War is the Continuation of Journalism

StrategyPage reports that Baathist dead-enders in Iraq are now using
press credentials as cover
. Some Iraqis working for Reuters were arrested
after an attack on U.S. troops guarding a downed helicopter. Reuters is now
protesting that this was an error.

Considering the virulently anti-American slant of Reuters coverage, this
is bleakly funny. Those Iraqi employees thought, perhaps, that they could
earn a nice bonus by doing with lead what Reuters does with ledes. Why not?
After all, the terror network and Reuters share an important objective
— the breaking and humbling of U.S. power.

Watch the aftermath closely. If (as seems not unlikely) there were
Reuters stringers involved in the attack, you will probably see
Reuters condemn the actions of its employees only on the general
grounds that actually shooting Americans jeopardizes the
customary privileges and immunities of the press, not because attacks
on American troops are in any way intrinsically a bad thing. The
anti-American slant of Reuters coverage will doubtless continue —
in fact, any suggestion that it might have contributed to or enabled
the violence of yesterday will be met with shock and indignation.

In the warped moral universe that Reuters and the BBC and much of
America’s own elite media inhabit, American power is so frightening and
loathsome that Islamist barbarians are actually preferable to George
W. Bush. They’ll print with a straight face quotes by al-Qaeda apologists
condemning the U.S. as a ‘rogue state’ and U.S. policies as
terrorism, while refusing to use the word ‘terrorist’ for
Al-Hamas attacks that target Israeli children for mass murder.

Reuters stringers firing bullets at American troops makes concrete
a drama that has previously been abstract. Today’s war on terror is
not just a war between the West and fundamentalist Islam, it is a
confrontation of the healthy versus the diseased portions of the West
itself. The disease is Julien Benda’s trahison
des clercs
and all its sequelae. And Reuters, marching in step
with Old Europe and the American left, is objectively on the side of
the West’s enemies.

UPDATE: Three Reuters employees who were alleged to have been involved in the attack have been
released. This does not change my evaluation that anti-U.S., pro-terrorist bias is
pervasive and deep in Reuters international coverage, sufficiently so to put them on the enemy side.
As an index of this bias, consider that by editorial policy Reuters will not use the word “terrorist”
to describe groups like Hamas or al-Aqsa.

Categorized as Terror


  1. Good link, good commentary, the bastardized press is so screwed up that thoughts of black hats and white are history. They don’t have any understanding or know what hats they’re wearing themselves and following them day to day with so much crap out there is frustrating at best, an obstacle to understanding the real story. That’s a good site although they’re sometimes a bit lighter than I’d like.

  2. I disagree with most of what you say…
    How’s about we start exporting something other than crap American culture to the rest of the world? That’s what they really hate… the displacement of their culture and beliefs. That’s what they mean to destroy… and they’re doing a good job. Look around you… if this nation on the whole isn’t in the grip of terror, I must be crazy.
    It’s about foreign policy… it’s about the only things that people from papau new guinea know about the West as being duct tape, machetes, alcohol, McDonalds and Coca-cola.

  3. Joe, you are so full of crap! Nobody is forcing American culture down anybodies throat or restricting other cultures in any way… If people choose to buy a burger from McDonald’s or decide to watch some movie, that’s just individual freedom. So go soak your head in a bucket.

  4. Joe,
    Maybe we should preserve those quaint
    papau natives in some sort of cultural quarantine. We could keep them free from Coca Cola, duct tape, antibiotics, and all the rest of Western culture. Maybe you could even be a consultant park ranger or something, you know, decide what’s best for them.

  5. We find a way to live together or continue to war ad infinitum, it’s that simple. I’ll go find a bucket to soak in…

  6. Joe, when people are dedicated to killing you, finding a way to live together consists of disarming, subduing, or killing those people.
    Not to restate the obvious.

  7. And Reuters, marching in step with Old Europe and the American left, is objectively on the side of the West’s enemies.

    If writing criticism of this particular policy of ours is equivalent to being on the side of the enemy, does that not mean we should re-introduce our laws of Sedition?

    Is that what you are saying?

