Journalistic Malpractice at the Post and the Times Rejecting the Offer of Evidence of US War Crimes
By Dave Lindorff
Thanks to the courageous action of Private Bradley Manning, the young soldier who has been held for over two years by the US military on trumped-up charges including espionage and aiding the enemy, we now have solid evidence that the country’s two leading news organizations, the Washington Post and the New York Times, are not interesting in serious reporting critical of the government.
Manning, in admitting at his military court martial hearing recently that he was in fact the source of hundreds of thousands of damning and embarrassing documents and cables exposing the perfidy and even war crimes of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan which were turned over to Wikileaks, also stated that he had first attempted to provide those documents -- which included the secret video of an attack helicopter massacring civilians, including two Reuters journalist, and those who tried to rescue the victims -- to the Post and the Times.
Both supposed “news” organizations failed to pursue his offer, and did not run those stories of US criminality until the documents had been released by Wikileaks.
The same two news organizations, not surprisingly, have largely ignored Bradley’s prolonged incarceration in a military brig-- incarceration that held him in solitary confinement, often naked, and which a UN human rights investigator called “torture” as well as his pretrial hearing and trial, once that process finally got underway.
Even the New York Times’ own ombudsman was compelled to criticize the paper for its shameless dereliction of journalistic duty in ignoring the persecution of a man whose work the paper sprayed all over its news pages, once it became available through Wikileaks, instead of directly from Manning himself.(And once it became clear that other publications, notably the British Guardian newspaper and the German magazine Der Spiegel, were going to publish his leaks.)
Now as an investigative reporter myself, I know that you get a lot of cranks who call you up and say that they have information about some incredible scandal, and it is tempting in many cases to just go “uh-huh, uh-huh, I’ll look into it,” and then toss the call-back number into the wastebasket. But that is not smart journalism. Most people who are whistleblowers have a hard time giving a nice organized synopsis of what they know, can have an inflated sense of the importance of what they want to tell you, and can even be deliberately exaggerating to get your attention. It’s important when you get a call like that to take the time to ask questions, to check out the person’s credentials, and to follow up enough to establish whether there is truth to what is being said. If there is truth there, then it needs to be pursued...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1621