Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flat Out Lying about Iraq

...It's hard to tell - ignorance, stupidity, malicious deception, or all three? There was so much trash and ineptitude bandied about on the April 27th airing of Bill Maher's show, it's hard to tell.

Lisa Schiffern (The lone conservative who, unfortunately, performed weakly and meekly): All hell will break loose when we leave, one way or the other.

Maher: But how do we know that for a fact?

How do we know that for a fact? Can Maher's assertion that a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq will lessen the violence even be dignified with a response?

Even more unbelievable, NPR's Baghdad Bureau Chief, Jamie Tarabay, was moved to defend Harry Reid's "Iraq is lost" comment. (It should be noted that virtually all Democrats have distanced themselves from his remarks).

Jamie Tarabay: I think acknowledging that it is failing gives everyone the opportunity to say 'How can we fix it?'

It is also worth mentioning this ridiculous comment by actor Richard Belzer, as he sat back smugly, arms crossed:

Now the Democrats are stealthily working with Republicans to take all the oil from Iraq and give like a little bit to the Iraqi people. So this is an oil war.

Thank you, Mr. Belzer. But then comes the bombshell from Maher:

Everybody who comes on this show, or I listen to, or I read, who actually has been to Iraq, and I'm not going to pretend I've ever been anywhere near it, and I'm not giong to go - But they can't all be just liberal doves, Bush haters. It seems like the people, like Jamie, who have the experience of actually being on the ground, come away saying ' Oh my god, this is over! Too far gone!' And I don't know why the people who haven't been there don't listen to the people who have been there.

Tarabay: Because we're not giving a clear enough picture.

Firstly, Maher's opinion is completely ungrounded in reality. People who have the experience of being on the ground come away saying 'it's over?' That is factually inaccurate and on true. There are plenty, plenty of qualified individuals who have been on the ground, Liberals, conservatives, the press, and intellectuals, that flatly contradict Maher's casuistry, and Tarabay's resulting ignorance. Taraby's agreement is worse, because she is a journalist, she should know what she is talking about. What galls me the most about Tarabay's comments is her insinuation that the press is "not giving a clear enough picture" about how bad it is on the ground. As a daily NPR listener, I can tell you that 98% of the stories on Iraq focus on the multitude of deaths, or on the sad state of military families at home waiting for their loved ones to return. In fact, only one report by Tom Bowman two months ago, describing the improvement of the situation in Anbar province comes to mind as a positive story about Iraq.

People who have been on the ground know that the war is over, huh?... What about Max Boot? Or this by Max Boot as well? Or CNN's Kyra Phillips and Michael Ware? Or Fred Kagan? Or New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns? Or General Petraeus? Or Fouad Ajami? Or the troops?

NPR's Baghdad Bureau Chief should also pay attention to the news, and what other people are saying, not simply what she perceives to be the truth. I did not watch Maher's show to actually learn something, but I was hoping to at least be entertained, which he on occasion is capable of. Little did I expect to be confronted with a level of unspeakable, farcical reductionism and dissembling.


Anonymous said...

If you want to criticize Tarabay, at least publish her full comment and put it into context. When she says "we're not giving a clear enough picture," it is said with sarcasm. Followed by an explanation that many people criticize jounalists because they believe journalists in Iraq live in the green zone when, in fact, they live in the red zone, as Tarabay does. She is explaining this because war journalists often are criticized as not going out into the community to to get a clear picture, when journalists such as Tarabay actually live there and do just that.
To publish a partial quote, not put it into context and then criticize her for it is dishonest and puts you into the category of "flat out lying about Iraq," not the other way around.

I do agree with some of your criticisms of Belzer, though.

Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

With all due respect,

One has nothing to do with the other. My criticism of Tarabay relates to her tacit, implicit agreement with Maher. Worse, her failure to correct Maher when he misspoke about 'everybody' who's been to Iraq says we should pull out.

Maher lied, and Tarabay corroborated his lie either through her ignorance, or by deliberately agreeing with him on that point. Either way, it's fallacious and deceptive.

Regarding the rest of her quote - I've posted the full video portion of what she said, so I'm not sure how you can tell me that I somehow misquoted her.

Secondly, regarding the rest of her quote - Her working in the Green Zone or not has NOTHING to do with her agreement with Maher that we should pull out. The only way you or she can argue otherwise, would be to allege that she is spending so much time outside the Green Zone reporting, to be aware of the multitude of individuals back from Iraq who do not think it is lost, who do not think we should pull out (Such as colleagues John Burns of the NYT, and Michael Ware of CNN). But I don't but that she is that ignorant.

Again, her comments addressed two issues:

1) Agreement with Maher that Iraq is lost, and

2) Reporting from outside the Green Zone.

Thank you