Blogs Over Baghdad

(AP (file))
You gotta love this – it looks like the AP/conservative bloggers/Jamal Hussein dustup is going to result in some bloggers actually going to Iraq. If you haven't been following all this, here's what's happened so far: Late last month, the AP ran a story asserting that suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia "grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene." Bloggers questioned the veracity of the story and its primary source, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, and CENTCOM released a press release saying that the story could not be corroborated and that Hussein is not a real Baghdad police officer.

Then the AP hit back, releasing a statement from International Editor John Daniszewski arguing that the "attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question." The AP then re-reported the story and put out a follow-up piece, with new, albeit anonymous, eyewitness reports of the attack. A spokesman for the Iraqi interior minister maintained that the alleged incident was a "rumor," and the blogs complained that the AP's explanations were unsatisfying. They also called on the AP to produce Hussein.

There's more to all this – a lot more – but that's a good primer. Now the latest: Former CNN executive Eason Jordan has invited Michelle Malkin and Curt from Flopping Aces, the two bloggers most aggressively criticizing the AP, to come with him to Baghdad and try to track down Hussein. Jordan has a new Web site called IraqSlogger, which Editor & Publisher calls "a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse for nonpartisan information," and presumably he has offered to pay for Malkin and Curt to join his team in Iraq to get a little publicity for the new effort.

"…the search for Jamil Hussein is on, and rightly so," writes Jordan. "IraqSlogger's team in Baghdad is working to track him down. If we find him, we'll get back to you with details. If we can't find him, we'll report that, too. If Michelle Malkin wants to join the search in Baghdad, IraqSlogger will pay for her trip, and I'd even be willing to accompany her." Malkin agreed to go and asked that Curt come along, and Jordan agreed.

Malkin refers to Jordan as the "guy who admitted covering up for Saddam Hussein and who resigned from CNN after baselessly slandering the U.S. military," which should give them something to talk about as they travel through Iraq. And the other righty bloggers love him even more. Should be fun to see how well the gang gets along.