Sunday, May 02, 2004
Reuters Getting Desperate

Now this is just getting ridiculous. Reuters "News" Service reports on the escape of one Thomas Hamill from his Iraqi captors:

U.S. hostage Thomas Hamill is free three weeks after television pictures showed him being driven away by armed men following an attack on a convoy in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday.

"He apparently escaped from a building," Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told a news conference in Baghdad.

"He came out of a building and identified himself to American soldiers. It looks like an escape," Kimmitt said.

Mississippi farmer Hamill was a truck driver for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root, which has a major logistics contract with the U.S. military as well as another deal rebuilding the country's shattered oil infrastructure.
Sounds like a straightforward story (the above is the entire thing as of 8:15 AM EDT), right? Easy enough to headline this: 'Hostage Escapes Iraqi Captors.' So how does Reuters cap it?
American Hostage 'Escapes' from Iraqi Captors
<sigh> Even the AP is willing to omit the scare quotes on this one:
U.S. Hostage Hamill Escapes in Iraq
Matter of fact, the AP story is a much better example of how a story on the subject should be researched and written. Well done.

As for Reuters, I'm not sure why they felt the need to taint this story...or at least I wasn't - until I reread it. Here's the AP version [emphasis added].
American hostage Thomas Hamill was found by U.S. forces Sunday south of Tikrit after he apparently escaped from his captors, the U.S. military said.

Hamill, 43, of Macon, Miss., who had been held since an attack on a convoy April 9, was "in good health," said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

Kimmitt said U.S. military units were patrolling a petroleum pipeline when Hamill, a truck driver for a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corp., approached and identified himself.
Well, there's your explanation.

Oh and one more thing. Just to demonstrate how 'evil' these private sector workers are, guess what Mr. Hamill did after escaping? If you guessed 'requested a trip home,' you'd be wrong.
"Mr. Hamill apparently escaped from a building," Kimmitt said. "He has spoken to his family. He is now ready to get back to work."
The man was held hostage, at least four of his compatriots were killed, and after he escapes he doesn't immediately return home, but rather goes back to work? Now that's amazing.
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A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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