11 September 2007

That righteous indignation

Today my heart skipped a beat or two when I saw this headline in The Guardian:

It (the heart) almost stopped forever after reading the first sentence of the following paragraph:
To the long list of crimes committed by Osama bin Laden a new one can now be added: manipulation of the media. In his latest video address, released last Friday, the al-Qaida leader refers to a film made by the Guardian in Iraq and misquotes the contents of the documentary to suit his own dramatic effect.
OK, says I - let's see what it is about.
Bin Laden invites American viewers to "listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs.

"Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms."
And here comes the manipulation part - pay attention:
Contrary to Bin Laden's account of the interview in his speech, the soldier does not wipe away tears from his eyes - he wipes away sweat from his forehead. Smith, reached on assignment in Libya yesterday, confirmed that there had been no tears.
See how a brave Guardian journalist laid bare the vicious lies of Bin Laden? I mean - wow, it was awesome, dude! So it was not tears, or snot, or eggnog the soldier was wiping off - it was sweat. Oh boy...

But, sarcasm aside, I was really confused. Surely we are not dealing here with an innocent child who accuses his big brother of stealing a cookie from a jar, all for the sake of his innocence. It is a journalist of The Guardian, for crying out loud! After reading (in almost any newspaper) that the sky is blue, I make a call to my ophthalmologist, to make sure. And The Guardian is not an exception, needless to say.

So I spent quite a lot of time checking on Ed Pilkington, the author of that article. And you know what - for all I have seen, he is quite a decent bloke. His articles are factual, to the point, he rarely, if at all, tries to force his own opinion on the reader - in short, for a journalist, he is as close to a saint as anyone could possibly get.

But, you may interject, this unbelievably decent person works with people like Milne, Whitaker and some others who, for all purposes, leave Bin Laden standing when a bit of fact manipulation is required. And you would be absolutely right interjecting.

So what the heck is he so riled about?

You tell me...

Cross-posted on DSTPFW.