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Sunday, June 11, 2006 

Scurrilous Notes

Witch-hunting season over at Half-Assed Notes:
"Michael Jansen's Bad Reporting
From Iraq, as the good news broke:

Joy filled Baghdad's hot streets, as gun shots sounded through the air, and cars packed with overjoyed Iraqi's roamed the streets. Iraqis were sharing sweets with people outside their homes. Civil organizations paraded as they condemned violence chanting "death to Zarqawi and Saddamites." Thursday's celebrations could be compared to the jubilation in Baghdad's streets the day Saddam Hussein was captured.

Michael Jansen of the Irish Times seems less enthused. Writing the day after Zarqawi overdue demise, at a time when the news was being universally hailed in the English speaking mainstream as a significant success, Jansen ran with the absurdly pessimistic headline "Fears killing may lead to retaliatory attacks". After duly flagging the fact that not even the killing of al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq would squeeze a positive headline out of his column, Jansen choose to prejoratively describe Zarqawi's demise as an 'assassination', as if there had been something illegal or immoral about the overdue killing of that terrorist butcher."
First off, "assassination" is the accepted description of the targeted killing of a specific individual; which is exactly what happened to the late unlamented Zarqawi (and, advice to Mr. Waghorne: "strike" is a term which gives away the user's knowledge of military matters as coming entirely off American cable news). Dickie can look it up in the dictionary (if he so wants), where he will discover that no such pejorative meaning (as he rests his case on) hangs on the word.

Mr. Waghorne is unfortunately also going to need to expand his list of al'Qaeda sympathisers to include the Iraqi government, who ordered a curfew in Baghdad on the strength of - you guessed it, fears of retaliation. Again:
"Nor is Jansen much better on facts. He writes:
"Buoyed by the elimination of Zarqawi, Iraq's parliament confirmed the nominees of Mr Maliki to three key posts which were not filled when he presented his cabinet three weeks ago"
but as most will know, the posts were filled before Zarqawi was killed, not afterwards."
The BBC:
"Shortly after the Zarqawi announcement, the Iraqi parliament approved Mr Maliki's nominees for the key posts of defence and interior ministers.
The two crucial roles had remained unfilled despite the formation of a coalition government last month. "
Need we add more?

The Witchfinder-General then goes on to finish:
"Jansen concludes, calling the killing "a politico-military and propaganda coup". That he cannot, in a thousand word article, bring himself to join the chorus of relief and approval is genuinely revealing. Jansen's factually wrong and politically charged reporting is only intelligible as the output of a man who genuinely regards the beheadings and bombings in Iraq as the work of a home-grown, quasi-legitimate resistance against foreign occupation, one worthy of some sympathy.
Jansen has not, in any of his many pieces for the Irish Times, once reported that the UN mandate for the coalition troops is worth supporting. Nor has he once argued that Iraq's democratic government is the true and legitimate voice of that nation. He has yet to call for the unequivocal suppression of the terrorism in that country. He is, in short, an apologist of the al-Qaida/Ba'athist insurgency in that country. That the Irish Times continue to print his chronically unreliable and political unacceptable pieces is a stain on the paper's reputation. If he had any integrity he'd apply to al-Jazeera where he belongs."
A real journalist simply reports the facts, ma'am. That Dickie doesn't accept that the press shouldn't be Pravda-like (or indeed Fox News-like) in reporting - well, state propaganda - says a lot about this neo-Magill and Oirish Daily Mail 'contributor'. And the characteristic sneering reference to al-Jazeera - the only serious independent media in the Arab world, mind you - speaks volumes too.

Oh, and we nearly forgot. Michael Jansen is actually a member of the fairer sex, so to speak (we can helpfully provide sketches if Dickie has trouble identifying one). Not only that, but she happens to be a very distinguished journalist:

Michael Jansen is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the American University of Beirut with specialization in the politics of the Middle East. She has since worked as a regional correspondent for the Irish Times [Dublin], Middle East International [London] and the Deccan Herald [Banglagore, India]. She also contributes columns to other publications including the Jordan Times [Amman] and is the author of The United States and the Palestinian People [1970], The Battle of Beirut [1982 and 1983], The Aphrodite Plot [1983] which deals with the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, and Dissonance in Zion [1986]. Following the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon, Jansen took refuge in Cyprus, where she has lived since 1976.

The contrast with the résumé of Mr. Waghorne could not be more striking, we think readers will agree. Perhaps Dickie should make an effort to get his own facts straight (such as the sex of his target, even) before penning articles condemning "bad reporting". But we won't be holding our breath waiting.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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