One Media Matters-like organization is already too many. It appears as though there’s another liberal apologist blog out there. Their name is News Hounds. The post that caught my attention dealt with last weekend’s interview of Justin and Darryl Sharraltt on Hannity’s America. To say that their post didn’t attempt to refute Justin’s story is understatement. In fact, they jump right into criticizing Mr. Hannity:

Last night’s (October 27th) Hannity’s America was a strange magazine format which combined stories about mediums and haunted houses with a lead off interview that was billed as “The Truth About Haditha.” Hannity is a college drop out with no professional journalism credentials and this lack of professional journalistic acumen was well reflected in Hannity’s “leading questions” which served a political agenda. (Comment: Although Fox’s Chris Wallace can be partisan, he looks like Cronkite compared to Sean Hannity!)

Hannity billed his interview with Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt, his lawyer, and his father as “exclusive.” He began by noting that this interview would be a response to Congressman John Murtha and military officials who are “trying to paint the story with a different brush.” Before the interview began, Hannity set up the Fox/right wing premise by asking the not so rhetorical question “have politics gotten in the way of patriotism?” Without doing an overview of the Haditha story, he asked Sharratt to explain what happened on that fateful day. Hannity asked Sharratt if he saw any of his fellow Marines doing anything that they weren’t supposed to do. Not surprisingly, Sharratt said that he didn’t. Hannity mentioned the article in Time Magazine which reported that the Haditha civilians claimed they were attacked by the Marines. Hannity asked Sharratt why Time would report that and Sharratt said he didn’t know.

You’ll notice that Newshounds doesn’t mention Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore’s sworn testimony. I posted about Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony in a post titled A Timline Emerges back in July. Here’s what I posted then:

As previously reported by NewsMax, the battalion S2 officer made a full and complete report based on his monitoring of the day’s events and the intelligence he and others had amassed then and previous days. As we wrote at the time, the PowerPoint after-action report he sent up the command ladder proved to all the higher officers that the incident warranted no further investigation.

I also mentioned these important details that should’ve been included in NewsHounds’s post:

  • Intelligence gathered by Marine S2 officers in advance of the events of Nov. 19th, 2005, revealed that it was known that an insurgent ambush was planned for the day.
  • Although exact details of the planned ambush were not known, some important details were revealed, most importantly, that some 20 insurgents would take part, and a white car would play an important role in the ambush.
  • The intelligence was made available to the officers and men of Kilo Company, including Sgt. Frank Wuterich who has been charged with, among other things, murdering the occupants of a white car that came on the scene following the IED explosion that killed one Marine and seriously wounded another. The evidence will show that Wuterich acted appropriately when he shot the passengers of the vehicle.
  • Although the media continues to report that 24 innocent civilians were killed that day, the S2’s testimony shows that eight of the dead, including four of the five occupants in the white car killed by Wuterich, were known insurgents and the dead civilians therefore numbered 16, not 24.
  • The insurgents whose communications were intercepted and which revealed the planned ambush were the same two men who were the sources of the fallacious and dishonest Time magazine story, which was the source of the accusations against the Marines.
  • As previously reported by NewsMax, the battalion S2 officer made a full and complete report based on his monitoring of the day’s events and the intelligence he and others had amassed then and previous days. As we wrote at the time, the PowerPoint after-action report he sent up the command ladder proved to all the higher officers that the incident warranted no further investigation. None!

Based on Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to say that either Justin Sharratt or Frank Wuterich committed murder, the type of crime that Rep. Murtha has accused them of. In fact, Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony weakens the cases against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani and First Lt. Andrew Grayson for dereliction of duty. Here’s what USMC’s website says about the charges against Lt. Col. Chessani and 1st Lt. Grayson:

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey R. Chessani

Charge: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 92

Specification 1
(Violation of a lawful order): wrongfully failed to accurately report and thoroughly investigate a possible, suspected, or alleged violation of the law of war by Marines under his command. (Maximum punishment dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years). Referred to General Court Martial on October 19, 2007

Additional charge preferred October 19, 2007

Charge II: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 92

Specification: (Willful dereliction of duty): willfully failed to report, correct, update or supplement information about the incident in Haditha; willfully failed to accurately report to higher headquarters that the incident constituted a possible or suspected violation of the law of war; and willfully failed to direct a thorough investigation into the incident. (Maximum punishment: dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months) Referred to General Court Martial on October 19, 2007

Charges dismissed October 19, 2007
Specification 2 (Dereliction): willfully failed to ensure that this possible, suspected, or alleged violation of the law of war was accurately reported to higher headquarters. (Maximum punishment: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months)

Specification 3 (Dereliction): willfully failed to direct a thorough investigation into this possible, suspected, or alleged violation of the law of war. (Maximum punishment: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months)

First Lieutenant Andrew A. Grayson

Charge I: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 92
(Dereliction)
(Maximum punishment: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months)

Specification 1: willfully failed to ensure that this possible, suspected, or alleged violation of the law of war was accurately reported to higher headquarters.

