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The Easy Way

By Bill Roggio | January 8, 2006

The Washington Post has printed corrections to the article Bloggers, Money Now Weapons in Information War - U.S. Recruits Advocates to the Front, Pays Iraqi TV Stations for Coverage:

A Dec. 26 article misstated the accreditation of Web journalist Bill Roggio when he was embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq. He was accredited by the Weekly Standard. The article said that Roggio was embedded with the Marines at the time of publication, but Roggio had returned to the United States. The article also described Roggio as a retired soldier; he served four years on active duty and two years with the National Guard, which is short of the 20-year minimum for retirement.

The Washington Post has rightly corrected the record on the three minor factual errors, but has chosen to ignore the larger issues: how was my media accreditation any different from that of any other reporter who has been embedded, including those at The Washington Post; and why was my reporting “folded... into a story about military propaganda”, as Ron Brynaert, of the left-of-center webzine The Raw Story, states. Or, as The National Review's Stephen Spruiell puts it, “used recent news reports about U.S. military information operations to try to discredit... a pro-U.S. Blogger.”

This isn't a matter of a blogger raging against the media. This isn't an issue of left versus right, or a supposed conservative writer versus a perceived liberal newspaper. Despite any disagreement I have with Jonathan Finer and Douglas Struck's article, I continue to read the The Washington Post and source their articles within my work. For example, consider my latest article on the reaction of Sunnis towards the suicide attack on a police recruiting center in Ramadi.

The issue is purely a matter of fairness; a matter of correcting the record on a blatantly misleading article about the nature of my embed in Iraq.

I've received numerous emails from self proclaimed “liberals”, “progressives” and “pretty-far left persons” dissatisfied with the Washington Post. While the authors openly state they disagree with my position on the war, they agree the Washington Post's was highly misleading and unjust. The following two examples are characteristic of the emails I have received:

As a pretty-far left person, I'd like to offer my sympathies for the slam by the Washington Post. It was totally uncalled for--any reader of your blog can tell right away that your reporting, whether one disagrees with it or not, is sincere and done to the best of your abilities and knowledge. I'm not sure why they used you as an example for 'propaganda' when your writing is done independently of anyone's financial support.

And:

I saw an article over on rawstory.com today about your experiences with the Washington Post misrepresenting your actions with respect to going to Iraq. You would think that with all the criticism of the mainstream media from BOTH the Right and the Left, they would start getting their act together, but no. At the very least, they could correct their errors. As a liberal, I was glad to see the progressive Raw Story write about the misrepresentation of you by the Post.

When challenged by readers from all segments of the political spectrum, the Washington Post responded by offering “the very least” in making simple corrections, and skirted the real flaw of the article: there was absolutely no association between my embed and any military information operation as both the title and the body of the article imply.

Reference

Listed below are links that reference The Easy Way:

» al-WaPo issue's feeble "correction," Roggio responds from Small Town Veteran
(Click here, here and here for some background.) The Easy Way The Washington Post makes simple corrections but does not address the real issues By Bill RoggioThe Washington Post has printed corrections to the article Bloggers, Money Now Weapons [Read More]

10 Comments

As an underlying cause, I contend that the Washington Post has gone to seed under Donny Graham. Their columnists are burned out and utterly predictable.
In many cases the Post's Modus Operandi seems to be advancing both sides of every story, regardless of relative merit.
This case was unusual--the POST took a position, and for lack of practice, a wrong one.

You know, this is pretty funny (inadvertently):

"The article also described Roggio as a retired soldier; he served four years on active duty and two years with the National Guard, which is short of the 20-year minimum for retirement."

Yeah-- by FOURTEEN YEARS!

Did it also give your rank as Brigadier Lieutenant and say you were in the Marine Force?

I can't help seeing a parallel here to negotiation, or the simple joke in my line of work. Needing approval for a submission and knowing the reviewer will want to bleed red on it to justify himself, obvious errors are deliberately included to meet his need for finding things to markup so he doesn't tamper with the core of the submission. Seems like there is some game play strategy at work, too, but that's not my line.

Keep on them for the core error, Bill, until their collective head aches.

Bill
Unfortunately, the left hates Bush SO bad, they are trying to turn everyone against the war in Iraq.

The really sad part...it appears to be working.

As a friend and contributor to both The Fourth Rail and to funding Bill's trip to Iraq, I am offended that our grassroots efforts to both accurately report our country's efforts in Iraq and to hold our media accountable for their lack of doing so are held in such disregard.

Bill is a person of absolutely the highest integrity and was invited to Iraq because he has the intellectual facilities and honesty to provide an accurate picture of the situation, even from thousands of miles away. Several of T4R's readers, many of whom just returned from Iraq themselves, would comment on how accurate Bill described the situation despite never travelling to Iraq and how the media there could not get it right despite being holed up in Iraq in their hotel in the Green Zone.

I have been a longtime contributor at T4R and am just an average guy, along with Bill, who loves my country and supports our critical mission of keeping America safe. Like my political views or not, please don't attack me, Bill, or our credibility simply because we challenge your inaccurate reporting and the picture of bleak defeatism that is all the MSM puts out.

But that is just me.

Quick point: making the correction that they should make might leave them subject to a libel suit. I think this is all you're going to get.

I wonder which one of these stories is actually Finer's original piece, and which one's were doctored.

http://www.freepress.net/news/13060

http://www.newsobserver.com/110/story/382274.html

http://www.twincities.com/mld/observer/news/13491598.htm

The India Tribune put the story on an op-ed page, considering it an opinion piece

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20051228/edit.htm

A story attributed to a single author, discussing identical facts, ends up being edited to fit the political leanings of the perceived target market.

Sounds a tad orwellian to me, Insert this paragraph in blue states, delete that paragraph in red states...a paper in the Worlds Largest Democracy(India) puts it on the op-ed page.

This is typical media tripe that the MSM attempts to pass off as contrition and fairness.

These people at "The Post" aren't stupid, just underhanded. Bill is gaining recognition for doing what they can't or won't... using sound journalistic judgement and reporting accurately, based on observations, factual data and evidence. What really sticks in their collective craw is that he's doing so without bias. It drives 'em nuts.

He's got true credibility and the respect of our men and women in uniform, as well as those of us who stand with them...they don't. They hate that too.

I suspect as Bill continues to gain momentum, this will get worse. It always does and that's a good thing. Expect it. It translates into more exposure and attracts fair minded people from both sides. It's already happening. Just take a look at the e-mail he's getting from those with a differing view on the war.

Bill's got their attention and you can just bet that they are smarting from the smacking. They're threatened by Bill and the other excellent bloggers that are rapidly jerking the rug from under the traditional "purveyors of information".

It shouldn't be too long before there's another attempt to discredit Bill personally, but he knows about incoming...he can hack it.

Semper Fi

What is stunning is the amount of simple errors the Post lists for correction in their paper.

I mean to misstate the University of Texas' football record is absolutely unbelievable!

Dear Bill,
WOW what a wildfire you started! That just shows you what the truth can get started. Sorry though , that you have to defend something that was just a great service to the men and women who give their lives for these idiots and their freedom. We are very proud of you and your courage to step up and open the eyes of the American people, you sure opened my eyes. If you need any thing to help, let us know.
char*
SSGT.Strong says hi.