The Times responds

The Times responds

: Dan Okrent put up a response to my complaint about Sarah Boxer’s story on the Iraq The Model bloggers. I like much of what Dan says; I don’t like what the arts editor of the paper says; and it’s too bad this does not address the strong complaints of the subjects of the story here and here.

Dan [full disclosure: a former colleague of mine at Time Inc.] tells the story of the story and then says:

In surprisingly informal language, and with the repeated (and unaccustomed) use of the first person singular pronoun, Boxer explored both the charges and the defense signaled in her first paragraph.

The blog world erupted. Jeff Jarvis, who operates a Web site called buzzmachine.com, posted an attack on the piece (and on The Times for running it), calling it “irresponsible, sloppy, lazy, inaccurate, incomplete, exploitive, biased, and — worst of all — dangerous.

  • sarah

    i’m sorry, i may have missed it, but have you put up an explanation of the allegations you cast on blogger salam pax?

  • HA

    Jeff,
    First, Dan responds below that I’m not conservative. On what basis do you say that?
    Don’t you know that in order to be a real liberal, you must uncritically accept every position of the Democrat party? You MUST be re-educated. Expect a visit from Oliver Willis any moment now…

  • ronbo

    Jeff –
    Wouldn’t you think that, even if they didn’t consider the ethical implications of holding entertainiment reporting to a lower standard than news, senior NYT-ers would care about jeopardizing their brand? Credibility is THE brand attribute for media outlets; everything else – interesting writing, global reach, cool art direction, everything – is secondary.
    I don’t think there is a more important goal for Pinch and Keller than to get every reader to say, “I believe it because I read it in the Times.” That cannot happen when readers are forced to calibrate the rigor of a story’s reporting and editing to the section of the paper it is placed in.
    I’m somewhat surprised that Okrent doesn’t get this but I’m shocked that Landmand can’t climb down from his mistake.
    Best regards.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    Okrent and Landman’s responses are as vague and self-protective and full of wiggle-room as every other Okrent column I’ve read. I have not been impressed with his ombudsmanship from day one. He’s there to give the appearance that the Times is open to criticism, but his actual performance shows that he doesn’t get it, or maybe he does but can’t show it, in which case the column is a joke.

  • http://smythesworld.blogspot.com Steve Smith

    Sarah:
    The more things change….

    I’m getting fed up with people ascribing their own opinions and world views to Salam Pax — or to what is being said about him on blogs or in print.
    If you dare to criticize him, says one view, then you’re clearly a blind war-mongering rightie who won’t admit the trouble America is having postwar in Iraq.
    If you dare to value him, says the other view, then you’re clearly a blind anti-American leftie who won’t admit to Saddam’s evils and America’s success.
    I’ve been called all of the above in my comments and even in IM and I’m tired of it.
    It’s all just camel poop.

    …the more they stay the same. Somehow, I don’t think Salam Pax should expect an apology for having him and his family labeled as Baathists in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Saddam.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “Somehow, I don’t think Salam Pax should expect an apology for having him and his family labeled as Baathists in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Saddam”
    The post you linked to exonerated Jeff as far as I could see.
    Salam didn’t use his real name, so he was better protected than the Fadhils. And he was not running for office. And for the past 2 years he’s been writing for the Guardian and going all over Iraq and being videotaped, so he’s as out as can be. Again it’s his choice. Sarah repeated rumors about the Fadhils which aren’t true, which is not their choice. She also misrepresented Ali’s position.
    Finally, there is no way Salam would have unfettered internet access in Iraq under Saddam’s regime, or be raised partly in Vienna (OPEC HQ) unless his family was Baathist. All this stands up much better to scrutiny than rumors about the Fadhils and the CIA.

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0107946 Ed Cone

    Jeff and I disagreed about invading Iraq. We agreed that there were serious problems with Boxer’s story. Does this make me a conservative blogger, too?

  • Eric Blair

    Welcome to the VRWC, Ed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/4621394 Matthew Goggins

    Jonathan Landman displays a certain lack of moral imagination.
    If a blogger started a rumor that Mr. Landman used to work in daycare center where he may have molested some small children, and the Wall Street Journal picked up the gossip for an item on blogging in their Personal Journal section, what would Mr. Landman’s reaction be?
    Would he casually dismiss it by saying “it sure seems a stretch to accuse [the WSJ] of repeating unsupported allegations” of child molestation? Or would he be consulting a lawyer about possible libel charges?
    I would guess that Mr. Landman’s faculties for moral imagination are actually quite intact, despite the evidence Jeff has posted to the contrary. It seems to me that Mr. Landman should understand Sarah Boxer’s story perfectly well, but is just playing defense.
    In other words, he’s not a moron, he’s a liar.
    But I give credit to Mr. Okrent for responding to Jeff and putting some heat on Mr. Landman.
    Mr. Okrent’s response is flawed and unsatisfactory, but he does quote Jeff’s complaints at some length and he does contradict Mr. Landeman’s “well known conservative blogger” silliness.

