Mark Tapscott thinks he’s figured out a way to resolve the CENTCOM vs. AP dispute:
It’s time for AP to take the same sort of approach to resolve the Captain Jamil Hussein controversy. But there is one big difference between the present issue and the Dan Rather/”60 Minutes” ordeal – AP provides news to virtually every daily newspaper in America. AP is a cornerstone of the mainstream media. If AP’s credibiilty is harmed, every news organization that uses its products also suffers.
Thus, AP should ask the American Society of Newspaper Editors to oversee the appointment and conduct of an independent panel of respected journalists and outside evidentiary experts to determine the truth behind Captain Jamil Hussein and all other sources similarly in doubt.
Maybe. But Tapscott suggests a much simpler solution earlier in the piece:
What is most puzzling about the AP reaction is its failure to do the one thing that would instantly put the critics in their place – produce Capt. Jamil Hussein. If he is in fact an Iraqi police captain, it is impossible to understand why he cannot be produced and his credentials verified.
Remember the controversy over “Green Helmet Guy“? When bloggers raised questions about his identity, the AP quickly responded with not one but two profiles of him. Questions remained about Salam Daher’s admitted staging of Lebanese corpses for the Western media, but most of the oxygen was sucked out of the debate over whether he was a legitimate rescue worker.
If Jamil Hussein is who he says he is, why haven’t we seen AP act with similar haste to dispel rumors about his identity? That’s the obvious first step, and if the evidence produced by AP isn’t satisfactory, then we should move ahead with Tapscott’s suggestion about an independent review.
UPDATE: Speaking of Green Helmet Guy, Israel is now producing video and other evidence demonstrating how Hezbollah systematically operated in civilian areas — a part of the equation GHG left out when justifying his actions to a sympathetic AP reporter.