Something's Smelly Rotten at the WaPo

Deb in Memphis noticed something strange about the Washington Post report headlined…

Toll in Iraq’s Deadly Surge: 1,300

This WaPo article was questioned yesterday in “The Left Concocts a Poisonous Day of News”


From Deb:

I thought you might be interested in who the guy is, who was listed as one of the authors of that story. He is an Iraqi blogger. If you go to his site, there is no mention of the morgue visit. Also, it doesn’t even appear as if he has left his house since the violence started.

There are several people listed at the bottom of the article as contributors. Maybe one of them gave the figure, or the blogger, also called a reporter, heard it on TV. On his blog, he simply reports what he hears on TV about the violence.

Sure enough if you go to Basam Septi’s blog, Treasure of Baghdad you don’t see anything posted about the morgue counts from Iraq.

Deb knew that Basam Septi was a blogger because she saw that he spoke at a “Frontline Club” meeting on February 14th.

The author Basam Septi spoke at a Frontline Meeting, The Committee to Protect Journalists invite you to a panel discussion marking the launch of “Attacks on the Press”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists’s annual survey – Attacks on the Press – is widely recognised as the most authoritative source of information on international press conditions. The book documents hundreds of cases of media repression in dozens of countries including murders, assaults, imprisonments, censorship, and legal harassment.

Frontline Club,
13 Norfolk Place,

Bassam Sebti is a special correspondent for the Washington Post in Baghdad, Iraq.

So, where did the Washington Post get their number of 1,300 dead and what made them so confident on Tuesday that they would post it as the headline?

They didn’t get it from Iraqi Cabinet officials who later said the official Baghdad morgue number was 249 after their raising the number from an official death count of 119 on Saturday!

And, who was their correspondent working down in the morgues? Who is the correspondent that made the Baghdad morgue in Tuesday’s article sound like a strange slaughter house? Surely they must have had someone take a trip to the morgue to write a review like this:

Men and a few women in black abayas pressed up to the (Baghdad morgue) window’s black bars as the reek of the bodies inside spilled out.

“What neighborhood?” a morgue worker asked one waiting man.

“Adhamiyah,” the man said, naming a predominantly Sunni neighborhood.

Tapping at the keyboard, the morgue worker fast-forwarded through the scores of tortured faces.

“Criminals. How can you kill another human for nothing?” someone clutching the bars asked.

“Good news, we found the body,” another man called out. “We found him.”

Another question from the article is the number of Sunni mosque attacks.

The WaPo says:

Sunni leaders charged that more than 100 Sunni mosques were burned, fired upon or bombed in the retaliatory violence after the attack on the Samarra mosque.

Yet, on Saturday the Iraqi Defense Minister gave a news conference where he corrected the exaggerated counts that were coming out in the media. From Iraq the Model:

The defense minister in a press conference currently on Iraqi TV gave statistics to correct what he described as “exaggerated media reports” about civilian casualties and attacks on mosques since the attack on the Samarra shrine:

Mosques attacked/shot at without damage: 21 not 51
Moderately damaged: 6 not 23
Mosques destroyed totally: 1 not 3
Mosques occupied by militias: 1 not 2 (evacuated later).

Again, you have to ask, where is the WaPo getting its facts and figures?

No where in the Washington Post article do they mention the official government figures.

The Defense Minister gave statements on Saturday to specifically counter what he said were inaccurate reports on the death and destruction in the aftermath of the Golden Mosque attack. Certainly the numbers have gone up since then. Why did the Washington Post intentionally ignore the Iraqi Goverment in their report?

Mark Tapscott is investigating.

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