Thursday, August 25, 2005
Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Read the NYT Again...
...along comes a story like this (hat tip: Prof. Glenn).
Bottom line: U.S. troops in Iraq are well-protected by sophisticated body armor, weighing only 16 lbs. and capable of stopping an AK-47 rifle bullet at 10 feet.
(When you think about it, that's pretty remarkable. When a pointy metal bullet, half the diameter of an American penny, is coming at you at better than 1500 MPH, you want it stopped. "Interceptor" body armor, as used by troops in Iraq today, can do it.)
Of course, the good can always be improved... and, according to Colonel Thomas Spoehr, who is in charge of such things for the U.S. Army, efforts were underway in the winter of 2004 to improve this -- "the best body armor in the world" -- by making it impervious to types of weaponry that Iraqi terrorists aren't using yet, but might start using someday.
A conversation to that effect, with New York Times reporter Michael Moss, resulted in a completely negative NYT article on August 14th:
"For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks of insurgents.Read Jack Kelly's original. If anything, I've made Moss look better than he should, not worse.
"The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system."
Yes, it's possible -- barely -- that this is an example of honest miscommunication. Perhaps Moss didn't understand what Col. Spoehr was telling him. But even if you stipulate that, isn't it amazing that, any time miscommunication happens, it makes the United States -- or the American military -- look bad, not good? (In other words, if you assume miscommunication, you must also assume a deliberate intent to err on the side of making America look bad.)
Remind me to hold this up as an example, next time someone claims that American media have no left-wing bias...
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin (welcome back!) links to this story (Jack Kelly's, not mine!), and points out that AP reporters are doing as bad, if not worse. (Hat tip: PowerLine.)
UPDATE II: The New York Times is not having a good day; more details here.
UPDATE III: And this is just inexcusable:
Last week, The New York Times published a story on their exclusive interview with Condoleezza Rice.Did the blatant inaccuracies err in the direction of NYT's known biases? Of course they did. In an interview about the painful Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the interviewer asked repeatedly about further Israeli "concessions", to which Dr. Rice responded -- four times -- that it was up to the Palestinians to take significant steps in curbing terror and dismantling terrorist infrastructure.
The transcript of the interview was posted by the State Department this week. It shows that the purported quote -- made the centerpiece of the Times story -- was constructed by the Times from two separate, unrelated comments by Rice -- one taken out of context, the other not even accurately quoted.
But what the NYT interviewer wanted, apparently, was a statement by Dr. Rice that the ball was still in Israel's court... and so a "quote" was manufactured, giving a completely different impression.
No, there's no left-wing media bias here...
LATER: As an addendum to Update III above, please check out Neo-neocon. She makes some good points, and steers us toward Omri of Mere Rhetoric:
This sounds exactly like Secretary Rice and the Times was certainly not taking her out of context when they quoted her to mean that the State Department will seek more unilateral concessions from Israel.Yes, that's as ominous as it sounds, and Omri backs it up well. He concludes:
The Times may have played fast and loose with ellipses, but they did not take her out of context. And even if we assume that they did - at best, it might make the interview a little less unbalanced - it certainly doesn't make up for the unprecedented pressure that Secretary Rice's State Department has been leveling against Israel in recent months.Ouch. So much for the "Condi for President 2008" campaign, as far as I'm concerned.