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Powerline Readers Deliberately Misled? Probably Not



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Greg Sargent, commenting on Powerline’s “deceptive” coverage of the AP photographer Bilal Hussein’s detainment, writes:

[John Hinderaker] obviously wants you to think that the AP isn’t interested in knowing whether Hussein did anything wrong, and simply wants him released. But Hinderaker’s characterization of the AP’s position is highly misleading, and probably wilfully so. The AP isn’t merely “campaigning for Hussein’s release.” The AP is actually asking that Hussein be charged with something or be let go, rather than held without charges.

(Emphasis is Sargent’s.) The AP does call for either his release or that charges be filed, but there does seem to be an apparent bias toward Hussein. Sargent should have watched this related video where Santiago Lyon, director of photography for the Associated Press, says this:

Most of Bilal’s work shows the effects of the conflict on ordinary Iraqis. And nothing of about his work indicates that he is anything other than a dedicated Iraqi photographer telling the story of his country through his images.

That’s not the only instance where the AP defends Hussein and his work, either. Here:

In Hussein’s case, the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about him, [Tom Curley, AP's president and CEO] and other AP executives said. 

The article continues:

That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn’t make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor.

And some more: 

AP officials emphasized the military has not provided the company concrete evidence of its claims against Bilal Hussein, or provided him a chance to offer a defense.

“He’s a Sunni Arab from a tribe in that area. I’m sure he does know some nasty people. But is he a participant in the insurgency? I don’t think that’s been proven,” Daniszewski said.  

Is the AP “campaigning” for Hussein’s release? That’s a judgment call. Given the five noted defenses of Hussein, I personally wouldn’t consider the term “campaigning” to be egregiously or intentionally misleading.



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