The Associated Press defends the story of the Russian bombing of Poland after it became clear it was a lie
Last Tuesday, the American Associated Press reported that “an American intelligence official says Russian missiles bombed Poland, which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), killing two people.”
And this agency’s rules state that its correspondents can give “anonymous” status to any source if that source is “reliable,” but if that’s not the case, it shouldn’t be granted that status.
MSNBC presented the worst form of reporting the Associated Press could put out, showing thousands of tweets about World War III that trended on Twitter.
In the afternoon of the same day, the Reuters news agency published a statement stating that “Poland is likely to activate Article 4 of the NATO Charter.” For its part, the American newspaper The Hill reported that “(US President Joe) Biden called an emergency meeting with his allies from the rich countries of the Group of Seven after Russian missiles killed two from Poland”.
On Tuesday night, The Washington Post used the frenzy to line up supporters of NATO, writing: “Poland is a member of NATO, and of course an attack on any member of the alliance triggers Article 5, which says that any attack, armed against one of NATO.” -Members is the NATO member states in Europe or North America, it is considered an attack on all member states, and then force must be used against the attacker. For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “I have no doubt that the missiles that hit Poland came from Russia.”
Russia did not fire the missiles
And while the Associated Press published its false story on Tuesday, others pointed to evidence that Russia had not fired those missiles at Poland, and others had gathered good information, and others felt that the Associated Press should not publish this news could trigger a third world war. On day two, details emerged about some of the events, particularly how local players attempted to falsify or profit from the story.
I called the Associated Press on Wednesday morning and asked them a few questions, focusing on whether the agency should identify the source. The agency’s Nicole Meir finally responded succinctly on Wednesday night when she asked me to take a look Correction they had posted regarding “The Story of the War in Ukraine” but there is one detailed question that remains unanswered: why is the Associated Press still defending a source that allegedly gave it false information?
False sources must be uncovered
In an article I wrote in 2017, I said, “Should the media expose the source that’s lying to them?” And I said, “Not exposing the sources of fake news is like having a loaded gun lying around, and when there is one crisis occurs and a government source wishes to slander a foreign government or even contribute to the outbreak of war. Can this mechanism be replicated without fear of consequences or accountability? The source can hide behind statements (the identity of the source is unknown), just as their media hide behind anonymous sources, thus evading accountability.
The solution is to expose the false sources so we can have a responsible discourse. Part of the anonymity deal is honesty, and why should reputable media protect their anonymous sources who may have received fake news? So they do it again?
As I was writing my article, there was an example of this that ended disastrously: New York Times journalist Judith Miller reported in 2002 to an anonymous source of an official in the administrations of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who claimed that a government scientist thought the aluminum tubes Iraq was trying to procure were for their nuclear weapons program. This was a false statement and was used to justify the war against Iraq. When I confronted her about it in 2005 and asked her who that source was, she didn’t tell me the truth.
What is the world we want?
On the other hand, in 1996, the Wall Street Journal served as a source to run a smear campaign on behalf of a cigarette manufacturer and then target an undercover government security man. What we want is a world where false sources are propagated by their lies without accountability, eh leads to catastrophic wars, or do we want a world where false sources don’t survive the lies they fabricate, where we institute some procedures to be held accountable for big mistakes?
Last Thursday, the Washington Post published an article entitled “How Anonymous Sources Raise False Warnings of Russia Attacking Poland?” by Ilah Izday and Paul Farhi, but as with the previous examples, the Post was not asked to cite the Associated Press source .
It is possible that the agency has a valid reason for not disclosing the name of the source and they need to clarify this very seriously and we do not know the source’s motives for releasing such information but it seems, as many believe, that it appears to be part of a coordinated attempt to activate Articles 4 and 5 of NATO’s Charter of the Covenant, which will lead to a major war, perhaps nuclear war, or perhaps it’s an extreme form of saber-rattling against Russia. The Associated Press is required to identify the source so it can be held accountable.
Sam Hosseini is a freelance journalist
At the time the Associated Press published its false story, others pointed out that there was evidence that Russia had not fired those missiles at Poland and others had gathered good information, and others felt that the agency should not publish these messages.
It is possible that the agency will argue that there is a valid reason for not disclosing the source name and they should explain this very seriously.
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