  8. Reuters should be scrupulously protecting the integrity of their organization. At no point should it have been possible for this to happen unless their were infilitrated by Ba’athist thugs and AQ provocateurs. Even so, pretending that it is a mistake rather than saying they will investigate is placing the blame game in the US.

    Somehow, I don’t think they tried very hard to filter the reporters working for them. In fact, the stringers in question might have thought they were doing what was expected of them. Take for exmple the reporters present when the DHL was targeting with a missle. How far in supporting the other side should they go. When does reporting the story cross the line into being part of the terrorist culture and a propaganda element for them. It was argued that embedded reporters were propaganda foils for the coalition troops. So what are these?

  9. So tell me Eric, have you ever been in a war? It’s not as glorious as you imagine. It’s not a land of Sci-Fi books and Hoo-ha go USA! War is not glory. War is seeing your friends die. War is hell.

  10. Yes, war is an awful thing, but not the most awful thing…unless you enjoy the view from your knees as you contemplate your ‘betters’.
    Oh, yeah dead cell, during 24 years of military service, been in a couple of major ones and a few minor ones since you deem it important to keep a tally.

  11. Joe:

    In reality, the cultural things that the muslim world doesn’t like are things like homosexual “marriage”, something I supsect you support, not coca cola and mcdonalds per se…

  12. Joe: So, terrorism is a natural, justifiable means to stop America from exporting its “crap culture” and to stop the locals from buying it? Sorry, but I’ve heard all that before, and if I’m going to have to endure such ideological drecklichkeit then I prefer the original German. (“Entarte kunst” is the operative expression, in case you need a hint.)

    I suppose you call yourself a leftist (sorry, “progressive” and friend of the people) but you demonstrate once again the close kinship (and continuing convergence) of leftism and fascism.

    As for “finding a way to live together,” I suggest you tell that to the Islamo-fascists. They’re the ones with the problem, not us.

    And no, the nation isn’t “in the grip of terror,” much less falling apart. Maybe leftists in Berkeley are wetting their pants, but out here in the real world we’re getting on with our lives very nicely, thank you. Our parents endured far, far worse during their war, and they prevailed. (Remember the Blitz Blitz, and they prevailed. We are stronger and our enemies weaker. We will win. This may dismay you, but don’t feel too badly: There will always be places like Berkelely to welcome apologists for tyranny and genocide.

  13. dead cell: You seem to be under the impression that those who advocate armed resistance to islamo-fascist aggression do so because they love war for its own sake. This is a fantasy, a lie propagated by persons with an ideological agenda. If you want to understand what we believe, you had best read carefully what we write. If you rely on Mother Jones and the Nation you will never understand us.

  14. Ah, you guys are being too rough on poor old well meaning Joe.

    Maybe we should follow Joe’s recommendations and immediately outlaw the export of duct tape (which, of course, has destroyed many a native culture), coca-cola, machetes, and above all, McDonalds.

    And since we can’t be sure that some duct tape, Coke, and Supersized fries are sneaking out of our secure borders and polluting indigineous folk around the world, than we should outlaw that stuff here in the US. Can’t be too careful, you know.

    So to start, why don’t we have all you progressive leftists start lobbying for the abolition of hamburgers and soda pop!

  15. Neoconservatism and Christian Reconstructionism are both “treason of the first kind” by Benda’s definition, both are homegrown and both are growing in power and influence. Funny how Eric doesn’t mention them. Oh and Eric, how’s that whole “werewolf” thing working out for you?


  16. One of the guys on the group blog to which I belong is an officer in the Coalition Forces in Iraq. I think he works at one headquarters level or another. I’ll ask him to blog up the details on this if he can find out.

    From what I’ve seen – the Fox & CNN coverage – the Iraqis seized had Reuters press credentials. I believe Reuters photographers may also have been invited for a ride along a month or two ago, when the Baathist holdouts fired a SAM at one of our C-130s as it took off from Baghdad. I dunno though – coulda just been Bill O’Reilly, thinking Drudge was on board the plane.