  • http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com reliapundit

    BRAVO JEFF!
    God Bless you!

  • megapotamus

    Jeff, you are on the path to becoming a conservative the way I became a Republican, that is, through a stipulation. Once you are angrily denounced as something you are not a few times, rhetorical tactics demand the response, “So what if I am?” For the shriekers, that is enough to send them grumbling off but as the days pass to months, you will begin saying even to yourself, “So what if I am?” Et voila. Welcome to Reality. I think I’ll make that my tag line for a while. It pops, don’t you think?

  • Jos Bleau

    Most important question was barely addressed:
    If a “a deluge of intrigue and vitriol” is enough to get a story in the Times then there wouldn’t be any room for other stories in the Times.
    why did the story of the brothers merited absolutely no attention when they weren’t subject of “a deluge of intrigue and vitriol”?
    How did blogtrolls at a loooney-left website become assignment editors for the New York Times?

  • Sergio

    I have a better understanding now of why you voted for Kerry (which had always struck me as stunningly inexplicable): it was to be able to continue to participate in the sclerotic NYC media world you come from. By being able to say: “I’m no conservative, I voted for Kerry” you guarantee yourself permission to at least speak (although not necessarily to be heard). For the rest of us, voting for W is immediate disqualification in the eyes of Okrent and other Times’ staffers to even participate in debate. That’s why, although it’s all very nice that you have engaged him in this debate, in the end it is irrelevant: they will not recognize what they do (much less change) and your media-meal-ticket vote for Kerry will embarass you in your old age.

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    Orkent quotes me for commenting on “Radish.net” For the record, I’ve never been to that site. My comments where made here and here. Someone named “Radish” (presumably of Radish.net) summarized my comments here, and that must be what Orkent saw.
    Further, I don’t recall ever saying “Jeff [Jarvis] is half-right when he says that Boxer

  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    Yowzer, that’s the mother of all quite a smack-downs. I’d hate to piss you off Jeff!
    Good on you. It is impossible to deny (and I used to read the NYT like a love slave) that the NYT is increasingly agenda driven. There is no doubt that the non-story about Iraq The Model was intended to discredit them, instead of simply reporting about the ridiculous rumour. It’s onconceivable that Okrent would even try to defend it. Now his name is mud too.

  • Richard Heddleson

    Having that Howell Raines guy replaced sure did change things at the Times.

  • Old Grouch

    Michael-
      The first and third links in your post above: “aren’t.”
    ;-)

  • http://www.shanksvillememorial.com furious_a

    Is it possible that Ms. Boxer understood that repeating unsupported allegations from a tinfoil-hat website about Iraqi bloggers and the CIA would put those bloggers lives at risk, and didn’t care, or, worse, hoped that that would be the case?
    The reactions at Sandbox-Left websites to the Sunday voting, Eric Alterman’s glib amplification of the CIA allegations on MSNBC, and the willingness of a Times report to parrot ‘martinirepublic.com’ — she had to know who these people were — inclines me to think so.
    –furious

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    There is an age old insinuation technique to report something that has been said by a source that no one could possibly respect (and wouldn’t have read or know about but for your report) and disavow your own role in inventing it … but by bringing it out you have given it the weight of implied credence. If she had been more savvy, Sarah would have known she wouldn’t be absolved. Maybe she needed information and didn’t have time to dig up real news.
    Jeff’s impartiality is resented by the neocons, they keep trying so hard to isolate and alienate others who read and comment on this site, but it’s still a fact.

  • Danny

    “I am also a journalist. And so you bet I am passionate about seeing shoddy, irresponsible, dangerous unjournalism, especially when it comes from a paper I respect.
    I think there’s your problem, Jeff. Time to lose some of that respect, IMHO.

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    Sorry. It appears Orkent read a summary of my comments at Radish.net, and then incorrectly attributed the line “Jeff is half-right when he says…” to me. Only the first paragraph on this page are my words. Look at the comment sections for these posts (here and here) for the actual words.

