The attack on the Palestinian Hotel has created a media backlash against violence directed against journalists, but not against al Qaeda in particular. Media giant Reuters weighs in on yesterday’s multiple suicide assault. While Suicide bombings have been the calling card of al Qaeda in Iraq and its Islamist affiliates and allies, incredulously, Reuters feigns ignorance of the origin of the attackers; “Until now, the perpetrators remain unknown.” Reuters does not even hazard an educated guess.
Reuters is very careful to remind us of the accidental attack on the Palestinian Hotel during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as if the terrorist’s three car-bomb assault yesterday, which incidentally killed three photojournalists, is comparable to the U.S. tank firing on the hotel 2003. While the Committee to Protect Journalists is cited in this article, there is no mention of their finding on the incident at the Palestinian Hotel during OIF, which absolved the U.S. forces of intentionally targeting journalists. Regardless, Reuters devotes over half the article to remind us that the United States kills journalists, too.
This is not the first time the hotels have been targeted. In April 2003, the Palestine Hotel – a traditional way station for journalists and consultants – was hit by US tank fire. That incident resulted in the deaths of two journalists, one from news agency Reuters and the other from a Spanish television network.
Notably, on the same day, US troops also opened fire on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network’s Baghdad office, killing television reporter Tariq Ayoub.
US military officials later apologised for both incidents, which they said were the result of erroneous intelligence regarding insurgent positions.
Oh, and the U.S. and Iraqi government also intimidate journalists in country, so says an unnamed journalist.
Some Baghdad-based reporters say that journalists are regularly subjected to intimidation by the authorities, who hope to suppress coverage of the war’s less flattering aspects.
“Journalism in Iraq has been in crisis since the beginning of 2004,” said one reporter who preferred anonymity. “The Iraqi government and US forces have put pressure on us because they’re afraid of what we have been showing the world.”
This fails to explain the myriad of negative reports submitted from Iraq hourly.
As I stated in today’s post explaining the suicide bombing and its consequences, “The media’s reaction to viewing al Qaeda’s purposeful attack on their own is unlikely to match their fury over the accidental deaths of journalists during Operation Iraqi Freedom by U.S. forces at the very same hotel.” Reuters never fails to disappoint.
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