A black eye for N.H. journalism: Coverage of Liberty pardon barely covered a 'Brief'

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A week after obtaining a stunning rebuke that disproved the government's narrative of what happened in Nisour Square, Iraq, on Sept. 14, 2007, The Rochester Voice on Oct. 7 sent a copy of it to the executive and managing editors of The Washington Post.

In our hearts, we were hoping that Martin Baron and Cameron Barr would email us back, thanking us for our submission of the Habeas Corpus motion from the Maher Legal Group of Geneva, Ill, and investigate further including giving voice to their credible assertions.

In our gut, however, we feared they would do nothing, especially now that the men of Raven 23, wrongly imprisoned for a war crime they did not commit, had been dubbed the Biden 4.

Our gut proved to be right unfortunately. Neither The Washington Post nor any other alleged mainstream media outlet had any appetite to further investigate the malevolent and pernicious prosecution of the Biden 4.

The Rochester Voice never got an email, and the Maher Legal Group never got a phone call.

But a crueler cut came on Wednesday when a day after Evan Liberty of Rochester was pardoned by President Trump, news outlets across the state including statewide outlets like NHPR, WMUR and the Union Leader turned up their journalistic noses (which should be sniffing for the truth) and ran with wire stories from the Associated Press and Reuters rather than produce a staff-written story that offered a little depth and body to a case that cost U.S. taxpayers more money than any prosecutions since 9/11.

In fact, except for The Rochester Voice, we can find no other New Hampshire newspaper or digital news platform that produced its own story.

One of the wire stories ignominiously used was from the Associated Press, in which its authors opined, "The pardons, issued in the final days of Trump's single term, reflect Trump's apparent willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to American servicemembers and contractors when it comes to acts of violence in warzones against civilians."

We should make it clear the statement had no attribution. It was an opinion offered as fact.

The story, which led with the fact that the Blackwater guards were convicted "in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead," also refers to the four men as "former veterans," a term we had never even heard before.

The authors of this story also noted that "Blackwater contractors were notorious in Baghdad at the time and frequently accused of firing shots at the slightest pretext, including to clear their way in traffic."

Some might think this was great background material for folks to understand "how evil" Blackwater guards were, but the authors failed to mention as background that in September 2007 40 percent of U.S. casualties in Iraq were caused by Improvised Explosive Devices and car bombs, according to a Brookings Institute report.

Now that would've been some good context, but I guess it didn't fit AP's narrative.

And they also don't report in their story that the morning of the Nisour Square incident, Blackwater guards had been warned about a white Kia that, according to intelligence reports, was equipped with a car bomb and roaming the city looking for targets.

Coincidentally, it was a white Kia that refused to stop as it entered the circle. Despite repeated commands it lurched forward toward the Raven 23 convoy as other vehicles stopped and turned around.

The driver was finally killed when it refused to stop.

So, it's not always what you put in the story that can make a difference; it can also be what you leave out.

For any "real" journalists the Habeas Corpus motion from the Maher Legal Group can be read at file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Heard%20Raven%2023%20Come%20Back%209%2014%20%202020%20(5).pdf

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