Specification 2: willfully failed to ensure that a thorough investigation was initiated into this possible, suspected, or alleged violation of the law of war.

Charge II: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 107 (False Official Statement) (Maximum punishment: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and
confinement for 5 years)

Specification: did with intent to deceive, make a false official statement.

Charge III: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 134 (Obstructing Justice) (Maximum punishment: Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 5 years)

Specification: did wrongfully endeavor to impede an investigation.

Frankly, the prosecution’s cases against Lt. Col. Chessani and 1st Lt. Grayson are crap. According to Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony, the incident in Haditha was turned into a PowerPoint presentation. It’s impossible for me to believe that Chessani and Grayson didn’t contribute to that report.

Not that News Hounds would’ve noticed though. They don’t mention anything about Lt. Grayson and mention Lt. Col. Chessani only once:

“Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani is charged with dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order based on the allegations that he failed to properly investigate shootings” and Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault.”

Then News Hounds says this:

Hannity used the segment as an opportunity to bash John Murtha who was reacting to information which had been disclosed by the US military. Hannity’s viewers are left with the impression that the Haditha matter has been closed with no culpability on the part of the military who, as we know from Vietnam, have been involved in atrocities because, as Murtha noted, they are under pressure.

Actually, Murtha wasn’t “reacting to information which had been disclosed by the US military.” Here’s what Murtha originally said when questioned about his sourcing:

Asked about his sources during a midday briefing on Iraq policy in the Capitol, Murtha confidently replied, “All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they’re talking about.” Although Murtha said that he had not read any investigative reports by the military on the incident, he stressed, “It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine.”

A person could get intellectual whiplash reading Murtha’s quotes. First Murtha tells reporters that he got his information from “the commanders, it comes from people who know what they’re talking about.” Then he says that he hadn’t “read any investigative reports by the military on the incident.” If you think that’s dizzying, you’ll love this part:

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for
libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.
But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17. On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

At the time, Gen. Hagee was the Marine Corps Commandant, which is usually a Pentagon job. When Murtha was first asked about who briefed him, he said that “the commanders” had given him “all the information I get.” I’ve never served in the military but even I know that commanders isn’t a term used to describe Marine Corps commandants. I’m equally certain that Rep. Murtha would know that, too. After all, he served in the Marines and since it’s his job to talk with people inside the Pentagon.

It’s obvious that the Haditha Marines didn’t overreact. Based on Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony, they followed the ROE in dealing with a tense situation. Yes, civilians were killed. The truth is that insurgents use civilians as human shields, hoping that the soldiers thinks twice, which is all that an insurgent/terrorist needs in tight spots.

In conclusion, News Hounds spent little time doing the research needed to do the article justice. Instead, they focused on Sean Hannity and FNC. The guest poster (Priscilla) showed her political beliefs when she said that “Fox’s Chris Wallace can be partisan.” She obviously didn’t hear that Chris Wallace is a registered Democrat.

The sad part is that News Hounds gives John Murtha the benefit of the doubt even though he admittedly made the accusations without reading any reports with firsthand knowledge of the incident yet they all but accuse Justin Sharratt of playing partisan politics because Sean Hannity is the only bigtime journalist who’s interviewed him.

The worst part is that they don’t mention that all murder charges have been dropped.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

3 Responses to “Media Matter’s Alter Ego?”

  • booyah says:

    The guest poster (Priscilla) showed her political beliefs when she said that “Fox’s Chris Wallace can be partisan.” She obviously didn’t hear that Chris Wallace is a registered Democrat.

    Zell Miller is/was also a registered Democrat.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Zell Miller is/was also a registered Democrat. That’s true but he always said that he was a conservative Democrat. Zell Miller delivered the keynote address at Bill Clinton’s first nominating convention.

    What has Chris Wallace done to prove his partisanship? I thought asking tough questions of Republicans and Democrats alike was simply being a journalist.

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