Didn’t Jayson Blair end up unemployed for such as this?
: Au Currant does a little choice retyping from Private Eye on the reporting of Robert Fisk:
As British hacks return from Baghdad, they have been belatedly catching up on what their rivals wrote during the war. They are surveying the dispatches of the Independent’s Robert Fisk with particular interest — and some amazement. On 2 April, three busloads of foreign hacks were taken by Saddam’s spin-doctors to the town of Hillah to interview wounded Iraqis in the hospital. All of them — including Fisk — duly filed pieces on what they had witnessed. But the Indie’s living legend sent a second report that day, datelined “from Robert Fisk in Musayyib, Central Iraq.” Very vivid it was too. “Cafes and restaurants were open, shops were selling takeaway meatballs and potatoes,” he wrote. “This was not a population on the edge of starvation; nor indeed did the people appear to be frightened. If the Americans are about to launch an assault through this farmland of canals and forests of palm trees and wheat fields, it looked at first glance yesterday like a country at peace.” How had all the other hacks missed this? They were under the distinct impression that they had been ferried straight from Baghdad along the motorway to Hillah and then straight back again. They remembered no detours, no stops en route and no visits to Musayyib; they thought they had been allowed to leave the buses only for their chaperoned tour of the casualty ward. How had Fisk managed to visit Musayyib? And how come the picture he gave in the Indie did not quite tally with the fact that by the time he wrote his report the Americans had taken control of the main bridge at Musayyib, and hundreds of US military vehicles were already crossing the Euphrates?