Quip of the week: journalist division

“[With that level of military protection] even Paris Hilton could ride a bicycle in a bikini through Anbar province.â€?

That was NBC Iraq correspondent Tom Aspell’s summary of the PR stunt from Republican presidential candidate John McCain, meant to prove a claim he made recently that as a result of the CoW’s surge it was now safe to walk through some areas of Baghdad.

McCain demonstrated just how safe a street-market was in the company of a US Congressional delegation, while flanked by 100 ground troops, wearing a bulletproof vest and overlooked by rooftop snipers, three Blackhawk helicopters and two Apache gunships, thus provoking Aspell’s remark.

Media coverage has been almost universally cavilling. Even Iraqhawking Fox News didn’t report McCain’s excursion sympathetically, peppering their report with accounts of military deaths occurring just before, during and after his trip to the market.

Pam Spaulding has more.


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Posted in elections, Iraq, USA
15 comments on “Quip of the week: journalist division
  1. Mark says:

    Thanks, tigtog, I thought that was worth a post. Interesting to note the attacks made on another journo, Michael Ware (a Brisbane boy I went to uni with) for allegedly showing disrespect to Walnuts!

  2. Katz says:

    Can Paris ride a bike?

  3. tigtog says:

    I couldn’t find it again to reference in the post, but I read one MSM piece where one of the market stallholders was talking about how many sales he had lost during the day due to McCain’s little jaunt (the market had barriers in place and military checkpoints for several hours before McCain arrived – without the troops and the media the market would have been pretty empty)

  4. Adam Gall says:


  5. wpd says:

    James Hider of the London Times writes, , “21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market [Shurja] visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.”

    The war in Iraq is lost and has been for some time.

    As for Paris and bikes, there’s a line there somewhere but I won’t touch it.

  6. tigtog says:

    I want to see everywhere I go rated by the Paris-bicycle-bikini safety system.

    Is Circular Quay Paris-bicycle-bikini safe? And just how safe is that? How many Paris-bicycle-bikinis could safely ride there?

    How many Paris-bicycle-bikinis could safely ride around the oval at the AFL Grand Final? Or the Sydney Mardi Gras parade? Hmmmmmm?

  7. Shaun says:

    So, to make Baghad safe, each citizen just needs 100 ground troops, a bulletproof vest, a few snipers on the lookout, three Blackhawk helicopters and two Apache gunships.

    All too easy.

  8. tigtog says:

    Don’t forget inexpensive, Shaun. What a bargain!

  9. In support of your opinion re McCain protection:
    I am informed by Vanity Fair magazine April issue feature
    on Tim Spicer, ex-Sandhurst, Ex-Sandline,
    that he has a US$293 million contract from the pentagon,
    to provide security in Iraq, and that seems to consist of
    “subduing xenophobic-Iraquis-with-guns”.
    One would think that was the job of the military, but wait, there’s more:

    The UK Government Accountability Department reveals that there are at least 48,000 private military contractors in Iraq.

    Google ERINYS, AEGIS, Executive Outcomes.
    The conclusion I am drawing from this, is that similar to outsourcing everywhere else, these people are proxy-military, but if they are killed, they don’t add to the War Casualties Toll.
    Scary, possums.

  10. Enemy Combatant says:

    Surge McCain, Mesopotamian Maverick, foresakes Straight-Talk Express for “spontaneous”stroll down Baghdad’s Bullshit Boulevarde.

    Shoulda stayed on the bus. PR-wise he’s now damaged goods. Makes him unelectable for the office he craves. Big Giuli’ll be jumpin’ for joy.

  11. The allegation that Ware heckled McCain was made by an unnamed source on the Drudge Report. That’s hardly journalistic gold, and disproved quite trivially by watching the actual press conference in which the affair was supposed to take place.

    A shame it happened, but probably inevitable. I wouldn’t be surprised that Drudge feels personally threatened by Michael Ware, and his “I don’t suffer fools gladly” stare. Maybe because the former plays at being a journalist, and the latter really is one.

  12. hannah says:

    You know there are some really scary elements to McCain’s stunt.
    1.Did he really presume that 100 soldier escort/helicopters above/clear the area etc equals a stroll in the park?
    What sort of mentality does that show?
    When the soldiers and the choppers and the body armour materialized why didn’t he realize that there was something wrong with his basic premise and abort the stunt?
    2.Did he really presume that everybody, including the mainstream media, would presume that the body guard is irrelevant to the stunt and expect commentators to agree that Baghdad is safe? that nobody would notice the body armour or the fells with guns?
    “The willing suspension of disbelief”.
    3.Does he, and his colleague who likened it to a walk in Indiana, [if I was the Indiana Tourist Bureau I’d be a little bit unhappy about that reference] really truly expect the public to swallow their story hook line and sinker without question?

    It all adds up to a massive dis-connect with reality on all sorts of levels, and lack of concern about same.

  13. Kim says:

    Does Drudge have one?

  14. Shaun says:

    I’ve read through the controversy and I believe it goes something like this:

    There was an allegation of someone giggling at McCain’s press conference. It is believed that Michael Ware has giggled at sometime in his life so with his presence at the press conference but no indication that it was actually Ware, he is therefore the culprit (based on his past history of giggling) even though video evidence and testimony from other reporters present offers no support for this view. And since neo-cons don’t like Ware, what the hell and lets create faux outrage because it is much better than dealing with the implications of McCain’s pathetic stunt.

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