Shireen Mazari’s “Shoddy” Journalism Condemned!

2

Thursday, November 12, 2009 (The News)

Journalists lead dangerous lives in Pakistan. They are targeted by the terrorists whose actions they report and by politicians and bureaucrats whose failings and indiscretions they expose. All this is to be expected. What a working journalist may not expect, however, is to be stabbed in the back by one of his own, as has recently happened to Matthew Rosenberg, a journalist working for the Wall Street Journal. Mr Rosenberg has been accused in a local newspaper of having links to the CIA and Mossad and of acting in some undefined way as an agent of Blackwater. As if this were not enough to blight his life and career, he is further accused of having ‘secret’ meetings with Secretary Law and Order FATA Secretariat, Tariq Hayat Khan, and Additional Chief Secretary FATA, Habib Khan. Both are said to have ‘fed’ documents to Mr Rosenberg, thereby implicating them in his alleged espionage activities. The story is based upon information from a nameless source and has no supporting evidence. Mr Rosenberg has had to leave the country and is unlikely to be working here in the foreseeable future.

The editor of the Wall Street Journal has rightly and robustly sprung to the defence of his journalist and written to the editor of the newspaper that printed the story. The opening paragraph of his letter reads … “As a fellow editor I am writing to convey in the strongest possible terms our dismay and disgust over the slanderous falsehoods published on the front page of your newspaper on November 5th regarding our reporter Matthew Rosenberg.” We might add ‘grossly irresponsible’ and ‘unprofessional’ to the list of printable adjectives that may be applied to this dangerous travesty of journalism. Accusations such as this, based on information from a single unnamed source are life-threatening in their gravity. At the very least there should one other corroborating source and preferably more than one where accusations as grave as this are made. The electronic media has recently reached a voluntary agreement to ‘clean up its act’; and perhaps some sections of the print media need to do the same.

Condemnation by The Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned The Nation for publishing “a reckless and unsubstantiated story”. Last week, Pakistan Media Watch wrote about the incident – in which The Nation published an article with no facts calling an American journalist a spy. Here is what the CPJ wrote today:

Last Thursday, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper published a reckless and unsubstantiated story accusing Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Matthew Rosenberg of being a spy. It’s an accusation that gravely endangers Rosenberg’s safety. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson responded with a scathing letter to The Nation’s editor, Shireen Mazari, expressing his disgust at the publication of the story, which he called baseless and false. He demanded an immediate retraction.

It’s of course deeply disturbing to us at CPJ that a newspaper would publish a story like this that clearly puts the life of a fellow reporter in danger. But we are also concerned about the source for this scurrilous information, someone the reporter identified as “an official of law enforcement agency, who requested anonymity.” Could this be a deliberate government attempt to intimidate Rosenberg and other foreign correspondents working in Pakistan? That’s a deeply chilling possibility that must be investigated.

In addition, the Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, wrote a scathing letter to Shireen Mazari conveying his “disgust” over “the slanderous and dangerous falsehoods published on the front page” of The Nation.

Dear Ms. Mazari,

As a fellow Editor, I am writing to convey in the strongest possible terms our dismay and disgust over the slanderous and dangerous falsehoods published on the front page of your newspaper on November 5 regarding our reporter, Mathhew Rosenberg.

Journalism is an important vocation and Pakistan has many fine and courageous journalists who operate in extremely difficult conditions. Foreign correspondents also have an important social role and are similarly exposed to danger from extremists. So for your paper to have suggested, absolutely groundlessly, that Matthew had some intelligence connection was a betrayal of our collective calling and has endangered him, all other Wall Street Journal correspondents, and all journalists and foreign correspondents in your country.

Let me set the record straight: Matthew is an experienced foreign correspondent who has worked for many years covering the region, including Pakistan. In that capacity, he has pursued no other agenda than seeking the truth and has had no other aim than to bring to the world’s attention news and analysis of what is happening in your very important country at a critical time.

Our profession has been done a great disservice by the utterly baseless article, and I call upon you to print an immediate and prominent retraction to ensure that it is widely understood that the piece was without foundation. At present, your paper is is guilty of spreading falsehoods, but it could ultimately be complicit in a far greater tragedy unless this wrong is corrected. We obviously reserve our right to pursue legal action in this instance.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Thompson

44 Comments

Filed under journalism, Pakistan

44 responses to “Shireen Mazari’s “Shoddy” Journalism Condemned!

