August 22, 2004


Is it just me, or is this title -- Iraqi athletes object to Bush campaign ad: Soccer players say president shouldn't exploit their success -- a little different from the crux of the article's content?


However, the Iraqi Olympic delegation accused journalists of deliberately provoking an angry response from their players.

“Our purpose is not to politicize the football team in any way,” Mark Clark, a consultant for the Iraqi Olympic Committee, said. “It seems the story was engineered.”


But Clark insisted journalists were wrong to take advantage of the athletes.

“It is a little naughty,” he said. “The players are not very sophisticated politically; they are a little naive. Whoever posed these questions knew that the reaction would be negative.

“It is possible something was lost in translation. It’s a free, new Iraq, and the players are entitled to their opinions but we are disappointed.”

Iraq’s soccer players once lived in fear of Uday Hussein, son of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, who used to beat the soles of their feet or throw them in prison for slip-ups on the pitch.

Under current coach Adnan Hamd, they have defied the odds to reach the quarterfinals at the Athens Olympics, where they will play Australia on Saturday.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:40 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Looks like a case of trying to be "fair and balanced" while being anything but. If accused of being slanted, the writer could point to the the body of the article - knowing that many people will only see the title. I wonder where Mark Clark stands politically, if anywhere. Can he be objective? BTW, I think it is possible to be angry over having one's images etc. in an ad without necessarily being against the person the ad is for. I would not be too pleased if I were mentioned in a Bush ad without my permission, regardless of how I thought about Bush. But that deals with mentioning me as an individual. Mentioning whole teams already in the public eye is arguably different. And who knows what the journalists asked the athletes. If I were asked, "Bush has a new ad saying that you want Americans to vote for him, so what do you think?" I'd be mad. I couldn't get the ad to play properly on my dial-up connection, so I don't really know, but I hope the ad is nothing like that. What little I saw did not give me that impression. I assume the ad is saying that Bush's policies freed the athletes. Not that they endorse him. Is that wrong?

Posted by: Amritas at August 22, 2004 06:09 AM (vDqr8)

2 THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! My Mom said she heard about this all night on TV - but I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm posting the link (with a hattip to you) on ITM, Nabil's blog and others. You are a gem!

Posted by: Kathleen A at August 22, 2004 01:18 PM (vnAYT)

3 An Iraqi whose native tongue is Arabic, and in Greece for the Olympics is watching Bush's TV ads? Not to mention the fact that the ad doesn't even show or talk about the Iraqi athletes! But then again, SI is part of the same company as CNN. And we all KNOW Ted Turner called the 9/11 degenerates 'brave.'

Posted by: Tanker Schreiber at August 22, 2004 04:48 PM (nL894)

4 Tanker, For the record, I don't think there was some directive from Ted Turner or even SI's editorial staff or whoever to distort. I think some reporters, imagining what a Bush ad must be like (vile, of course), asked the athletes unintentionally inflammatory questions about an ad they hadn't seen and they gave inflammatory answers. The problem with media bias isn't people scheming to fool the masses; it's reporters whose longtime assumptions are so deeply ingrained that they are not aware of them.

Posted by: Amritas at August 23, 2004 01:46 AM (A8VTg)

5 Mark Clark is a U.S. government employee. He worked for the CPA as a public affairs specialist.

Posted by: gnomon at August 23, 2004 06:10 PM (6XPqE)

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