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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad on Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.Fortunately, the story is not true. (If you are a daily reader of the Dawn Patrol, you already knew that.)
"Two terrorist groups beheaded two teachers in front of their students in the Amna and Shaheed Hamdi primary schools in Shaab district in Baghdad," a ministry statement said.
A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at: "intimidating pupils and disrupting learning."
But that didn't stop Reuters from running with the story - and thus far hasn't concerned them enough to post a correction along with the original report either. (Or "disappear" it altogether.)
Bad enough had this been the first time a major (allegedly credible) news organization had been so hoodwinked, but this is the second such story we've noted here this month. The previous example came from the NY Times, and also involved reports of headless corpses allegedly made by an unnamed official from a government agency.
Before any readers begin bashing the MSM en toto for these transgressions - please note that NBC News Producer Karl Bostic revealed this latest bit of "bad news" from Iraq on his blog - along with details of the efforts taken by his team to discover the truth (and the frank acknowledgement of the difficulty of doing so).
One wonders how many other such urban legends have been undetected.
Looks like Reuters is #1 on my list for tomorrow's Knucklehead award.Posted by Bill at April 20, 2006 07:13 PM
To be fair to Reuters "AlertNet" issued a new article about 4 hours later. To be unfair, very little of what is being reported is "confirmed" by an actual reporter verifying the facts.
"Iraq police, US deny teachers beheaded at school
19 Apr 2006 15:50:36 GMT
(Adds US spokesman's comment, residents)
BAGHDAD, April 19 (Reuters) - Iraqi police and the U.S. military said on Wednesday they had no evidence to back a government report that gunmen beheaded two teachers in front of their students at Baghdad primary schools."
They don't go back and change the original article.Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 20, 2006 08:17 PM
They tried to beat the pack with the story - and this is the result. "Unnamed sources in Iraqi Ministry" have been proven wrong time and again - whether reporting headless corpses or the capture of various al Qaeda thugs. But every time an "unnamed source" issues a statement, it makes it's way to the headlines.
Once those headlines are read, the damage is done.
Reuters has no excuse for maintaining the original story on it's own web site with no indication that it has been debunked - or even disputed. If that's corporate policy, it's a bad one, for obvious reasons.Posted by Greyhawk at April 20, 2006 08:44 PM
I think we have learned by now that "unnamed" sources are not very reliable and should be taken with a grain of salt. Reuters and the rest of the media should be learning to do the same.
My apologies to Mrs Greyhawk for not properly attributing this morning's Dawn Patrol.Posted by richj at April 20, 2006 10:17 PM
What about the Iraqi casualty count web site? Did they include these 2 in their number? Do they correct their numbers when the reported deaths are called into question?Posted by L Greg G at April 21, 2006 04:41 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(5) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)