If there is anything more wretchedly unethical than "embedded" reporting, it would have to be covering up the possible crimes of those with whom one is embedded by reporting them as if they were committed by "the enemy."
The subject of a lead story on today's All Things Considered was the notorious 8-mile stretch of road leading from Iraq's capital to the main airport. This is the same road, as correspondent Peter Kenyon pointed out, on which US troops opened fire on Italians Giuliana Sgrena and Nicola Calipari in March. As you may recall, during that incident, both survivors indicated a flash of light, either presently or concurrently accompanied by a hail of gunfire.
Well, in Kenyon's report, an Iraqi who lives near the airport road had a similar experience -- but since the rest of the piece was about rebel-made roadside bombs, the listener was left to believe that whoever fired on the Iraqi man's car was a rebel. It really was a clever piece of passively whitewashing what was likely a crime committed by US troops. (How likely is it that rebels would hang around to stage a small arms ambush on a civilian vehicle of no particular import, and would flash a light in the process?)
Here is what Iraqi Omary Ayad says, largely out of context, at the end of Kenyon's report about the danger rebel attacks on the road:
Yeah, once I was driving at about ten o'clock, and there's no lights at all, there's no electricity, and suddenly I just saw a flash of light and a sound of bullets. I didn't recognize that the bullets hit the car about five centimeters above my head until I reached my home and I see the place of the bullets.
NPR's "journalist" made no reference to any conjecture on Mr. Ayad's part about who had opened fire on him, but it is hard not to wonder if it was American troops.
Kenyon did make note of the US report that followed up on the Sgrena/Calipari shooting incident, but only to note that it pointed out that insurgent attacks on the airport route had increased after the January 30 elections. As mild as the report's criticism of the shortcomings of US checkpoint and blocking position protocol were, Kenyon left them and any other remotely critical comment out of his report.
With news media this obedient, who needs Stars and Stripes?