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A Voice From Above, And to the Left

Iraqi Bloggers (Cont'd)

A question from this column has prompted one of three Baghdad brothers to leave the blog they had launched to support Iraqi democracy.

Omar and Mohammed Fadhil, who are both dentists, stopped by for an interview last month during a visit to the United States. They said Ali, their brother and co-author of their site, IraqtheModel, couldn't make the trip.

_____More Media Notes_____
Iraqi Bloggers, In the News And Critiquing It (The Washington Post, Dec 20, 2004)
This Just In, From The Guy Next Door (The Washington Post, Dec 13, 2004)
At NPR, Ombudded With the Troops (The Washington Post, Nov 22, 2004)
The Making of a Non-President (The Washington Post, Nov 15, 2004)
Let the Explaining Begin! (The Washington Post, Nov 8, 2004)
_____Live Online_____
Media Backtalk (Live Online, Jan 10, 2005)
Media Backtalk (Live Online, Jan 3, 2005)
Media Backtalk (Live Online, Dec 20, 2004)
More Discussions

Now Ali has declared in an online posting: "I had some serious doubts about that trip to the U.S. and did express them to my brothers. I saw that it was an unnecessary risk."

After Omar and Mohammed were ushered into a hastily scheduled meeting with President Bush, the trip's coordinator provided an e-mail address to ask the brothers about their reaction to the Oval Office session. This reporter's message apparently went to Ali.

"I got a mail from a journalist in the Washington Post asking about the meeting with (POTUS). After that mail, I decided to quit," he writes. Concerned that the Arabic media picked up news of the Bush sitdown from this column, Ali says: "It's one thing to risk your life for doing what you believe in and serving your country and humanity and it's totally another thing to risk your life just to meet (POTUS)."

Omar and Mohammed said last month that they refused to be afraid about speaking out. Ali, meanwhile, apologized for suggesting in his farewell posting that some Americans had been engaging in unspecified bad conduct and he would "expose these people in public very soon." That declaration, he writes, "was probably the most stupid thing I've ever done in my life."

Kerry Redux

How exactly did Newsweek's Evan Thomas score a post-election interview with John Kerry? "The pundits have never liked me," the Democratic candidate told him. "Is it the way I look? The way I sound?"

"A lot of it was off the record," Thomas says of the 2 1/2-hour session. "I would get him to put certain things on the record." Kerry summoned Thomas to his Boston townhouse in early November to complain about the harsh and gossipy tone of the magazine's behind-the-scenes post-election report -- now expanded into a book -- noting, for instance, that Newsweek twice called him soporific.

"I'm sorry he felt that way," says Thomas, who tried to get Kerry's permission to report the remarks before the book's publication this week. "I think he was doing his duty to stand up for his staff and family, for Teresa." Thomas's talk with Kerry prompted him to make a few changes in the manuscript.

Career Suicide

Daniel Finney resigned as a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter after being suspended for blogging. But not just any kind of blogging. As reported by the Riverfront Times, Finney wrote "Rage, Anguish and Other Bad Craziness in St. Louis" under a pseudonym, often ripping his employer. Of the Post-Dispatch's annual 100 Neediest Cases drive, which the veteran reporter wrote about for the paper, Finney said on his blog: "I must admit that I feel as if a good number of these needy cases could be avoided by a well-placed prophylactic."

Finney, who declined an interview request by The Post, told the Times: "It was a kid's mistake, and I'm old enough to know better, and I regret it."

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