Sunday, January 09, 2005

Le Monde Confirms Indirectly that the Guides of Its Iraq Correspondants Are Often Sympathizers of Saddam

As France starts to realize it may be in the thralls of another hostage crisis, one of Le Monde's former correspondents in Iraq explains the duties of the "fixers" who accompany foreign journalists on their "rounds":
… these often friendly, intelligent, and courageous men are the eyes, the ears, and the unarmed protectors of the reporters. And sometimes they are their true friends. …

The best "fixer" … has friends or acquaintances in the maximum of social circles. … He … knows where to find the minister's assistant for an interview, the appropriate religious or tribal sheikh, even the sympathizers with the resistance who can make contacts. … it is often the "fixer's" responsibility to track down the right subject to speak to.

[The correspondants'] "fixers" have almost become reporters themselves.

As an example, the Le Monde correspondant points to Tareq, a man with nerves of steel described as "a modest former official in Saddam Hussein's defunct information ministry".

Patrice Claude doesn't seem to realize it — he doesn't even realize how subjective his and his colleagues' articles have become — but he has basically confirmed everything that Naseer Flayih Hasan wrote recently. He has confirmed that the reporters are little interested in interviewing the common man (and woman) in the street — the Iraqi citizen — always seeking out members of the élite: the experts, the leaders, even (especially?) the representatives of la résistance

How was it that Patrice Claude described his driver? A former official in Saddam Hussein's information ministry?

To quote Naseer Flayih Hasan:

… their dogmatic anti-American attitudes naturally drew them to guides, translators, drivers and Iraqi acquaintances who were themselves supporters of the regime. These Iraqis, in turn, affected the peace activists until they came to share almost the same judgments and opinions as the terrorists and defenders of Saddam.
This is illustrated by the weekly mediator's column, in which Robert Solé prints a letter mentioning the "100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, victims of the horrors of politics", thereby using controversial (and discredited) statistics to lend credence to the theory of the tragedy visited upon Iraq (and the world in general) by Dubya and friends…

The rule of thumb: if a piece of "information" allows for the castigation or the mockery of Uncle Sam, do not hesitate to use it and, insofar as possible, keep the rumor alive…

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