  17. uhm Narniaman ,

    they are.
    check out the fast food taxes being proposed by congress and California

    meat bad
    candy bad
    soda bad

    ahh hell – if you like it it’s bad

  18. http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=433249&section=news

    The U.S. military authorities have released the three Reuters journalists they arrested. So much for this tissue of innuendo and groundless speculation.
    How about a retraction?

    As for the word “terrorist”, it was not Reuters that invented the line about one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter. When we (I’m a Reuters employee but not a journalist) quote someone, we of course use their words, like any reputable news agency. We don’t spread unconfirmed rumors or add subjective opinions.

    The reputation of Reuters News rests on its values of accuracy, speed, and freedom from bias. If you can document breaches of the latter, point me to ’em.

  19. So anyone posting something that critisizes the US policies, or suggests that maybe what the US is doing isn’t perfect is now lumped in with Al-Queda? Personally I think that the BBC is probably the best source of non-slanted opinion out there, especially compared to say Fox or CNN. Oh well, everyone but america sucks! kill everyone!

  20. It turns out, historically, that it’s a bad idea to assume that written or verbal criticism is equivalent to physical action. It is important to distinguish between the willingness to criticize and the willingness to take direct action.

    This is what we call “free speech” in the “warped moral universe.”

  21. Eric, keep on calling it like you see it. Fuck the loony left that can’t tell the difference between constructive criticism and verbal potshots for selfish political benefit. (Methinks all the ‘We’re not traitors!’ is revealing over-objection.) Personally, I’d like to take all those that seethe bile at the mere mention of Bush and lock them all in a large room with 1/100th as many Islamic terrorists. Those that survive might have some wisdom imparted to them.

  22. Two points:
    1. It is OK for US army to shoot journalists who are not ‘in-bed-ded’ with them, but we start yelling when somebody shoots back.

    2. Iraqis are definitely not fighting aginst McDonalds and Coca Cola. They are fighting against foreign rule (as Amricans did against British). When given a choice of miserable life in freedom and nice life in captivity, most creatures on Earth invariably choose freedom.
    They also fight against the next dictator which will be supported by US just as Saddam was.
    They fight against being impoverished by American financial institutions like the whole Caribbean.
    They fight against American corporations creating ecological disasters without any punishment (Exxon-Valdez, Bopal, Ogoni in Nigeria).
    But MOST OF ALL, they fight because they are impoverished, tortured, hungry, killed, and manipulated for decades by Western countries (including British and French).

  23. Never expected to see a libertarian espouse thoughtcrime. Doesn’t the duty to uphold the principles on which this country was founded exceed even the duty to defend our lives? (If not, what the hell were people fighting in the American Revolution for?)

  24. someone else commented that your post was drivel. quite apt. i like the update. essentially the short version of your article is this: i have this outrageous opinion supported by these rumours that as it turns out aren’t true but the opinion still stands because of some unrelated point that reasonable people can disagree on.

    just curious eric, were the israeli’s fighting against british rule in palestine freedom fighters or terrorists?

    btw, i think all violent religious extremists no matter what you call them are a danger to society and should be dealt with harshly.

  25. Reuters reputation is for balanced professional journalism. I haven’t seen any particular bias against america in it’s coverage. Reuters accurately reports what is happening. If you lived in a country where public service broadcasting was actually worth a damn you might be a little more accustomed to it’s style of coverage.

  26. i wish esr weren’t so militant; it’s upsetting that someone who has so much sway with the community of young hackers is using this leverage to push his own neo-conservative politics.

    i’m not sure why esr and the like-minded are unable or unwilling to see what the united states does as being harmful to the world community. it’s possible that esr and other neo-conservatives/hierarchy-oriented libertarians do, but simply don’t care, or else they see the ethics of capitalism as applying ruthlessly to nation states as they compete for global resources. i really don’t know; i can’t get inside their heads.

    esr is an entertaining writer, but he’s a violent man who is potentially very dangerous.

  27. Eric is only violent towards those who offer him violence personally. The rest, he simply heaps scorn on.

    As for “being harmful to the world community”, there’s overwhelming evidence that the so-called world community is trying its damnedest to be harmful to us. There is such a thing as self-defense even in cases where no actual physical force is being used.

