Monday, March 07, 2005

Beginning of the Story

The White House denial that journalist Giuliana Sgrena was targeted by troops as a convoy drove her to freedom should be the beginning of the story, but I suspect the MSM will consider it the end.
Here's why the story merits further investigation:
  • What we have right now is a stand-off on the facts. The military says Sgrena's fast-moving convoy did not respond to signals to stop; Sgrena says she saw no signals and the convoy was moving slowly when it was hit by a rain of bullets that killed her bodyguard.
  • There's the tantalizing hint -- admittedly unsupported by evidence at this point -- that Sgrena has information that the U.S. military does not want released. Sgrena, a well-known leftist reporter strongly opposed to the war, says her captors told her the U.S. did not want her to be released.
  • There's the tie to the Eason Jordan story. Mr. Jordan, a CNN executive, was hounded out of his job by right-wing bloggers after suggesting in a private forum that journalists had been targeted by the military in Iraq.
  • And there's the thought-provoking logic provided today by Francesca, blogging at francesca's liberal wingnut corner, who asks which side has more to lose by lying about this story: Sgrena, who stands to lose her credibility as a journalist, or military personnel who might be trying to disguise their actions.
Right now there is no evidence that Sgrena and her protectors were targeted by troops. Bush has promised a full investigation. But we know by now that Bush administration investigations are merely delaying tactics (after almost 2 years, we're still trying to find out who outed Valerie Plame).
The press, which clearly has been targeted by the Bush administration's policies, if not by troops, has a duty to both itself and to the public trust to dig as deeply as possible into this story in an effort to find out what really happened on the road to the Baghdad airport, and why. They need to be a step ahead of the Bush cover-up machine.
But I'm afraid that a combination of laziness and fear of repercussions from a vindictive White House will keep them from taking this step to preserve their own status as a free press.