For shame, NY Times

For shame, NY Times

: There is a horribly irresponsible story about IraqTheModel in today’s NYT. I am headed into a meeting but will comment soon!

  • Gregg

    Article seems fine to me. You’re probably upset becuase it dares to mention that there is a debate over the authenticity of IraqTheModel. Looking forward to see how far off the handle you’ll go.

  • Here’s the link to the story.
    Why didn’t the reporter call the CIATech Solutions guy (who was open as to his identity in the comments section here) to dispel the CIA thing instead of leaving it hanging? They at least could have mentioned that he also registered alternate domain names (for free, apparently) for anti-war Iraqi bloggers.
    Surely Iraq the Model did not represent the mainstream of Iraqi thinking?
    I’m always puzzled by this accusation. Is the sole role of blogs to represent “mainstream thinking?” If so, mine certainly doesn’t fit the bill.
    The final sentence of the article:
    Now that seems genuine.
    That’s a (recurring) strange foundation for criticism; if someone hapeens to support the war or the administration, they are a disingenuous “shill”; opposition, however, is genuine on its face. I never have understood that perspective.

  • How does a blogger earn his readers respect? Do you know these bloggers Jeff? Have you met them or know anyone who has? Do you believe what they write, or do you just

  • paul,
    Jeff knows them and has met them.

  • Kathleen A

    The writers at ITM have proven over and over and over again who they are (if they weren’t real – how did this reporter call them in BAGHDAD?). Coming here to America they were photographed and interviewed. The sad thing is this reporter lends credence to whacko conspiracy theories and never debunks them. The brothers are real – it’s the trolls who are fake.

  • Angelos

    An article asks questions about something you believe in, so it’s irresponsible?

  • One thing to keep in mind is that this article is in the Arts section, not News. This isn’t supposed to be (and the reporter probably isn’t fully skilled to perform) a deep, investigative report as to the authenticity fo ITM. This is an article talking about how the blog has created various reactions among other blogs/bloggers. It correctly notes the “intrigue and vitriol” – its purpose is not to close the book on the issue.

  • Angelos,
    I think it’s a tad irresponsible to leave the CIATech thing relatively open instead of just contacting the guy.
    I think it was a bit weird to suggest that people being rude to antiwar commenters on the site was further potential evidence of “astroturfing,” when as you and I know, a lack of civility toward dissenters is (unfortunately) par for the course on many sites on both ends of the political spectrum.

  • That’s right Michael – a “reporter” is allowed to write unfounded opinion without doing rigorous fact-checking in the NYT. Just put it in the ARTS section even though it has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH ARTS.
    Also, if you know that your subject is terrified of being lumped in with the Americans, FOR FEAR OF HIS LIFE, be sure to print in the NYT that there is a question of whether he is a CIA plant.

  • Hubris, I’ve met Jeff, but can’t say “I know him”.

  • Jos Bleau

    How did the comments section of a left-wing blog become an assignment editor for the New York Times?

  • Kathleen A

    I just think it’s sad that with all the brothers have been through – someone who can’t even use their REAL NAME (Gandhi) can shed suspicion on THEM when they have risked their lives to blog, to form a political party, etc. If a poll showing yesterday said 85% of people in Baghdad want to vote – what makes ITM “NOT” representative of that truth? Seems to me they’re part of the 85% that want to vote and Gandhi and this reporter are part of the PROBLEM which ignores this reality.

  • paul,
    It’s my understanding that before meeting these guys, Jeff worked with them on Spirit of America, etc. I honestly don’t understand what exactly you’re looking for from Jeff.
    Again, why does Iraqi bloggers being pro-America lead to a presumption of astroturfing guilt that must be rebutted? And how does one brother breaking off from the others fit into the plan? Is it an elaborate feint designed to throw us off the government’s trail?

  • Dishman

    The Martini Republic stuff is basically a rehash of Juan Cole’s arguement. Her article reads like a rehash of a rehash of a blogger, with one bit of interview thrown in.
    Jeff and Roger L. Simon have both written much better pieces on the exact same subject.

  • Imagine a British Loyalist living in New Jersey in 1777 blogging at, who would he say “were the Terrorists”?

