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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, May 17, 2003



TAPPED Loses Mohammed; The Ooold Crow Helps Them Out

TAPPED picks up a BBC story suggesting that the Jessica Lynch rescue was staged to provide some "Black Hawk Down" footage to promote the war effort. The BBC story has since been picked up by The Guardian and other news services.

However, none of the stories mention this detail provided, as far as I can tell exclusively, by TAPPED at the end of their story:

"It would also explain why the man who supposedly alerted U.S. forces to Lynch's whereabouts, an Iraqi lawyer known only as Mohammed -- they know he's a lawyer but not his last name, even though, according to Newsweek, he had three visits with a Marine detachment before the raid -- has mysteriously disappeared. If the BBC is to be believed, maybe he didn't exist at all.

Henry Hanks has a laugh-out loud response to this, and if his Blogger links were working, I would go directly to it. Try to scroll down to Thursday, May 15, "TAPPED wrong yet again, Update II".

The short version? Let's go to The Guardian:

"It was only thanks to a courageous Iraqi lawyer, Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, that she was saved. According to the Pentagon, Al-Rehaief risked his life to alert the Americans that Lynch was being held.

...Al-Rehaief was granted asylum barely two weeks after arriving in the US. He is now the toast of Washington, with a fat $500,000 (£309,000) book deal. Rescue in Nassiriya will be published in October."


This is the chap that TAPPED believes never provided a last name, and has "mysteriously disappeared". Well, the mystery is, what is TAPPED's source for this rumor? The BBC story to which they link does not mention the disappearing Mohammed. Ahh, TAPPED also links to this MSNBC account of the Lynch rescue from the April 14 edition of Newsweek, which contains these cryptic passages:

The other parties deserving a share of the plaudits included... an Iraqi man named Mohammed who was so moved by her plight that he risked his own life to tell the Americans where to find her. “Someday, I hope to meet him,” Lynch’s father, Greg, a soft-spoken, 43-year-old truckdriver, told NEWSWEEK. “And I hope Jessie meets him. He’s just got to be an angel sent by God.”

...Marine officers confirmed at least the outlines of Mohammed’s vivid account, which he gave to reporters for The Washington Post and USA Today before he dropped from sight.


That's it! TAPPED mentions Newsweek in their own story, but didn't check the sell-by date! As we recall, he dropped from sight in April for reasons of personal and family security, and was whisked to asylum in America. TAPPED has missed his re-emergence? Can we hear a "Sweet Mercy"! How hard did they look?

However, there is a bit of good news here - at least we have some evidence that TAPPED has not confused "Where's Mohammed" with "Where's Raed".

Still, this is troubling. It certainly does raise questions about what is going on at TAPPED, and who has the heart to pass on to them such tidbits as "Elvis is dead"? Then again, news of Nixon's impeachment and subsequent life imprisonment should brighten their day. And I want to be there myself when they learn that Howard Dean won the Nobel prize in Medicine (Really! Just Last Year!)

Other questions have been raised as well. In a SEEMINGLY unrelated post, Andrew Sullivan wonders about reports that recently fired NY Times reporter Jayson Blair has suddenly got lots of cash. And the Junkyard Blogster can not conceal his irritation at the absence of bylines at certain professional blogs.

It all comes together, people, and I will break some news myself, TAPPED style (no research, no evidence, pure agenda and amusement): Jayson Blair is blogging for TAPPED, and is spending the signing bonus. I am not kidding. NOT!


UPDATE: Yes, of course, the real reason the lefty mags blog anonymously while NRO folks have a byline is quite simple - liberals celebrate group identification, while conservatives believe in the individual. But you knew that.

UPDATE: The InstaPundit and his readers battle the BBC. Stop the fight, ref!

UPDATE 2: I am agog at the power of Ms. Cornett and the Biaslide. We have more on recent misadventures at TAPPED. They don't just lose Mohammed; here they lose Paul Krugman's website; here, they lose their own website. Troubling.

UPDATE 3: TAPPED has a new post which backpedals a bit. However, the vapor-lock continues, as they open with this:

"...Several readers pointed out that "Mohammed" is not so mysterious as the BBC makes him out to be..."

Gee, if TAPPED could follow their own links, they would see that the BBC story does not mention Mohammed; if they could read their own posts, they could see that they originally wrote "It would also explain why the man who supposedly alerted U.S. forces to Lynch's whereabouts, an Iraqi lawyer known only as Mohammed -- they know he's a lawyer but not his last name, even though, according to Newsweek, he had three visits with a Marine detachment before the raid -- has mysteriously disappeared."

The source of TAPPED's confusion was a Newsweek article from April 14, not the BBC. My goodness.

In other news, they wonder this:

The Pentagon also refuses to release the unedited videotape of her rescue. Perhaps it wants to avoid compromising operational security. But the fact that the rescue was videotaped at all is curious. If you're going into a harrowing rescue against hardcore Iraqi troops, as the Pentagon claimed at first, would you really add the risk and difficulty of a camerman?

I think that someone should tell TAPPED that the Special Forces have these cool night vision goggles that transmit an image back to HQ so that commanders can observe the action "live". Just part of what puts the "Special" in Special Forces. I don't believe that a network "embed" was their with his camera crew, although TAPPED may tell me differently.


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