Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bloggers, the thorn in the side of the MSM.

Patterico has this on a LA Times article on Murtha:

I heard back from General Hagee’s office yesterday regarding my inquiry about when Gen. Hagee briefed John Murtha about Haditha. The bottom line: Gen. Hagee’s office has directly contradicted an assertion by the L.A. Times that Gen. Hagee briefed John Murtha on Haditha before Murtha accused Marines of killing civilians in cold blood. Gen. Hagee’s office confirmed to me that the General’s first briefing to Murtha took place a week after Murtha had already made his public accusations.

The background is here. Briefly, Murtha made public statements on May 17 in which he accused Marines of killing civilians at Haditha “in cold blood.” On May 26, the L.A. Times reported that Gen. Hagee had briefed Murtha before his May 17 statements:

Hagee last week briefed key congressional leaders on the upcoming report. One of those, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel, said later that Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

I have bolded the word “later” to emphasize what The Times claimed: first, Hagee briefed Murtha, and then “later,” Murtha made the “in cold blood” accusation.

Based on news reports, I suspected this was wrong. Murtha’s “in cold blood” statement was made on May 17, and I believed that Gen. Hagee had briefed Murtha well after that. Later news reports — in particular this one from Reuters — appeared to confirm my suspicions.

But when I wrote the L.A. Times Readers’ Representative, she insisted that The Times’s report had been accurate, despite my having provided her with evidence to the contrary, including the Reuters story. Some suggested that Reuters might have gotten the story wrong, or overlooked an angle. So I contacted Gen. Hagee’s office directly.

Read the rest.

Perhaps papers should just start going with a generic retraction: "We regret the error. We were caught by the bloggers again."

I know that Rueters and the AP are thinking of Little Green Footballs every time they decide on a photo to use now. Scrutiny is a whole new way of thinking to them now.

If bloggers accomplish nothing else, we will bring back some integrity to the msm, even if it is just by keeping an eye on them.

via Ace