  1. Milind Kher

    Shireen Mazari has a hyper aggressive, know it all attitude.

    She always comes through as very pushy and hawkish. She does not appear to be a great stickler for niceties.

    That being said, if Robert Thompson has given her the come uppance that she had coming, it is good.
    I am aware that many may disagree, but this is my opinion..

  2. karun1

    her single motto in life is to rally against India

  3. Milind Kher

    @Karun1,

    I agree with you completely. Now, in a boundaryless world, where the cold war has come to an end, India and Pakistan also need to be on the same platform.

    It may well happen. If it does, the combo will be unstoppable.

  4. Majumdar

    Dunno why WSJ had to choose a Yahood journalist to go to Pak. Considering the history

    Regards

  5. Vajra

    @majumdar

    Dada, are you suggesting a quota system, based on how much news each part of the world is likely to generate? Do they change the ratios of religious persuasion employed every three months, as the newsworthiness of different locations changes? How do they decide salaries, if some journalists suddenly become unemployable, whenever, for instance, there is something newsworthy in a part of the world, in that part of the world where Yahoods are unwanted? Do they hire Muslims only for those parts, and what in turn happens to them when newsworthy events are thin on the ground? Do they avoid hiring a qualified Tibetan because the Chinese will ban WSJ from sale or from coverage of news in China? What about Pakistani journalists, if India objects, or Indian journalists, if Bangladesh objects?

    Interesting thought, Dada. Not the best, not the most intelligent that you have raised, but certainly interesting. The best antidote to incidents like Daniel Pearl’s beheading is either to sack all the Yahoods, and hire Muslims in their place, or simply not to cover the news there at all; there can be no danger to journalists in the second case. So much easier than shutting up Shirin Mazari, which is guaranteed to irritate a random chimp with a computer sitting in Dubai and pounding out pages every day on the authenticity and credibility of his favourite TV strategists.

    Got to hand it to you.😀

  6. Aliarqam

    God bless Matthew Rosenberg….
    We have faced embarrassement over Denial Pearl assassination….
    Omer Shiekh who got freedom from India through a successful Hijacking….is facing life imprisonment in that case…We can’t loose our assets in such a way…
    Plz stop Mujahidaa khatoon

  7. Bloody Civilian

    Vajra

    i see and agree with the main thrust of your post but if you would permit me to split hairs..

    about your hypothetical china, india or pakistan objecting to individual journalists.. i don’t think majumdar was referring to GoP objecting to anyone. there was a most tragic and brutal murder, and the murderer is on death row – the most that law can do, no matter how inadequate a redress it seems and is.

    you’re right, WSJ showing defiance in the face of terror is to be admired.

    musharraf, as the de facto head of state did rail against a pair of british journalists. that was for their paper using the ‘but he is our SOB’ phrase with reference to US support for him. the GoP refused to renew their visas. this was after mush’s second coup.. of nov 3 2007.

    and i welcome your suggestion about the need for(unofficial) proscription of mazari-types, not least for the bonus results you’ve mentioned which amount to more than mere ‘fringe’ benefits.

  8. Bloody Civilian

    Vajra

    Aliarqam’s post might have made my splitting hairs even less defendable… but i’m sticking to my guns.. rusting and falling apart as they may be….

  9. YLH

    The Nation never had any credibility …now with mazari even less so.

    She is a scoundrel in the Oscar Wilde sense of the word.

  10. Milind Kher

    Shireen Mazari seems to be rapidly heading towards the khitab of PE No 1

    However, the channels that indulge her are equally to blame for developing her into the monster that she is..

  11. Vajra

    @majumdar
    @Bloody Civilian

    I am chagrined that a poor construction of sentences made it look as if I claimed Majumdar was referring to GoP objecting to anyone. I was not even aware of Musharraf’s objections, so as far as I knew, GoP had an unblemished record in this regard. That part of the post was just a purple patch, starting with our Tibetan journalist, and proceeding to a reductio ad absurdum.

    Regretted.