  • ForNow

    Oh and it never occurred to Sarah Boxer that her story might endanger the brothers. And it never occurred to her editor. Oh no, no, no. The New York Times never does such things.

  • ForNow

    It

  • chuck

    Well, Jeff, you might not be conservative yet, but as the Liberals (big L) shut the door in your face you might end up there by default. Being liberal (small l) *is* pretty conservative these days.

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com gandhi

    Jeff,
    Your position on this whole story seems very self-centered and blinded my a misguided sense of moral outrage.
    The truth is, there are some very suspiscious issues which have not been properly addressed by either you, or Sarah Boxer, or the Fadhil brothers themselves. Boxer is enough of a journalist to see these as legitimate concerns, but not enough of a journalist to properly expose them.
    You talk dismissively of my blog as a ” rare tin-hat blog” without even mentioning me by name (at least Boxer did that), providing a link to my blog or examining the substance of my allegations against the Fadhil brothers and their US sponsors, “Spirit of America”.
    I would suggest that everybody read this post on my blog, which details the stange goings-on at Iraq The Model. Then we can have a real debate on the real issues, instead of all this personalized hysteria.

  • thinker

    Bravo Jeff. Bravo.

  • Gregg

    Jeff: On what basis do you say that [I'm a conservative]? I voted for Kerry, you know. And just because I supported the war, that doesn’t make me conservative.
    Well, just becuase you voted for Kerry doesn’t mean that you’re not.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “It appears Okrent read a summary of my comments at Radish.net, and then incorrectly attributed the line “Jeff is half-right when he says…” to me.”
    So even Okrent can’t get his facts straight. Jeez.
    “You talk dismissively of my blog as a ” rare tin-hat blog” without even mentioning me by name (at least Boxer did that), providing a link to my blog”
    Uh, that’s on purpose. Get a clue.

  • http://www.funmurphys.com/blog Kevin Murphy

    I love how the media is always going on about how Bush can’t admit mistakes, and yet they never can admit any themselves.

  • Soldier’s Dad

    Where is the NY Times story, “Concerned/Supportive Father of Soldier accused of being a CIA agent by Mr Tin Foil(Ghandi)”

  • pat m.

    Jeff,
    While I would acknowledge that there are legitimate criticisms that can be made of Boxer’s article (and, in fact, Okrent covers the pertinent issues quite well), don’t you think your own posts on this issue have gone, to put it mildly, a bit over the top?
    As I read Okrent’s response, the problems he finds with the article and editor’s defense of it are as follows:
    1. the editor’s labelling of you as a “conservative” was both inaccurate and irrelevant;
    2. the story’s lead was “needlessly provocative” (but could have been easily cured by a few sentences setting up the nature of the controversy; and
    3. the Times’ should have made it clearly that the story was not intended to be a “news story”.
    I agree with Okrent’s take here, but am surprised that you’re not incensed at this mild critique, given the level of outrage you’ve expressed about this story. (Guess he’s lucky you’re an old pal, huh?)
    While you acknowledge that you’re “passionate” about this subject because of your friendship with the ITM bloggers, you seem to try to add a veneer of objectivity to your comments by noting that you are also a journalist. C’mon, Jeff, go back and read some of your comments. You disdainfully dismiss the editor’s responses as a disingenuous series of rhetorical feints; you directly accuse Boxer as having written her story for the very purpose of spreading speculation and innuendo; you praise Mohammed for his response to this story wherein he blithely noted, “I won’t be exaggerating if I said that I find a close resemblance between the ways of the media and those of terror in dealing with events,”; and you have pretty much announced that Boxer should be viewed as a primary culprit should any harm come to the ITM bloggers, without ever explaining how the article (which can be fairly read as debunking the alleged CIA connection) somehow put the ITM bloggers in greater danger than their own decisions to make their identities publicly known, enthusiastically support the U.S. against the insurgents, run for office, and meet with the El Supremo of the Great Satan, Dubya himself. I find very little about your response to Boxer’s article to be “journalistic”, and indeed, suspect that you would find much to criticize had some other journalist been in your shoes and reacted similarly.
    It is not my intent here to defend Boxer or the NYT – like I said, I agree with Okrent’s critique. I only wish to suggest, Jeff, that a little introspection might not hurt before you offer your next scathing rant on this subject.
    P.S. I, like, sarah, am curious as to whether you ever responded to the allegations of hypocrisy Oliver Willis made re: the speculation you passed on about Salam Pax background.

