working to rid the world of capital punishment.
-- "Who will punish the Americans and their lackeys who have killed many more people than Saddam Hussein?" asked Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a senior lawmaker from the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition, which is critical of Pakistan's military cooperation with the United States.
-- "Saddam is being judged by traitors, Americans and Iranians, and those who came on the backs of American tanks," said Mahmoud al-Saifi of the Arab Liberation Front.
-- Amnesty International questioned the fairness of the trial, and international legal experts said Saddam should be kept alive long enough to answer for other atrocities.
-- "The longer we can keep Saddam alive, the longer the tribunal can have to explore some of the other crimes involving hundreds of thousands of Iraqis," said Sonya Sceats, an international law expert at the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank in London.
"The problem really is that this tribunal has not shown itself to be fair and impartial — not only by international standards, but by Iraqi standards," she said.
Talk about lacking standards. The AP has done away with them all together.
Accounts vary on the estimated number of people killed under Saddam Hussein, from up to a million in a 2003 New York Times article to somewhere between 1 and 2 million according to others. In most cases these numbers are imprecise because there was not any way to check the results while Hussein was in power. So by all estimates we should expect the numbers to go higher as more evidence is uncovered in a post Hussein Iraq. You will also note that the number of deaths attributable to Saddam Hussein usually do not include the number of people who were killed because of aid that the corrupt regime withheld from Iraqi men, women and children that was provided under the oil for food program.
So I get thrown back a bit when I see quotes like “hundreds of thousands of deaths” thrown out there with nary a mention of documented numbers. Worse, let’s suppose that this lower number is accurate as it doesn’t include people killed during the Iran-Iraq war. That’s fair in some corners. How does that remotely justify the drive by quote that states “Americans and their lackeys who have killed many more people than Saddam Hussein?”.
Finally, when was the last time you saw the MSM quote a Muslim who denounced terrorism? These people have to exist if only a small percentage of the billions of Muslims support terrorism. Yet news outlets such as the AP only appear capable of finding quotes from Islamic radicals that threaten America.
"The hanging of Saddam Hussein will turn to hell for the Americans," said Vitaya Wisethrat, a respected Muslim cleric in Thailand, which has its own Islamic insurgency in the country's south.
"The Saddam case is not a Muslim problem but the problem of America and its domestic politics," he said. "Maybe Bush will use this case to tell the voters that Saddam is dead and that the Americans are safe. But actually the American people will be in more danger with the death of Saddam."
Objective reporting? You be the judge.
The article is not so much about divided world opinion as it is an anti-American diatribe from those who oppose the United States. In my book it is simply a case of unprofessional journalistic manure.
This article has been crossposted at Webloggin.