  12. PMA

    Apparently the story in question “Journalists as spies in FATA?” was written by Kaswar Klasra and published in November 05, 2009 issue of The Nation. The ‘link’ to the story is given by PTH. May be the discussion should be about Mr. Klasra and his story and not about Ms. Mazari!

  13. Vajra

    @PMA

    The editor of the Wall Street Journal has rightly and robustly sprung to the defence of his journalist and written to the editor of the newspaper that printed the story.

    I respectfully submit that the editor is the right person to be held responsible. Without her editorial decision, the article could not have appeared, after all.

    That does not take away the responsibility of the journalist in question, which you have correctly pointed out.

  14. PMA

    Vajra (November 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm):

    I have read the story by Mr. Klasra thanks to the link provided by PTH. I think it will be more interesting and appropriate if we discussed the original story in question. That is unless we are more interested in Ms. Mazari and not in the story that has started this chain. And by the way. I understand in Indian languages the sounds of ‘V’ and ‘B’, and ‘J’ and ‘Z’ are interchangeable. Would that apply to your name as well. I am just curious. Thanks.

  15. Majumdar

    PMA sb,

    I understand in Indian languages the sounds of ‘V’ and ‘B’, and ‘J’ and ‘Z’ are interchangeable.

    Well J and Z certainly are. You wud often find a Bong gentleman going to a Joo to gape at a Ziraffe and a Jebra.

    Regards

  16. Anwar

    WSJ lands on my front yard around 5:00 AM every morning and I consume its contents to the last word. Concerns expressed by the editor for safety of his staff are understandable and it is important that the journalists be protected in the countries they work.

    The overall slant is conservative and neo-conish and I often find the editorials and opinions of pundits and columnists to be not much different from Mazari et. al.

  17. Majumdar

    First time I saw Ms Mazari on TV was on PTV News eons back (just before Kargil perhaps) when PTV was still allowed by GoI. It was a panel dicussion on the famous Kashmir Cell of PTV. Ms Mazari was suggesting that as the Kashmiri freedom struggle was not going anywhere it was high time Kashmiri freedom fighters shud carry their struggle to the Indian mainland as that was the only way GoI wud be forced to negotiate.

    Well, the jihad did go to Indian mainland- what she cudnt have foreseen was that the same jihad wud go to her own homeland as well.

    Regards

  18. bushra naqi

    I really hope that this kind of accountability existed here in Pakistan. Everyday the print and electronic media make slanderous statements against politicians, armed officials etc. Much of this is sheer abuse, meant to malign specific people. No clarification is presented, and the mud keeps piling.
    Here too when Shireen Mazari wrote the article, without authenticating it, she probably thought she could easily get away with it. She could have been playing only to the popular tune. It is such fabricated stories that are eroding the credibility of those at the helm of governance, and making it more dysfunctional..

  19. Milind Kher

    For a robust democracy to function, a responsible media is also important.

    This is something the fourth estate will have to provide special focus to.

  20. BILAL QURESHI

    Shireen Mazari’s empty head comes up bizarre and unrealistic and unbelievable garbage, and she recycles this material as journalism. She is not a journalist, and if you take away India bashing, America bashing, Israel bashing away from her, she has nothing else to talk about!

  21. Milind Kher

    In almost every intellectual forum, Shireen Mazari is roundly condemned. Inspite of that, how is it that she enjoys so much patronage?

    This clearly shows that there is a very powerful right wing backing her up.

    She is bad news as far as international news is concerned.

  22. Vajra

    @PMA

    Sir, I hope you will ignore my friend Majumdar-dada’s laddish humour. Since you ask, and even though I know my leg is being pulled from a great height, I take the liberty of giving a short reply:

