Monday, April 03, 2006

Howard Kurtz Owes Jill Carroll An Apology

Eric J. Weiner made 2 entries in the Huffington Post today, here and here.

The gripe was with columnist for The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz, seeming to take a position regarding statements that Jill Carroll made after her release, while she was still on Iraqi soil. Without knowing the details, many on the right, and blowhards such as Don Imus, attacked Carroll's patriotism. The problem was, and is, that Kurtz has yet to issue an apology for his comments.

This is what Kurtz wrote in his Friday "Media Notes" column in WaPo, in a piece titled, "Questions About Carroll's Captivity" (emphasis is mine):

"This is a courageous young woman.

"I must say, though, that I found her first interview yesterday rather odd. Carroll seemed bent on giving her captors a positive review, going on about how well they treated her, how they gave her food and let her go to the bathroom. And they never threatened to hit her. Of course, as we all saw in those chilling videos, they did threaten to kill her. And they shot her Iraqi translator to death.

"Why make a terrorist group who put her family and friends through a terrible three-month ordeal sound like they were running a low-budget motel chain?

"Now perhaps this is unfair, for there is much we do not know. We don't know why Carroll was kidnapped and why she was abruptly released. She says she doesn't either, but surely she must have gotten some clues about her abductors' outlook and tactics during her 82-day captivity. Maybe she was just shell-shocked right after being let go. Maybe she won't feel comfortable speaking out until she's back on American soil.

"As my colleagues in Baghdad point out, when that interview was taped, Carroll was still in the custody of a Sunni political party with ties to the insurgency. It may have just made sense for her to be especially cautious. And they tell me that Carroll did cry -- off camera -- when the subject of her murdered translator came up. Still, people are buzzing because her taped remarks have been played over and over again on television. I hope she'll be able to share a fuller account of her ordeal soon."

Forget couching the comments to hedge his bets. Those allegations should not have been made until Carroll was on American soil and given a chance to explain her actions.

Today, Kurtz did not apologize in either his daily column, or 1-hour online chat.

Kurtz knows the power of the written word, he needs to take responsibility.

No comments: