A couple of weeks ago, spurred by Congressman John Murtha’s assertion that Marines in Haditha had killed civilians “in cold blood,” the media promptly rushed to judgement, topping every story with Murtha’s cold-blooded soundbite. When word leaked from Pentagon sources that there might be murder charges in the case, the media ran with the “maybe murder” story.
Because no one had yet been charged, and no one was leaking the Marines’ side of the story, many became concerned that the slanted coverage might affect the fair treatment and presumption of innocence to which American servicemen are entitled. One of those people was Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms, a former Marine lawyer who the Washington Post quoted out of context in its eagerness to get an Abu Ghraib reference into the story.
This week, the media is backing off of its original tone, and it’s time to highlight corrections so they don’t end up being relegated to the back of the paper and the back of people’s minds. So, I give you the Top 3 things to remember about Haditha that the press would like you to forget.
Of these three, the problems with the original reporting in TIME magazine are the most serious. If you haven’t been following this story, this column is a good place to catch up.