    1. The situation in Bengali: This language follows the same set of alphabets as Devnagari, and therefore fills the mouths of innocent Bengalis with some horrible difficulties.
    * In Devnagari, the second set of consonants is “Cha, Chha, Ja, Jha, YioN”; the fifth set of consonants is “Pa, Pha, Ba, Bha, Ma”; the sixth set of consonants goes “Ya, Ra, La, Wa”;
    * In Bengali, the sixth set is normally not pronounced in the Sanskrit way, the Devnagari way; instead, the local pronunciation is “Ja, Ra, La, Ba”; this causes confusion in speaking, because of the confusion between this mis-pronounced Ja and the proper Ja from the second set, the Ja, that is, of the Jat, for instance; this sixth set Ja is the Hindi Yamuna distorted. So, Jamuna, in Bengal, not Yamuna. Likewise the Ba mis-pronounced here clashes (in speech) with the proper Ba of the fifth set.
    * There is no ‘Za’ sound in Devnagari, hence none in Bengali. In some east Bengali dialects, notably, notoriously that of Faridpur, there is a linguistic quirk that makes the people there pronounce even a normal, decent ‘Ja’ as ‘Za’: ‘Jamai’, son-in-law, ‘Zamai’, uncontrollable mirth among everyone present not from Faridpur.
    * The reverse holds true; ‘Za’ from Urdu, for instance, becomes ‘Ja’ in Bengal (actually, in Hindi as well).
    * Dada’s quip is just that, a quip, to be taken as seriously as his other utterances normally ought to be taken.
    * Another set of ‘differences’ is in the joined Ma sound in Padma; the Hindi speaker says Padma with no difficulty, in Bengal it is rendered Pad-da.
    * The other confusion is in the pronouncing of S. There are three S sounds, and in Bengal, they sound identical according to the part of the province one hails from. In the East, it is Sha, but suffers the reverse transform that the sound suffers at the Indus, namely, S becomes H. Most famously, the pejorative Saala! becomes Halaa!
    * Just to confuse things, in Calcutta, the only S heard is of the most sibilant kind; no ‘Sh’ sound at all.

    There is some difference in vowel sounds as well; taking that into account, the name of the great little dictator rendered by a Bengali would be “Porbhaij”.

    The situation is different in Tamizh. To cut things short, there is no difference in ‘Ka’ and ‘Ga’ and in ‘Pa’ and ‘Ba’. Also there is a ‘Zh’ sound which roughly corresponds to the guttural Arabic of Ramazan/ Ramadan. The sound is between ‘d’ and ‘z’.

    As ever, I am at your service (in Bengali – at your sarbhish).

  23. PMA

    Vajra (November 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm):

    Thanks for the short reply. So some in your country India may call you Bajra but not Bazra or Vazra. Thanks again.

    And Bushra Naqi (November 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm):
    And Bilal Qureshi (November 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm):

    Small interruption if I may. The story was written by some Kaswar Klasra and not by Shireen Mazari. Please continue.

  24. PM

    Paki Neocons vs AIPC Neocons. I love these games.

  25. neel123

    For information of you guys, Shireen Mazari has had a spectacular summer vacation this year in Turkey, on the Bosforus, sipping at Champagne.

    One should learn from her, how to make a decent living ………………. !

  26. Bloody Civilian

    re. mazari’s holiday

    ….. i don’t suppose it was a last minute change of venue from her beloved swat of sufi muhammad

  27. Hossp

    Oh boy, I am going to be on the wrong side of the issue here again.

    This was a planted story so blaming the poor woman who had recently taken over the Paper is completely out of line. She may be a fundo or right wing nut-job but is she worst than the prominent US journalist and columnist Charles Krauthammer for WP. In his column today which is a diatribe against the media “for not attributing the actions of the Fort Hood killer to his religion”.
    And who is complaining about the story? The erstwhile WSJ, a master of posting planted stories on every day basis.
    Is there any major newspaper in the US that does not post planted stories? WP and WSJ rely on Pentagon and the LA times and NYT often act as mouthpieces for CIA aka the state Department. Pentagon recently leaked to WP Gen McChrystal’s demands before they even got to the President’s table. Does any one remember the NYT columnist and journalist Judith Miller who was writing one big story after another about the non existing WMD before the US attacked Iraq, spoon fed by some in admin most likely her Pentagon connections?

    Who said the US journalist don’t work for the CIA? CIA itself on many occasions admitted that it uses US journalist as CIA spies. (See references below)

    I don’t read Nation or any other right wing paper but the accusations against the US journalists abroad are pretty common. N. Korea recently grabbed two women as Spies who were pretending as Journalists. Mr Clinton had to go and get them.

    There were two ways to get this WSJ person out of Pakistan. Either deport him or plant a story about his being an intelligence asset. Some in Pak intelligence used the easy way and planted the story.

