The Associated Press’s mystery source, “police captain” Jamil Hussein, still has not surfaced in Iraq. The story is getting more interesting all the time; the latest is that Eason Jordan, former news head at CNN, has resurfaced and proposes to go to Baghdad to try to find the elusive Mr. Hussein. Better yet, he has invited Michelle Malkin to accompany him, and she has accepted. Michelle also wants to bring along Curt from Blog of the Week Flopping Aces, who has largely driven the Jamil Hussein story. Rather than try to summarize the situation further, I’ll refer you to Michelle’s post.
This has the potential to be a critical moment in the conflict between new media and old media. The AP has relied on Hussein for dozens of stories, and if he turns out not to exist, or not to be who he said he was, the damage to AP’s reputation will be enormous. We and many others have questioned various news organizations’ reliance on local stringers in the Middle East, in part because some of those stringers have appeared to be associated with, or sympathetic to, terrorist groups.
Conversely, of course, if Jamil Hussein turns up and Jordan et al. interview him in his office in a Baghdad police station, the AP will be vindicated, and many people will forget about lots of other critiques of the news services’ Middle Eastern coverage.
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