April 7, 2008

Guantanamo and the Hapless Scribes of the LA Times

pigtrophy.jpg The PIJ Award (Pig Ignorant Journalist of the Year to Date) goes to Carol J. Williams Caribbean Bureau Chief @ The Los Angeles Times for her record setting article of March 28, A day in a Guantanamo detainee's life. Ms. Williams' effort to "expose" the "conditions" at Guantanamo ran to a length of about 1200 words. But that was not the record. The record came today when the Los Angeles Times was forced to issue a 370 word correction to her screed. That's a one to four ratio. Here it is:

Guantanamo Bay: An article March 28 in Section A about a typical day in the life of a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, as gleaned from reporting trips over the last three years, made several observations that Pentagon officials and officers of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo say are outdated or erroneous. The article said that reveille was at 5 a.m., when guards collect the bedsheet from each detainee. There is no reveille sounded at Guantanamo, and officials say the practice of collecting bedsheets ended in late 2006 for compliant detainees and last May for everyone else. The article said that lights were kept on in the cells 24 hours a day for security reasons, and that some prisoners grew their hair long to shield their eyes to sleep. Since September, all detainees have been issued sleep masks. The article said that detainees at Camps 5 and 6 could see each other only during prayer time when an aperture in their cell doors was opened. The prisoners can also see each other when being escorted to showers or interrogation, during recreation time and when the aperture is opened for meal delivery. The article referred to "the hour for rec time"; in fact, prisoners are allowed at least two hours of recreation daily. The article said the prison library had 2,000 books and magazines; it has 5,000, including multiple copies of many titles. The article said that once a prisoner had skipped nine meals he was considered to be on a hunger strike and taken to the medical center where he was force-fed. Medical officials say hunger strikers are force-fed only when their weight has fallen to 85% of their ideal body weight and a doctor recommends it. The article said that prisoners at Camp 4, a communal compound, were awaiting transfer home. Camp 4 holds prisoners judged to be compliant with camp rules.

If you've worked around newspapers and magazines, you'll have a sense of just how stunningly wrong a story has to be for the publication to issue a correction of that length. If you haven't, trust me when I tell you that the only things that can possibly be right about the story is the spelling of the byline and the capitalization. Maybe.

A real newspaper would sack this "Caribbean Bureau Chief" with extreme prejudice. At the LA Times her "reporting" is probably grounds for promotion.

cjwilliams.jpg
C. J. Williams, now short-listed for a Pulitzer

What can one say about such breathtaking incompetence other than to echo Glenn Reynolds from yesterday, "their bias is exceeded only by their laziness and ignorance."

Email this entry to:


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Posted by Vanderleun at April 7, 2008 1:22 PM | TrackBack
Save to del.icio.us

Comments:

AMERICAN DIGEST HOME
"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Well..at least she used pretty good punctuation

Posted by: Saul Goode at April 7, 2008 4:04 PM

Sigh.

Thank goodness the far right is going down in flames!

Posted by: Mary at April 7, 2008 8:43 PM

And this isn't the only LA times retraction recently. Take a gander at this one - http://patterico.com/2008/04/07/humiliation-for-the-la-times-paper-formally-retracts-chuck-philips-story/

Posted by: FrancisT at April 8, 2008 1:31 AM
Post a comment:

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.










Remember personal info?