    Mazari is the editor in name only. She probably has no clue what is published in that paper. The Paper is actually run by Arif Nizami whose links with the Pakistan intelligence should not be of any surprise to anyone. Btw, most of the Journalists in Pakistan have some links with one agency or another. Anyone here familiar with The lifafa journalism?

    References: Sorry no links for obvious reason but you can google both stories.
    December 07, 2001
    Is CIA Using Journalistic Cover In Afghanistan?
    Agency Won’t Discuss Taliban Defector’s Claim
    By Todd Shields
    WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency says its policy is not to use journalistic cover for its operations abroad, but it also says tough cases might force it to do so. Afghanistan may offer one current example.
    A high-ranking defector from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement told The Washington Post late last month that he was visited “two or three times” by U.S. intelligence agents posing as journalists. Mohammed Khaksar made the claim in an interview in Kabul, Afghanistan. The CIA declined to discuss the matter.
    The media have long objected to intelligence agencies using the cover of journalism, saying such a practice could expose reporters in the field to potentially lethal suspicion. “That adds an unnecessary risk,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, based in Arlington, Va.
    A CIA watchdog offered a different perspective. “In their point of view, there may be higher values than the protection of journalists — and I’m not sure they’re wrong,” said Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “It may save many lives.”
    Todd Shields is Washington editor for E&P.

    News media protest CIA spy policy

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Disclosure that the CIA retains authority to recruit U.S. journalists for covert operations is drawing protests from the news media and demands that the practice be banned. “It puts our people in jeopardy,” says Tom Johnson, president of CNN.
    CIA Director John Deutch acknowledged last week that he has the right to waive 1977 rules that forbid assigning spies disguised as reporters, or enlisting reporters to serve as spies.
    Deutch commented after The Washington Post quoted an unidentified intelligence official as saying the CIA occasionally has waived the rules, which also apply to religious and Peace Corps workers.
    Deutch would not confirm the newspaper report, but he was likely to be asked about the practice today while appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    DCI Q&A Session 2/22/96
    Question and Answer Session following the Worldwide Threat Assessment brief to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Affairs by the DCI, John M. Deutch.
    SENATOR Specter: “Director Deutch, I begin with the issue of the use by the intelligence community, alleged use by the intelligence community, of newspaper reporters, representatives of the media. There had been a generalized view that the intelligence community was not using newsmen, newswomen for intelligence-gathering operations. Recently an issue was raised in the media about an exception to that general rule where there were some extraordinary circumstances.”
    “The concern has been articulated that if the newspapers and media generally are to retain their unique status with the protection of the First Amendment freedom of speech, freedom of press, that those kinds of activities ought not to be engaged in.”
    “A counter-argument has appeared publicly, the weight of it I do not know, that some circumstances are so extraordinary as to warrant an exception to that generalized rule.”
    “We would be interested to know, first of all, whether there has been a rule that the intelligence community would not use newspaper and media personnel generally for intelligence operations. If that rule has been in existence, are there exceptions? If so, what are they? And your view as Director as to the philosophy behind it and whether any circumstance might be so extraordinary as to warrant an exception to that rule.” …

    DR. DEUTCH: “Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me begin by saying that my sympathy on this matter is very, very much with the journalistic community. I absolutely appreciate and understand the reasons that lead them to urge no interference or no cooperation with espionage services. I understand the relationship to the special character of the newspapers and other media according to the First Amendment. And frankly, as a former provost, I understand the similar kinds of concerns that academics have about potential use by the intelligence community of academics in intelligence matters.”
    “But I hope, Mr. Chairman, that you and the citizens of this country can appreciate that Directors of Central Intelligence have to also concern themselves with perhaps very unique and special threats to national security where American lives are at risk; where very important unique access can be given to protect American interests abroad; where it would be necessary to consider the use of an American journalist in an intelligence operation…”
    SENATOR SPECTER: “So you’re saying there are some extraordinary circumstances where the U.S. intelligence community would call upon journalists?”
    DR. DEUTCH: “That’s correct, Mr. Chairman.” . . .

  28. Milind Kher

    All the arguments against mediapersons American, Pakistani or any other notwithstanding, the fact remains that Shireen Mazari is a right wing nut job.

