Iraqi Civilian Murders, Hero Caught, “Sneaky Tiki”

Army Criticism

In’s report, “Military Raises Questions About Credibility of Leaked Iraq Shooting Video,” writer Justin Fishel reveals his in-depth investigation into a well-known, “whistle-blowing” news agency’s (WikiLeaks) release of a classified military video, in which WikiLeaks alleged that troops can be seen murdering innocent Iraqis. Posted on April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks claims the civilians did nothing to provoke the attack, and that the video shows “another day at the office” for the U.S. Army.” The military maintain there were several reasons they opened fire against the “civilians”: first, one individual held an AK-47 assault rifle; second, another held a rocket-propelled grenade launcher; three, the two cameraman who were also killed were not wearing any distinguishing attire to make clear they were in the media. WikiLeaks edited the video, so these shots were not seen, and they admit they did so but say “It’s ludicrous to allege that we have taken anything out of context in this video,” because “Nearly every Iraqi household has a rifle or an AK,” but, as Fishel points out, households don’t have RPGs.

There are two reasons this piece qualifies as news. One, like the hacker story Steven Glass is caught fabricating in Shattered Glass, it is scandalous. That a news agency like WikiLeaks, trusted to provide accurate and honest information, would strip military video down to portray our armed forced as heartless and brainless is appalling. If there was grounds on which their assertions were made plausible, then I could understand why they’d run the story, but it’s unfounded garbage, and they got caught. Two, most Americans appreciate the sacrifices made by our troops, even if they don’t agree with our Iraqi occupation. To show that US soldiers made shrewd decisions in a rather difficult circumstance gives the public a reason to trust them. Also, with the  Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse in 2003, the piece acts as a balance between those military personnel who misuse power and those who try to use it well.

Find it HERE.

Hero Caught in the Act

A humble hero’s identity, who on Saturday helped save a 2- year-old girl from frigid river water near New York’s South Street Seaport, has been discovered. Julien Duret, 29, a French tourist was tracked down in France after his daring feat that made the girl and her parents, tourists from California, all together grateful. Duret humbly admitted that “I don’t really think I’m a hero. I didn’t think at all. It happened very fast. I reacted very fast. … I’ve never done anything like that before,” adding, “I am just happy that the family has been reunited.” He discreetly sped off in a taxi after the ordeal.

Heroes, thankfully, make news. Of the usual hot topics that the public longs to hear about (murders, drug busts, scandals, etc.), hero stories also have a rightful place. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps people, deep within their souls, wish to be hailed as a brazen, fearless wonder (as the Genie does for Aladdin after the Sultan announces his daughter’s engagement to Disney’s riffraff: “Hail the conquering hero!”). Or, maybe, they’re comforted that a world filled with terror, a high-crime rate, and political schemes, still encompasses a few upright men and women. Who knows what the reason is! I’m just relieved a baby, on the brink of death, now lives.

Find it HERE.

“Sneaky Tiki”

Of all news outlets, the New York Post disclosed that family man and all-star football player, Tiki Barber, has left his wife of 11 years for an ex-NBC intern, Traci Lynn Johnson, who he started seeing when employed by NBC as a correspondent. Ginny Barber, who’s 8-months pregnant…with twins, has taken the more traditional role of a mother, staying home to raise the Barbers’ two other children. His adulterous affair comes as a surprise to a public who has seen the star as an honorable fellow, one who scorned his own father’s lecherous behavior: “I don’t give a [bleep] that the relationship didn’t work,” he said of his parents’ divorce in 2004. “Not only did he abandon her, I felt like he abandoned us for a lot of our lives. I have a hard time forgiving that.”
A family friend expressed his dismay, “We were shocked to find out that he could walk out on his wife of 11 years while she’s pregnant with twins. He was with this girl in Senegal while Ginny was three months pregnant.” Barber released a statement yesterday, April 6, 2010, saying, “After 11 years of marriage, Ginny and I have decided to separate,” Barber said. “This decision was a painful one, but we are moving forward amicably.”

Forget the superficial scandal that is this story’s hook. What makes it compelling is the implicit hypocrisy of the smiley star (and that he is famous). In his memoir, he glorifies the family, saying it should be center and that he adores his above all. In the above comment about his cheating father, his hatred towards the heartache an adulterer can cause is obvious. I’m not saying journalists should go looking for said hypocrisy (creating a tabloid world of false gossip), but if it’s available and it’s true, the public should hear it, just as they heard about Ted Haggard.

Find it HERE.


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