Al Jazzera has a story up about the attack in Zamazola, Afghanistan which was announced by thePakistani government as an attack on Taliban fighters.
In my mind, it’s a case study on what reporters ought to be doing in this complex, media-aware war.
Here’s the lede:
Al Jazzera has obtained exclusive pictures of the aftermath of an airstrike by Pakistani forces which killed at least 10 people.
The footage shows an unexploded bomb that could not have been fired from the helicopter gunships that the Pakistani military said carried out the raid.
Pakistan’s military said the airstrike on Tuesday targeted suspected al-Qaeda compounds but villagers in Zamzola said only civilians were killed.
In Salamat Ghundi, another village, residents told Reuters news agency that an unmanned US drone aircraft carried out the attack.
“This is wrong. We have already denied it. This is usual that such things are said on such occasions but these are wrong,” Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s military spokesman, said on Friday.
OK, then they go to the facts on the ground.
On Thursday, journalists, who were escorted to Zamzola by armed men, were shown an unexploded missile which was just under two metres long and marked ‘MFP AMF YORK 0873′. Villagers said it was dropped during the airstrike but its casing appeared to be old and weathered.
That’s what I’m talking about. It’s the same thing that Anderson Cooper did when Hezbollah stage-managed press coverage in Lebanon – he described what he was seeing. That way we – the audience – can begin to put the reporting into some kind of perspective and make reasonable judgments about it.
That’s what we have the right to expect from journalists.
That’s why I’m unhappy with AP – they don’t do that. It’s time they started.