    Such people only create bad vibes, unless kept in check.

  29. Alethia

    Though some people may not agree with her, Shireen Mazari is calling a spade a spade. If her sources found that this reporter was spying against Pakistan, why shouldn’t she blow the whistle?

    I am an American and if some foreign journalist were found spying against the U.S., they should be exposed too.

    Shireen Mazari is a nationalist for her country and is ever vigilant in her protection of Pakistan, especially in dangerous time like these.

  30. vajra

    @Hossp (I’m increasingly becoming a fan of yours; we must stop meeting like this)
    @Alethia

    ” It is impossible to twist,
    Thank God, the British journalist,
    But seeing what the man will do
    Unbribed, there’s seldom reason to.”

    No doubt you will make the necessary substitution.

  31. YLH

    Well Alethia, allow me to inform you that Americans with their McCarthyism and paranoid flag waving nationalism are no model for us.

    We believe in the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness which were once the real ideals of USA and a reflection of which we find in our own founding father’s words.

    We reject McCarthyism in all its forms and manifestations.

  32. Pingback: Threats to Journalists Threaten Press Freedom « Pakistan Media Watch

  33. DCMediagirl

    Using the excuse that a story was planted is weak, to put it kindly. Judith Miller, a.k.a Dick Cheney’s and Achmed Chalabi’s stenographer, was eventually let go from the New York Times after being released from jail, but not before hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, America’s reputation was besmirched and the New York Times’ brand took a huge and well-deserved hit. It’s a shame more heads didn’t roll.

    When Jack Kelley was discovered to have fabricated dozens of stories, several people at the very top of USA TODAY’s masthead, including the executive editor, were fired, and rightly so.

    If an editor allows an unsourced hit job that could endanger the life of its subject to run, then he/she must be removed. To excuse this inexcusable lapse in ethics by creating a strawman (the story was planted, she doesn’t really call the shots at the paper) doesn’t fly. If the woman wants to call herself a journalist by publishing rumor and innuendo and passing it off as fact she should apply for a job at FOX.

  34. Milind Kher

    @Alethia,

    An excess of anything is bad. Patriotism taken to its extreme, becomes jingoism. This is what has ultimately caused most of the wars in the world.

    So, Shireen Mazari’s patriotism also has to be a tempered and sober one. We need to see what she brings to the table other than her frequent diatribes against the entities she does not like.

  35. Hossp

    @DCMediagirl
    “If the woman wants to call herself a journalist by publishing rumor and innuendo and passing it off as fact she should apply for a job at FOX.”

    Fox news is the most watch TV channel in the US. That says a lot of about journalism in the US.
    You are obviously not familiar with how the news rooms work. There are Sub editors and news editor that take care of the News stories. The editor is mostly there for the guidance and does not handle the the news that come on wire or filed by the correspondents. You may call yourself a Media girl but you really need lessons in how the media works.

    Did the NYT editor resign after Judith Miller stories were debunked immediately after the war started? Did he do any fact
    checking before the stories were published? No certainly not. Has any Editor in the US ever resigned over the planted stories that are called leaked stories in the US media?
    You certainly have mighty expectations from the Pak media but absolve the US media like it has taken shower in Aab e zamzam!

  36. Loudnclear

    Hossp: I haven’t seen anything this stupid in a long time. You are just trying to prove that you know everything about everything and in this effort you are making fool out of yourself.
    Have you, btw, ever read any clarification or apology in any newspaper? It’s always from the editor, no matter who filed it or edited it. You know why? Because editor is the one responsible for the team and whatever is printed.
    The letters sent to newspaper are edited by newsroom by prints in “letters to editor” section. Thus banner means that an editor is leading a team inthe newsroom and reporting.
    Now a competent editor will always take an action if there is a problem, to save his repo, newspaper’s credibility and to punish the reporter. But if editor is a stooge and incompetent like Mazari and plants a fake story then that’s different.
    But in any case, kid, it’s always an editor leading a team and responsible for everything that prints on a nespaper.

  37. Loudnclear

    And by the way, if you noticed

    When Jack Kelley was discovered to have fabricated dozens of stories, several people at the very top of USA TODAY’s masthead, including the executive editor, were fired.