  • wayne

    Suppose a competitor of The Times decided to do a balanced (though fluffy) piece analysing the pros and cons of some ultra-troll’s accusation. Let’s say the troll speculated that Martin Luther King, Jr. was involved in the civil rights movement to meet white women. I thnk Mr. Okrent’s al shucks attitude might be modified a bit.

  • EverKarl

    Okrent states that describing Jeff as conservative would be innacurate, based on Okrent’s personal knowledge. Of course, Okrent also correctly states that Jeff’s politics are irrelevant if he’s correct in his complaint.
    But Landman’s description also shows he doesn’t do his homework. It’s not just that Jeff voted for Kerry. Had Landsman actually read over this blog, he would see that Jeff has criticized the FCC and Michael Powell, as well as James Dobson and Focus on the Family, within the past couple of weeks. I’ve pointed these out recently and Jeff followed up with a comment that added a number of other examples which I sadly cannot recall off the top of my head. Had Landsman actually checked, he would have noticed.
    Okrent knows Jeff is not conservative. Regular readers of this blog know Jeff is not conservative. For all of his faults, Okrent is ahead of many commenters here in pointing out that whether he is or is not conservative is a red herring.

  • EverKarl

    pat.m,
    Both points you raised are dead horses. People Jeff knows had their lives and their families’ lives further endangered by a baseless smear; he’s ticked about it. As for the Salam Pax issue, it’s been done and done, most recently in this very thread. A cynic might think dragging these dead horses back onstage is merely an attempt to change the subject, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

  • http://metalyarmulke.blogspot.com Reginleif

    ForNow is the only other commenter so far who’s come close to picking up on this:
    Sarah is a critic (she’s done art, photography & theater) with a new beat: Arts & ideas on the Internet. It’s an experiment with fuzzy boundaries.
    Maybe it’s because I live in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. But most of the “arts critics” whose columns I’ve read have been flaming lefties who tend to dress all in black and don granny glasses, are proud of the fact that they hardly ever leave their urban enclaves, and lard their “arts” reviews with every and any dig at “Bushitler,” “American colonialism and imperialism,” etc. they can sneak in.
    And they’re rabidly contemptuous of just about any other American who doesn’t live their lifestyle and adhere to their beliefs. Safe to say that American military personnel are usually #1 on their shit lists.

  • http://metalyarmulke.blogspot.com Reginleif

    Oh, and the “arts” they’re typically enamored of are often quite unimpressive, aesthetically speaking…but as long as they embrace the “right” politics, the Arts Critic will wax orgasmic over them.

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    Again it’s his choice. Sarah repeated rumors about the Fadhils which aren’t true, which is not their choice.
    how do you know they aren’t true?
    Now, I personally don’t think they are CIA or CIA stooges (possibly DIA stooges). I think that they brothers realized that there was a lot of money to be made by parroting wingnut rhetoric, and went for it.

  • http://www.petetheelder.com Pete the Elder

    I second EverKarl in that it is much more important that a critic (in this case Jeff) is honest, than what political bent they have. I always thought of Jeff as a very reasonable liberal, which is why I read his blog a couple times a week. I do not agree with him about lots of things, but he does a good job pursuading me to at least rethink some issues.
    By the way Jeff, if there is room enough for Rudy and Arnold in the Republican Party, then there is room enough for you too.

  • ForNow

    The NYT calls its many of its reviewers

  • ForNow

    I wonder how Sarah Boxer would like it if there were a blog speculating that she got her job by giving the right people blow jobs? And how would she like it if a major newspaper then publicly speculated on the blog

  • ForNow

    I get so caught up in the argument, I forget that I

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com/2004/12/ignorance-is-bliss-for-some-omar-at.html gandhi

    Anybody want to discuss actual FACTS?
    FACT: Iraq The Model is rabily pro-war and pro-USA, stifles dissenters and ignores negative stories like Abu Ghraib.
    FACT: Iraq The Model raised at least $14,000 for Spirit of America.
    FACT: Two of the three Iraq The Model bloggers were taken to the USA by Spirit of America, where they met with Bush and Wolfowitz in the White House (two Spirit of America execs were there too).
    FACT: Spirit of America was established by a 3-person thinktank called Cyber Century Forum, dedicated to spreading US influence through the Internet.
    FACT: Spirit of America is a client of a grassroots marketing group called Direct Impact. “Grassroots marketing” involves creating a “buzz” by getting seemingly ordinary people (or better yet, influential people) to promote a product by word-of-mouth. It is often criticized because the targets do not realise the opinions they are hearing are actually paid marketing.
    Based on these FACTS, I do not think my conclusion that Iraq The Model is a form of US PsyOps should be casually dismissed as “another loony leftwing conspiracy”. If you want this story to go away, cut the personalized insults and hysteria and explain the FACTS.

