A few people have commented on this non-controversy over the Pulitizer Prize-winner photographs. I feel a special obligation to say something about it though, since my friends at Powerline are involved (they're calling the photos "The Pulitzer Prize for Felony Murder"), and regular readers know how much I love those guys. You can read the various other things yourself, like this Editor and Publisher piece.
But I would like to stick to the facts, because I they're important to understand in this case. Yesterday the Big Trunk said [by the way, I think they should get new names; saying "Today the Big Trunk say" kind of sounds like the beginning of a dirty joke]:
He then proceeds to quote his previous post:
Salon printed a defense of the AP (and an attack on conservative bloggers) that included this anonymous comment from an AP spokesman:
[...]The photographer, whose identity the AP is withholding due to safety concerns, was likely "tipped off to a demonstration that was supposed to take place on Haifa Street," said the AP source, who was not at liberty to comment by name. But the photographer "definitely would not have had foreknowledge" of a violent event like an execution, the source said.
OK, so a photographer recieved a tip that there would be a demonstration. Pretty straightforward. Instead of paraphrasing that, Powerline glosses it as follows:
So the AP admitted that its photographer was "tipped off" by the terrorists. The only quibble asserted by the AP was that the photographer expected only a "demonstration," not a murder.
That is just plain wrong. It's not what the article said. The article doesn't say that the photographer was tipped off by a terrorist. My guess is that journalists in Iraq receive numerous tips. There's no evidence 1) that the tipper was a terrorist and 2) that the photographer knew who the tipper was. Maybe it was anonymous; maybe it wasn't I don't. Certainly, there's nothing in the Salon article to suggest what Powerline assumed.
Then they launch into a tirade:
So the terrorists wanted to be photographed carrying out the murder, to sow more terror in Iraq and to demoralize American voters. That's why they tipped off the photographer, and that's why they dragged the two election workers from their car, so they could be shot in front of the AP's obliging camera. And the AP was happy to cooperate with the terrorists in all respects. We'd like to ask some more questions of the photographer, of course, but that's impossible since the AP won't identify him because of "safety concerns." Really? Who would endanger his safety? The terrorists? They could have shot him on Sunday if they were unhappy about having their picture taken. But they weren't, which is why they "tipped off" the photographer.
It's kind of hard to know how to respond to that because there is literally nothing in those sentences which can be shown to be true. There are just a few obvious things that should be said: that there's no reason to believe that the murders did want to be photographed, or that the AP cooperated with anyone to speak of. And mostly, I suppose, I would to ask Powerline: if they were photographers in a war zone, and they had just taken a photograph of a murder, would they want their name revealed publicly? If they're so disatisfied with the press coverage, perhaps they could quit their no doubt lucrative jobs as lawyers and job the press corps. Put their money where their mouth is.
Michelle Malkin comments:
Is this the best the Pulitzer committee could find? Did they even bother to discuss the issues raised by the bloggers before bestowing the prize upon the AP? Were they ignorant of the controversy?
I don't know how the committee decided, Michelle, but there's no "issue" here to discuss. I assume the Pulitzer committee only considers real controversies, not make-believe ones.
And finally, I'd like to ask my friends on the right what they would say if I went around claiming that Fox News was cooperating with terrorists. I've said some mean things about Fox News, but mostly it relates to them lying. As for cooperating with terrorists, I think they probably aren't doing that. So I wouldn't say it, especially if I didn't have any evidence, which Powerline doesn't.
Most of all, and this is reason I titled this post "sad," I have a hard time fathoming the hatred that the Powerline guys must feel for those they consider the left. That they would assume, without any evidence, that the AP is an accomplice to murder, is really something I don't understand.