Editor and Publisher confirms it. Zero points for the mainstream media and a three pointer for the blogosphere.
How far will critics of media coverage of the Iraq war go to prove reporters are wrongly focusing on the negative?
One answer came this week, in a shocking if amusing episode featuring one Howard Kaloogian, a leading Republican running for the seat in Congress recently vacated by indicted Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
He posted on the official Web site for his campaign a picture taken in “downtown Baghdad,” he said, during his visit to the city, which supposedly indicated that the media was wrong about the level of violence in the city. “We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq,” he wrote. “Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it — in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.”
But the blogosphere quickly smelled a rat. The photo featured people who didn’t seem dressed quite right for Iraq, and signs and billboards that looked off, too. In the now-familiar pattern, the ace detective work leaped from obscure blogs to the well-known (Talking Points Memo, Eschaton, Attytood, (and more), and back again, as eagle-eyed experts proposed alternative locales, with Turkey a likely suspect.
In less than a day, it was over. “Jem6X” at the popular DailyKos blog confirmed the street scene was in Istanbul, not Baghdad.
It might be also noted that Wikipedia has already been updated to alert us to the honesty of the Republican hopeful responsible for this sordid tale. Wikipedia also offers this nice screenshot of the offending page given to us by Mr. Kaloogian, who is surely soon to be relegated to the dustbin of history.