Blogger slams media over phosphorous story failure

By Lou Thomas

American blogger who was instrumental in causing the Pentagon to admit
US troops used white phosphorous to attack insurgents in Fallujah has
slammed mainstream news organisations as “irresponsible”.

In an indication of how influential the blogging phenomenon has
become, Mark Kraft, creator of the Livejournal blog, also told Press
Gazette that one of his contacts, a US soldier, was threatened, demoted
and told to not maintain a blog or read or reply to any others.

Kraft said: “It stuns me just how behind the story the press is on Iraq.

White phosphorous use in Fallujah was hardly a great secret.

“All the evidence was right there.

who investigated the matter on Google could have found it easily
enough, but the US State Department denied it just the same. It was
irresponsible of the media for not calling them on it earlier.”

He said there seemed to be a strong reluctance among the media to actually investigate and confront discrepancies.

added that the large news organisations seemed unwilling to research
and present uncomfortable facts that don’t fit in with the popular

He said: “First-hand accounts of soldiers are ignored,
but third- and fourth-hand spun accounts from official channels are

Richard Sambrook, BBC director of global news,
defended the mainstream media. He said that deadlines and resources
dictated that it would always be the case that individuals could find
information or have information that the main news organisations would
not get.

Sambrook said: “A lot of people who are interested in
Iraq will think this should have been pursued harder by news
organisations, but there will be just as many people who will say we
should have been pursuing things like global warming or immigration
more doggedly.

“I’m sure there will be various conspiracy
theorists out there that say news organisations try to bury the story,
but I genuinely don’t thing that’s true.

It’s opened up public
discussion, but I don’t think blogging is the same as the front page of
the newspaper, its much more like the editorial page.”

that US troops were using white phosphorous as part of “shake and bake”
attacks on Iraqi insurgents in Falluja during November 2004 surfaced at
the time of the assault on the Iraqi city.

The US State
Department denied claims for a year before Kraft published details from
Field Artillery magazine and North Country Times on his blog.

articles, and the Italian documentary Falluja: The Hidden Massacre,
helped force the Pentagon to withdraw its denial earlier this month.

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