  • ForNow
  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    Ghandi, I read your blog post and to be honest it wasn’t even remotely convincing. There’s the usual obsession with the fact that Iraq the Model is pro-US. So what? Is Riverbend funded by insurgents? Probably not. Ultimately you just come across sounding bitter that the three brothers don’t hate Americans (I’m not saying you are bitter, that’s just how it appeared, to me at least).
    Then there’s the obligatory “six degrees of separation” conspiracy ties to “oil”. The “corporate marketing” angle (via Direct Impact) was a nice touch too. The funny thing is that it actually devalues your argument when you go on such a fishing expedition to find ties to “oil”. If there were more direct ties, it would be more convincing.

  • ForNow

    Indeed, I wonder who might be paying

  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    ForNow, good point. I’m willing to give Ghandi the benefit of the doubt and say he’s probably not a covert agent, but on the basis of political leanings, it would be easy to arrive at a different conclusion.
    Again, claiming ties to oil because company A has ties to company B which has ties to company C which has ties to “oil” just isn’t convincing. It may be true, but it’s not convincing.
    I have stock in my retirement fund and there is undoubtedly oil stocks in there. I’m pro-war but my investments are certainly not the reason for it.

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com gandhi

    More FACTS:
    FACT: Arch neocon Paul Wolfowitz has more than once cited the IRaq The Model blog when encouraging US media to put a more positive spin on events in Iraq.
    FACT: Pro-war US visitors to ITM have already donated over US$10,000 to the Fadhil brothers, plus another US$14,000 for the brothers

  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    LOL! Ten out of ten for persistance Ghandi, but again, none of your “facts” prove anything other than :
    1) The brothers like Americans (shock)
    2) Pro-war guys like the brothers (horror)
    3) A company with some stock in an “oil” firm ($100K worth, hardly a fortune) has ties to another company which has ties to the brothers through the “Friends of Democracy” program. (gasp)
    Sorry, not convincing. What else do you have?

  • Kat

    Has Gandhi now or has he ever been in any kind of pro-Saddam pay ?
    I hope some serious attention will be brought to bear on gandhi and reveal him as a terrorist supporting fraud.
    In the meantime, terrorist asskisser or not, the bullshit at http://bushout.blogspot.com remains a disgraceful reflection of the ugly face of pro saddamists.
    This idiot quotes such lunatics as Ted Rall. Just another demented far left loon who
    deals in conspiracy theories.

  • TomB

    Ghandi, your outright pleading for hits on your website is pathetic.
    Your smearing of Ali, Omar and Mohammed is sickening.
    And your “FACTs” are, um, puzzling?

  • TomB

    BTW, for all who are interested (not many, I realize), by order of Jeff GOldstein over at Protein Wisdom, Oliver Willis’ name has officially been changed to “Baghdad Blob”.

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com gandhi

    Here we go, usual right-wing assault on the person, instead of the facts.
    FYI I am a 40-yr-old Australian with no political ties. As the pseudonym intentionally implies, I deplore all forms of violence, by Saddam, terrorists, US forces, my own country’s troops AND anybody else (it sucks that you right-wingers always force people to denounce Saddam before you can take them seriously, BTW). Cue the usual warblog assault on Pacifists…
    I’m really not interested in the personal assaults crap, folks. I dont care if nobody visits my blog, I just think these FACTS should be presented and seriously considered. A proper, considered response by those involved would also be very useful, wouldn’t it?
    Until then, if you don’t think these facts add up to anything, that’s your opinion. Respect other people’s right to hold different opinions.

  • TomB

    (it sucks that you right-wingers always force people to denounce Saddam before you can take them seriously, BTW).

    It sucks even worse that there are people out there who actually have to be forced to denounce Saddam.
    And no, even at that, we don’t take you seriously.

  • J.R.

    Hey Ghandi, didn’t the Detroit Pistons just visit the White House? You may want to start investigating them as well. I always thought there was something bizarre about them winning the title last year. And the Pistons seem to be spreading propaganda whenever they go on the road too. I would bet they are part of some PysOps or CIA front to take over the fans of the NBA and make them government stooges. I look forward to your detective work!!