    And Kelly was “let go” – coz there were serious professional editors who took the action.

    You think Mazari could do that? She has a dream job backed by the establishment.

  38. DCMediagirl

    @Hossp: You are exceptionally adept at creating strawmen, as is evidenced by your response to my post.

    LoudnClear’s posts are exactly correct. I’ll add the following:

    Just because a story is leaked does not mean it’s false. But it doesn’t make it true either. If you want to run a blog (present company excluded) and run wild-eyed, ridiculous conspiracy theories then good luck to you. If you’re ostensibly the head of what passes for a mainstream media outlet then you do something called “fact checking.”

    To reiterate, I believe I made it crystal clear that yes, editors DO get fired when reporters run false stories. USA TODAY conducted an exhaustive investigation into Jack Kelley’s work during which dozens of his stories were closely scrutinized. The findings were deeply embarrassing for the paper, which had been hoping Kelley would be their first Pulitzer Prize winner.

    In Kelley’s case, his falsifications were legion. He claimed to have traveled to parts of Pakistan he never set foot in. He wrote a story about a woman who drowned escaping from Cuba to the United States. The woman called the paper to inform them that reports of her death had been greatly exaggerated. He wrote that he was in Jerusalem during the Sbarro bombing (he was) and saw a head rolling down the street following the explosion, an account contradicted by his IDF guide and other eyewitnesses. The examples I’ve mentioned are merely a greatest hits reel. When the extent of his numerous falsifications came to light the top editors were fired and Jack became a cautionary tale. Why were the editors fired? Did they read every word he wrote before the paper was put to bed? I have no idea. If they didn’t read his stories before publication should they be held responsible? Of course.

    It is correct that the editors responsible for publishing Judith Miller’s incorrect stories kept their posts. But the paper printed the following “Editor’s Note”:

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0526-15.htm

    Did it go far enough? In my opinion, no. But the point is it was printed because the powers that be at the NYT had an obligation to apologize for their shoddy oversight of a reporter who eagerly participated in a massive fraud.

    I use the FOX model because of the leak of a series of memos written by John Moody, a former executive. In those memos he detailed not only the stories to be covered, but HOW the stories should be covered and even in some cases what language to use. The leaking of the memos caused a stink precisely because this practice is unheard of at reputable news organizations. While every media outlet decides in the morning what the day’s fare will consist of, NO ETHICAL NEWS EDITOR dictates the slant of a story BEFORE the story is reported. I’m referring of course to straight reporting, not the editorial page.

    Before you conjure up another straw man, let me emphasize that yes, editors do decide what will go in the paper or on the air. BUT. If they knowingly allow false and/or unsourced or dubiously sourced stories to run then they are not an editor. If they tell the reporters to take a particular point of view and/or use certain language in their reporting then they are not an editor. They are merely a conduit for a stream of propaganda. This behavior is considered to be a gross breach of professional ethics. An editor who permits or encourages his or her news organization to be used as a pawn for an outside agency is a PR flunky who should go into another line of work.

    “The editor is mostly there for the guidance and does not handle the the news that come on wire or filed by the correspondents”

    This is laughable. An editor does not handle news that is filed by the correspondents? Maybe you should familiarize yourself with how Ben Bradlee handled the explosive material written by Woodward and Bernstein during Watergate. If a reporter wanders over to his immediate editor and says “oh by the way, I’ve got a great story about a WSJ reporter who’s an agent for the CIA/Mossad/Blackwater that I want to run”, you think the head editor (correction – a RESPONSIBLE head editor) won’t be alerted and make a final decision as to whether or not that story will run? It appears the point is that the Nation doesn’t give a toss as to whether or not a story is accurate or the content passes the laugh test.

    Now to FOX. People turn to FOX for a variety of reasons. They agree with the political agenda. They like to look at the female anchors or the Hooters waitresses or the porn stars or strippers the channel features. They gawk at the freak show that is Glenn Beck. FOX is a right-wing entertainment channel masquerading as a news channel. People with sense realize this and don’t fall for that “Fair and Balanced” malarkey.

    And if it’s ratings that equal credibility then perhaps we should make Simon Cowell the president of CNN.