  28. I haven’t finished reading the article yet, but I hope you’re right about the lapsing of the assault weapons ban.

    One thing I can’t stomach about the liberals (of which I consider myself one) is their rabid gun control advocacy. Prohibition has failed time and time again and gun control will fair no differently.

    Good gun control is a steady hand and other trite sayings.

  29. “As for ‘being harmful to the world community’, there’s overwhelming evidence that the so-called world community is trying its damnedest to be harmful to us.” — the chicken or the egg question…whose behavior is initially responsible for the cycle of violence? regardless of whether the u.s. is the instigator in this case (i think it pretty clearly is), responding to violence with more violence has never historically met with lasting solutions. violence breeds more violence, without exception.

  30. At the end of his post, Eric said: “This does not change my evaluation that anti-U.S., pro-terrorist bias is pervasive and deep in Reuters international coverage, sufficiently so to put them on the enemy side. As an index of this bias, consider that by editorial policy Reuters will not use the word “terrorist” to describe groups like Hamas or al-Aqsa.”

    Before starting your flame throwers, it might have been a good idea to consider Reuters’s side of the issue, which makes a lot of sense to me. This is from the FAQ on the Reuters webpage,


    “Why don’t you describe terrorists as terrorists?

    As part of a long-standing policy to avoid the use of emotive words, we do not use terms like ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’ unless they are in a direct quote or are otherwise attributable to a third party. We do not characterize the subjects of news stories but instead report their actions, identity and background so that readers can make their own decisions based on the facts. “

    Translation: They’re not pro-terrorist, they’re anti-hysteria, which seems like a good thing to me.

  31. Hey Eric,

    Looks like you were right, the Reuters guys were enemies. Well, at least they were treated like enemies:

    “Although Reuters has not commented publicly, it is understood that the journalists were “brutalised and intimidated” by US soldiers, who put bags over their heads, told them they would be sent to Guantanamo Bay, and whispered: “Let’s have sex.””



  32. I would be bothered if I thought Eric’s criticism is true, since Reuters is one of the two news sources I have highest confidence in (the other being the Financial Times). We’ll see how this story works out (see snr’s link above); in the meantime I’m interested in knowing why the warblogging community regards Reuters as anti-American, an accusation that seems absurd to me.

  33. Eric, I normally agree with pretty much 100 pct of what you write – I particularly liked your shellacking of John Perry Barlow BTW – but your comments about Reuters are wide of the mark. Granted, some of the coverage displays elements of (perhaps) anti-American bias, but having known many of the folk who work for that organisation, I frankly disagree with the thrust of your comments. Reuters has been around for 150-plus years and its reputation for accuracy and objectivity is still, to mind, well deserved.

    As a Brit, I hate the anti-Americanism of the idiot left as much as anyone but please, let’s not allow our anger to lead us into paranoia.

    Regards from the olde country

  34. (I missed this before.)

    Objective enemies of the West, is it? We’ve heard that tune before. Google for the phrase “objective enemies” if you’re not familiar with it.

    OTOH, if this is irony, it goes waaaay over the top.

  35. mmmh… Eric, I always like the sound of your american libertarian calls but I have to disagree about this particular article.
    Any tentative to separate the world in two is profound nonsense. And if you read history, it has always ended in perfect disaster for both parties…
    Even for a good cynical politician it cannot be a viable strategy for long.

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  37. I’m impressed by the legend this blog places at the top of the page, “A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.
    —Lazarus Long”

    It is the current right wing’s ethic completely. The right wing has no interest in the truth, preferring instead to believe what it thinks or wishes to be true. That’s what makes it adherents armed and dangerous, and in the end, bullshit.

  38. (The name looked familiar… I had to go back and check) Let me quickly add that Lazarus Long (Heinlein helped me grow up) would never put up with the likes of George W. Bush and his scared corporatist-Fascist friends. Free enterprise is one thing. Thieving and murder is quite another.

    I’d sooner have a Cassandra around to annoy me than corporatist liars and killers, which is what the Bush Republicans have become. Your whining about the American Left gives you away completely. If I were you I’d take courage where I could find it, and you’ll never find it with Fascists.

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