Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Say Cheese!

I know there are more urgent issues to discuss, but allow me to return to the Howard Kaloogian story for a brief moment. After all, it's not wholly without import. Kaloogian is vying for a Congressional seat that the Democrats could pick up on the GOP, and that's something. In addition, Kaloogian's shenanigans are a microcosm of the mendacity involved in the "things are fine in Iraq but for the media's distortions" narrative that seems to be the GOP's talking point du jour. So it deserves a thorough trouncing. Now on to the fun stuff.

First, despite Kaloogian's claim on his website that he "just returned from a 10-day trip to Iraq" his trip actually concluded in July 2005. If anyone is interested, under Kaloogian logic, I "just" turned 25. The TPM Muckraker has more [emph. mine]:

As we now know, the key photograph, purportedly showing a "more calm and stable" Baghdad, is actually of a streetcorner in Istanbul. Funny story: Kaloogian didn't actually take that picture. (His Web page caption read "We took this photo".) In fact, he didn't go to Istanbul; his return trip went through Athens. "Everybody in the group, we all shared pictures," Kaloogian told me. "I'm sorry, I don't know who took it."

And check out Kaloogian's response to the questioning:

"You're being really picky on this stuff," Kaloogian told me. "It's not that big a deal. It was a mistake. I'm sorry."

Yeah. What's the big deal? Picture of Istanbul, picture of Baghdad. It's all the same right? Even if you're using the former to prove the peacefulness of the latter. Either way, the media distorts reality.

Speaking of which, via Atrios, the Kaloogian campaign finally got an actual picture of Baghdad up on its website. But check out the photo: a far away, bird's eye view pic taken from such a distance that it's hard to tell anything about the calm and stability below. Leaving aside the fact that a photograph is literally one snapshot in time, and nobody (not even the dreaded MSM) claims that the violence is a 24-7, omnipresent phenomenon. It doesn't have to be for life to be terrifying and brutal for Baghdad's residents. Not exactly proving your point there Howard.

In my prior post on the subject, I suggested that the photo of Istanbul would make a nice accompaniment to Ralph Peters' own dishonest take on the same topic. Ralph can use the new one instead if he prefers. The removed from the scene perspective in both works is eerily similar.

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