Saturday, June 10, 2006

Something to keep in mind

In more than one analysis of Haditha reporting that I've read, bloggers question the testimony of a young girl (Safa Younis) (WaPo, NYT, ABC ) who is reported to have survived the shooting in the second house where eight others were killed.

One thing to keep in mind is that the news reports we are reading now are based on witness accounts gathered in late May, six months after the incident occurred. There are naturally going to be inconsistencies. If you've ever been the source for a newspaper story or have been closely tied to a story, you know what I mean - ages of persons mentioned in the story are slightly off, an address is incorrectly stated, etc...

A young girl, traumatized by war, is not going to be able to recall precisely the events of six months prior. Can we criticize the media for relying on the unchecked testimony of such a victim? Yes. Should we be calling the little girl a liar? No. The distinction needs to be made clear.

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