09 August 2006

My little hack

The ink on my post about the little Guardian hack has barely dried, and here comes another one.

First about the title: it is stolen from the once very popular song by Arik Einstein about the kind of dirty journalism that could give a fly, that peruses potential trophies on a soiled underwear, a bad name.

In this case, however, we are talking about a distinguished journalist, a Pulitzer winner. And the conditioned reflex that makes our ears prick up upon mention of a Pulitzer, makes our sense of smell duller at the same time. Even when the Pulitzer prize owner appears to be full of the stuff that the above mentioned fly is so attracted to.

Israel deliberately not destroying launchers,

says Tom Ricks. How do you like that? And more details:

Tom Ricks, military reporter for the Washington Post, accused Israel Tuesday of intentionally failing to destroy a number of rocket launchers in south Lebanon, to maintain a moral defense to its striking civilian of targets in Lebanon.

Yes - I am afraid that this one leaves Monbiot standing. But how does a journalist, even of so exalted standing, obtain information that is, in a case like this, if true, buried very deeply in a very few (and military to boot) brains of IAF generals? It is simple, my dear Watson:

Ricks noted than in an off-the-record conversation with a number of military analysts, two of them said they believed it was a clever strategy on the part of Israel to leave a few rocket launchers intact to aid Israel in sharpening public sentiment and give Israeli forces more freedom to operate.

Notice the "military analysts" and "they believed". And more:

Later, however, Ricks attempted to distance himself from the statements. I have heard from a number of very knowledgeable and intelligent people that while such a strategy could be logical and even morally defensible, Ricks said, of course the Israeli public would never accept it.

Notice "such a strategy could be logical". In short, a wild conjecture born in a feverish brain of a "military analyst" becomes an established fact - when it reaches a star journalist (or a scoop-hungry amoral hack, in other words).

You know - I prefer the fly. At least it is attracted to shit for perfectly natural reasons and is not made of it.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com