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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Rather Defends Hostage Story

Yesterday AP News ran a story of a US Soldier being held hostage, providing a picture of him at gunpoint. Almost immediately the "blogosphere" made accusations that it was not a picture of a human but rather of an action figure. After most of an entire day of speculation, the AP, CBS, and other news organizations put out a story saying the picture "may" be an action figure and not a real human.

"The first thing that tipped us off," said blogger Herman "Spock" Melvin, "was, well, it looked like a G.I. Goe doll. I mean just look at it, you can tell immediately. Then, well that's about it, really. I can't believe anyone fell for this. Excuse me a moment ... sorry, had to flush."

The picture that caused the controversy

However, the news media is not buying the action figure story.

"We just made a big mistake running with an anti-US story too soon without fact checking it," said Eason Jordan, CNN Chief News Executive, "we don't want to make the same mistake and retract the story without first fact-checking to see if it is false. We need to take our time with this.

"This could be real bad news for the US military if it's true, and we need to make sure it is absolutely not true before we say it is not true. If we were to pull it and only produce anti-US stories that we could verify are true beforehand, then we would be biased in favor of the US, and we must remain neutral."

"I am disgusted that people are focusing on the picture itself, and not on the story behind the picture," said CBS News anchor Dan Rather, "what we have here is a real story. A US soldier is about to be killed. This story shows the unprofessionalism of the US military in allowing themselves to get caught. It also will evoke emotion from the audience and move more people to do the right thing: agree with Ted Kennedy that we need to bring the troops home now.

"But these pajamahideen, these right-wing conspiracy theorists, who are paid off by the Republicans, want to confuse you and change the story around to be about the 'evidence' and not the real story. The story is about soldiers dying, not about Iraqis' freedom. Wait - I mean the story is about Bush, not about the soldiers. Wait - I mean the story is about people dying because the US interfered, not people dying if the US did not interfere. Yeah, that's right."

A Thornburg and Boccardi, P.I., preliminary report came out. The report said "since the image is a copy and not the original negative, there is no way to know for certain whether this is a picture of a real hostage or an action figure. We intend to interview everyone who was involved in this report. In a few months we will come out with our recommendations, though I'm sure our position will not change: that we don't know anything and cannot know."

"I still believe the picture is true," said Rather, "there is no way to know for sure. Remember, elections have consequences. We should never have forced freedom on these people. Who are we to say freedom and democracy are better than anything else? Just because we call ourselves Democrats?

"I think we should just change our name to Deconstructionists, that would be less confusing."