More than a month after Ron Harris of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch exposed the fraudulent anti-war veteran Jimmy Massey’s lies about alleged atrocities committed by him and his fellow Marines, the Associated Press has finally, finally acknowledged its own role in spreading Massey’s unsubstantiated smears:
In a lengthy telephone interview with The Associated Press, Massey repeated his claim that his unit _ and he personally _ fired on the demonstrators. He said four were killed. He said his original estimate of 10 was inaccurate.
But reporters and a photographer who were embedded with the 3/7 say there is no evidence such a shooting happened _ indeed, no evidence that the Marines confronted any demonstrators so early in the war.
“There was certainly no organized protesting, no `Go home,’ anything like that,” said Ravi Nessman, an AP reporter who knew Massey while he was embedded with Weapons Company. “When (the Marines) were driving into central Baghdad, they were cheered.”
“Things went bad much later,” he said.
Ron Harris, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter whose November article called into question Massey’s claims, said neither he nor any Marine he has interviewed remembers a protest.
“What demonstrators?” he asked in a phone interview. “It was almost like a parade atmosphere. People had been lining the streets for blocks to see these Marines drive by…”
As Harris had noted in his ground-breaking package, the AP had quoted Massey numerous times without interviewing Nessman, the wire service’s own reporter embedded with Massey’s unit:
The Associated Press, which serves more than 8,500 newspaper, radio and
television stations worldwide, wrote three stories about Massey, including an
interview with him in October about his new book.
But none of the AP reporters ever called Ravi Nessman, an Associated Press
reporter who was embedded with Massey’s unit. Nessman wrote more than 30
stories about the unit from the beginning of the war until April 15, after
Baghdad had fallen.
Jack Stokes, a spokesman for the AP, said he didn’t know why the reporters
didn’t talk to Nessman, nor could he explain why the AP ran stories without
seeking a response from the Marine Corps. The organization also refused to
allow Nessman to be interviewed for this story.
Now, AP admits its failures:
The Associated Press quoted Massey five times between May 2004 and October 2005 _ four times directly, and once citing a CBC report in which Massey said his unit had committed “cold-blooded, calculated murder.”
In each case, Massey alleged his platoon had killed innocent civilians or committed atrocities against Iraqis. Two of the five stories included Marine Corps denials of Massey’s allegations.
“Clearly our stories should have included the firsthand observations of our own embedded reporter,” said AP Managing Editor Mike Silverman.
Meanwhile, the disgraceful Jimmy Massey marches on. This week, he’s in Kuala Lampur for the Perdana Global Peace Forum:
“I have flashbacks and nightmares. I am not the same man I was before I went to Iraq. I don’t enjoy the activities I used to. I don’t like to go out of the house sometimes due to paranoia. My experiences (in Iraq) changed every single aspect of my life,” he said in an e-mail interview.
Massey has to take six different kinds of medication daily in order to function “somewhat normally…”
“I have made it my life’s mission to tell the people of America and abroad exactly what happened to me over in Iraq,” he added…
And it seems he’ll always be able to find willing, anti-American enablers.