You knew this was coming.
After Editor & Publisher reported a blogger's apparent discovery of the existence of Jamil Hussein, an Associated Press source in Iraq whom numerous conservative bloggers declared didn't exist, Warner Todd Huston declared in a Dec. 18 NewsBusters post that Hussein's existence isn't the issue:
However, E&P seems to be missing the real story... as usual.
The fact is, whether this Captain Hussein exists or not, there is still no corroboration for the story of six burned Iraqis.
And, it has always been a staple of journalism that more than one source be required to publish a story reported as "fact". After all, if only ONE source is ever needed for a story, then anyone can publish anything as "fact" merely upon any single person's say so.
I slept with Marilyn Monroe, ya know? Print that as fact, AP... just because I say so. Even though I was but a child when she was found dead. But this one source says it's true, so the AP MUST assume it could be fact!
But as we've noted, the AP has cited other witnesses to the story of the burned Iraqis, so there is more than one source.
While the AP could certainly be more forthcoming on this issue, and while there are legitimate issues to be raised (Bob Bateman offers a less ideologically charged look), Huston and others have an agenda in their criticism: to discredit any war reporting they don't agree with, no matter how true it is.