  • Kat

    {Respect other people’s right to hold different opinions.} Then you might take your own advice with regards to the Iraqi bloggers and not weave some outrageous conspiracy theory just because they don’t fit your anti-America model that you prefer of Iraqis. Should I be suggesting Riverbend is financed by Al Queda or some other beheaders?

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    Has anyone asked the ITM bloggers who they voted for? I went through the comments and they never say. Wouldn’t you think they voted for themselves, since they were running, and wouldn’t they at least mention it?
    Does anyone know?

  • ForNow

    True, MisterPundit, and for my part I too am not yet convinced that this obsessive and bilious

  • sandra

    What bothered me most was actually the way Boxer chose to conclude. She quotes Ali sounding (out of context)anti-US:
    “My brothers have confidence in the American administration. I have my questions.”
    And then her final words:
    “Now that seems genuine.”
    So why does her editor imply that she’s just reporting what others are saying about ITM w/o taking sides… and why does Okrent “accept much of Landman’s argument” ??

  • stooge

    Wasn’t the Solidarity movement in Poland funded by the CIA? Whether US intelligence is or isn’t funding ITM, they should be providing money and support for pro-American Iraqis, dontcha think? You know, to win the war of ideas and all that…or are US values so beyond the pale that’s it’s morally outrageous to promote them? I mean, it would be a story if the CIA WEREN’T doing what Boxer irresponsibly speculated they were doing.

  • dan

    c’mon Jeff, address the damn Salam Pax thing and put it to rest.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Sarah, Dan: I did in a previous comment discussion. I’m busy at work and because MT search does not include comments, I don’t have the time to find it right now. I will look when I have time. The short of it: In that case, people were demanding to know whether Salam Pax was real; they were doubting he even existed; I thought that was wrong-headed of them. But I believed it was important for him to show himself to prove them wrong and I thought that after the occupation, the danger to him was over; I now see that I was wrong about that: the danger continues. I disagreed about some things Salam said but liked most of what he said and certainly respected his courage for what he did — and I wish he were still doing it. Remember that after the invasion, I said that we needed to hear “a thousand Salam Paxes” in Iraq; I wanted many citizens to follow his example — from ITM to Riverbend — to bring out many voices from a nation that had been silenced by tyranny. Salam and I were almost going to get together the last time he was in New York; unfortunately, it did not happen.

  • Ebb Tide

    Salam Pax did put his face to his name, he was on Nightline with Ted Koppel, and took Ted on a walkabout on the streets of Baghdad, and Salam Pax was showing off the new stores selling satellite dishes and cars and stuff like that, all which came about directly after the fall of Saddam… but he did not feel free and safe enough to divulge his real name, and now we know he was WISE to be skeptical that “everything” had changed when the Saddam statue fell… still Salam Pax was a valuable source of candid observations in pre-Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq, a human being using his blog to tell his thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes to the world. His blog was published into a book and it is a great read

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/4621394 Matthew Goggins

    Gandhi,
    Here we go, usual right-wing assault on the person, instead of the facts.
    [...]
    I’m really not interested in the personal assaults crap, folks.
    The people who commented that you might be an agent for one of our enemies were not trying to attack you.
    If they had wanted to attack you, they could have easily made much more intemperate, critical, and satirical remarks.
    What they were doing was applying the same logic that you used on Iraq the Model to a different blog, namely yours.
    You saw an Iraqi blog that supported American efforts in Iraq, and assumed the worst about them based on that fact and some (very weak) circumstantial evidence.
    So the commenters above looked at your blog. They saw you as someone who posts ideas and commentary that are like the ideas and commentary that our enemies use as propaganda. So they concluded that you might very well be an enemy agent.
    That may be a personal attack against you, but it’s using your own logic.
    The purpose of such speculation is not to attack you, but to prod you into thinking about how you are being unfair to pro-American Iraqi bloggers.
    You assume the worst about those bloggers, and ask others to assume the worst them. But now if someone assumes the worst about you, then your natural reaction is “Hold on, that’s unfair!” So now you’re in a position to better understand the problems with making those kinds of assumptions.
    Respect other people’s right to hold different opinions.
    Gandhi, people who read your comments and respond with their own thoughtful comments are paying you a considerable amount of respect, even if they disagree with you in a forceful manner.
    Peace out.