  • paul,
    Thanks for bringing up the analogy.
    During the revolutionary period in America, there were Loyalists and Revolutionaries. I would imagine that would have called the Revolutionaries terrorists, while the would have espoused the opposing viewpoint (although both blogs would be difficult to read, being carved in wood).
    In Iraq now, there are those that support the American intervention and those that oppose it.
    Now, why is it so hard to believe that those who support it (even though a minority of the overall population may share that viewpoint) set up a blog??

  • button

    Some say: any publicity is good.
    Without some sort of ‘storyline’ she couldn’t formulate an article (out of nuthin), so now that there’s a bit of a story, she can construct a narrative based on that (however slight) story. I think you would have to discuss this issue further with Prof Jay Rosen, so he could explain the process to you.
    At least she also identified a Directory blog, so curious people can do further research into Iraqi blogs, if they want to.
    There is some element of danger to them, though. But she does include some information about that.
    If it were not for the breakup of the triumverate and the trip to the U.S., what kind of exciting narrative could she have constructed?
    When you cool down, I think you’ll find, on second thought, maybe you’ve overreacted a little.

  • They were called Patriots and Tories and the Tories had tons of money as do the pro-American Iraqis.

  • There were blogs during the Revolutionary War. They were called pamphlets:
    A Loyalist Response (to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense), by James Chalmers

  • BBC didn’t bury it. On their main webpage

  • paul,
    They were called Patriots and Tories and the Tories had tons of money as do the pro-American Iraqis.
    I’m a big a fan of pedantry as the next guy, but I’m a bit puzzled by your lack of tolerance for synonyms.
    Now you’re shifting the argument from whether or not these fellows’ opinions could be genuinely theirs, to a question relating to the basis for their perspective. Do socioeconomic factors help shape one’s opinions? Sure, they often do right here in America. And?

  • Thank-you oodja, nice to see some use the Internet for research and we need more people doing research.

  • Dishman

    Hmm.. the terrorists want to return to a brutal dictatorship… sounds like Tories to me.
    I think Paul (and M. Moore) have it backwards.
    As for research.. Sarah Boxer could have done some herself. I’m particularly thinking of trackbacks to Juan Cole.

  • Again, it seems that the purpose of this article was not to refute claims that ITM has been “astroturfed” or to discredit Martini Republic. It is telling a story; it is recounting how these sites are embroiled in a larger online conversation. If anything, the article ends up in support of the authenticity and genuiness of Ali and ATM.

  • billhedrick

    Some people say that Jeff Jarvis is a small asian woman writting from Taiwan…. See I can do it too!

  • dick

    Michael Zimmer,
    I am sure that the fact that the article ends up in support of the authenticity and genuineness of Ali and ATM will be a comfort when the brothers are forced to kneel at the feet of the insurgents before their heads are hacked off because this dingbat reporter guessed initially they might be CIA plants or work for the DOD and said so even after on eof the brothers told her they would be in real danger if this were to be bandied about. She should sleep real well knowing that she finally agreed with them. Nothing to see! Move on! No responsiblity for what happens to them. Typical of the NY Times. She is a worth disciple of Walter Duranty.

  • Sarah Boxer’s claim that Iraq the Model is hosted on a CIA Tech Solutions server is false. The blog is hosted on Blogspot, and always has been. CIA Tech registered alternate names for a bunch of Iraqi bloggers, including both ITM and the squeaky-clean Riverbend completely on his own initiative. ITM had nothing to do with this, and doesn’t use the name that was registered for them. Neither does Riverbend.
    It’s also false that this name registration caused “severe ructions in the online Iraq community.” The only ructioning that went on around this was confined to the American leftwing community, specifically Martini Republic and the arrogant Juan Cole.
    Sarah Boxer has been proved to be a liar and a hack. She should be writing for CBS News, not the New York Times.

  • “You’re probably upset becuase it dares to mention that there is a debate over the authenticity of IraqTheModel.”
    There is no debate, because they have proven their identity numerous times. Jeff is upset that this clueless incompetent hack can’t even investigate the facts for her story, you know, like a real reporter.

  • CharlesWT

    “…this clueless incompetent hack can’t even investigate the facts for her story,…”
    Some stories, if you investigate them too throughly, you are left with…no story. Can’t have that.