    Your final line suggests that criticizing the editor of the Nation means by default that I’m waving the red, white and blue. I don’t engage in cheap patriotism and make no secret of my criticism of the American media.

  39. DCMediagirl

    One quick follow-up to my previous post. I’d be interested to know whether Rehmat Shah Afridi, Najam Sethi and Arif Nazami would back up Hossp’s observation that editors merely “provide guidance” and do not handle stories filed by reporters.

  40. Hossp

    Yeah, NYT printed the note but none of the editors resigned. Because the editor or the editors knew they were running planted stories.

    “Just because a story is leaked does not mean it’s false. But it doesn’t make it true either.”

    Some spacious logic. Can be said about the story planted at the The Nation.

    You obviously have never worked for a newsroom and have no clue about what happens at the newspapers. I don’t know how Sethi and Afridi operate but they manage small papers and perhaps can’t afford news editors.
    Btw, was Rehmet afridi editing paper from the jail were he spent almost 9 years?
    You are clearly clueless. It is tiring. No interest in writing another post to you.

  41. DCMediagirl

    ” ‘Just because a story is leaked does not mean it’s false. But it doesn’t make it true either.

    Some spacious logic. Can be said about the story planted at the The Nation.”

    Thank you for proving my point. I’m glad we agree that the Nation printed a story that was, as the original post points out, “based upon information from a nameless source and has no supporting evidence.”

    As to your claim that the two women from Current TV who were arrested in North Korea were spies, I’d like to know who your source is apart from Kim Jong Il.

    Your comment about the three editors I mentioned speaks for itself.

    And the word is “specious” by the way.

  42. Shifa Haidry

    A very interesting article by Shirin Ahmed Qureshi.

    Life Threat: A New Weapon To Silence US Critics In Pakistan

    Mr. Rosenberg works for Wall Street Journal’s India bureau but has been spending time in our tribal belt for the past few months. Interestingly, the US media, which has been treating Pakistan as the enemy for the past five years, prefers to cover Islamabad from New Delhi. Tells you something about the mindset.

    The Nation’s Mr. Kaswar Klasra published a story on Nov. 5 revealing that, “Agents of notorious spy agencies are using journalistic cover to engage themselves in intelligence activities in NWFP and FATA.” Mr. Rosenberg’s name appeared in the story. To be fair, Mr. Klasra telephoned Mr. Rosenberg in New Delhi as part of his research and gave him space in his story to defend himself, including quoting him say, “Let me tell you that I am not working on any hidden agenda.”

    Fair enough, right? Not for the small and loosely knit group of pro-US commentators who have become vocal in Pakistan over the past few months with the rise in US meddling in our affairs. This group includes a few academic types, commentators and those who are paid for providing ‘consultancy’ on how to spend US aid in Pakistan. This group is now raising alarm over Mr. Klasra’s report, accusing his newspaper of ‘endangering the life’ of a US citizen, who is back in the Indian capital anyway.

    This has become the weapon of choice to intimidate anyone who criticizes US policies and wrongs in Pakistan. Do this and you are instantly accused of ‘endangering the lives of US citizens’ in the country. I first heard this line when I reported earlier this year how a US diplomat used a house in Islamabad to arrange a private meeting between an Indian diplomat and several senior Pakistani bureaucrats. To my surprise, a Pakistani journalist telephoned me on behalf of the US diplomat to say my reporting endangered the diplomat’s life. The foreign office later issued a statement warning government servants to refrain from attending such meetings without prior permission. [In October, the Foreign Office has written to all embassies and high commissions banning any direct meetings between foreign diplomats and Pakistani ministers without prior clearance from the Foreign Office. The move came after frequent direct meetings between US and British diplomats with two senior federal government ministers.]

    http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/life-threat-a-new-weapon-to-silence-us-critics-in-pakistan/

  43. Mudasar

    Whoever is in favor of this article needs to be hanged till death you morons do you have cocks in your heads instead of brains…..Shireen Mazaris every word is filled with justified facts…nothing more should be said…her interview with that whore of dawn news clearly justifies how badly americans and even over puppet country is eager to suppress what ever rightful objection that we point out…I salute you Shireen Mazari…Its only because we have less people like you, our country has turned out to be a waster…