October 26, 2007

Bobby Calvan's Blunders, Part Duh!

He put his posts back up, unedited. I'm saving the juicy ones, which the cache didn't save. 

That said, let's look at his apology, titled "The Blogoshpere reacts." Yes, I spelled that correctly, I copied it directly from his blog.  He's a reporter after all, he knows these things

The response to one of my earlier posts, headlined “Simply Simpatico,” caught me off guard — further evidence of my naivete when it comes to the blogging world. My modest blog about my experiences in Iraq — that I assumed would only garner interest among family and friends — caused quite a stir.


FAIL 

Dude, its the intarweb, people go to every corner of it looking for stupid crap.  They hit a jackpot when someone found your site.  Did it ever occur to you that maybe someone went to the Asian-American Journalist Association's Sacramento page and found a link to your site?  This may sound shocking, but there probably are Asian journalists who have respect for the Armed Forces or for their own trade. 

From AAJA's site(the link above),

BOBBY TO BAGHDAD

Bobby Caina Calvan, a reporter for The Sacramento Bee, will be serving a tour of duty in the Baghdad bureau of McClatchy Newspapers, the Bee's parent company. He is expected to be in Iraq for six weeks. Calvan is a member of the AAJA Sacramento board. To catch up on his adventures in Iraq, visit his blog at http://blog.calvan.net/ . He bids everyone a fond ma'as-salaama.


I should note on the AAJA's blurb, "A tour of duty"?  I don't think I've ever heard BillINDC, Yon, or any of the other guys who go over refer to their stints as "a tour of duty."

It was one of only a few pages that came up when I was looking for a cache of your pathetic screeds yesterday, so I consider that a possible source.  Of course, someone could have just typed in your name from an article you wrote and found it too, probably.

By the way, this blog was never sanctioned by my employers, The Sacramento Bee and the McClatchy Co. It was meant to be a private blog that chronicled my experiences in Iraq and a way for me to express my personal thoughts. Again, it was meant for friends and family — to save me the trouble of responding to every e-mail I would get. I should have made this blog private — and judging from the response I’ve gotten, I should consider such a move.



You probably should put a big disclaimer across your banner saying that.  Not that it matters, you pretty much follow the exact stereotype people on the right have towards journalists, and the fact that we know what we know alone hurts the Sacramento Bee. 

As for going private...awww, that's no fun, we won't get to watch how your little mind processes the latest propaganda piece for the MSM.


Yes, I’m obviously new to blogging. Sometimes I share too much. The blogosphere has reacted and pointed out my folly. Yes, I can be pushy. Arrogant, too. I can also be wrong.

Consider this my apology.




Nah, I think you shared juuuust enough.  I'd say you aren't pushy, you've got enough arrogance for a dozen.  As for your apology, I'm guessing that's a "sorry I got caught," apology.

Overwhelmed by the e-mails, many of them vitriolic, I initially edited the post, then blocked further comments. Finally, I took down the site. Unfortunately, my actions were yet another faux pas, I was told; I should have left up the post and created a new one to share my reactions and issue an apology.


Thank you blogosphere for getting him to put the site back up so we could cache/screencap it.  You almost got away with it, you bastard.  Thank God you're such an ignorant rube. Though I will say, it generally is true, you should leave up what you wrote, or if you have to edit it, note that you're editing it, and apologize for what you effed up on or explain why.

Yes, I am getting well-deserved criticism. But surprisingly, not all of the subsequent e-mails I got were vitriolic. Some were thoughtful. A few gave good advice.

There are many fine men and women serving in Iraq. There is no doubt about that. I’ve spoken to quite a few of them in my brief time in Baghdad. They have done their best to help many of us do our jobs. It is an environment that is extremely stressful and challenging.




Yeah, you haven't been there long and you're already sneering at people, what happens after a few months when you aren't as fresh, you're tired and worn, homesick, are you gonna be able to remember that...I have my doubts, but we'll see.

The soldier at the checkpoint to whom I referred to in my earlier blog was doing his job. That much I do know. I was trying to do mine. In the end, he let me and my security guy in — after rightly taking the necessary steps to verify our identities.


And what is your job, Mr. Calvan?  That's the real question here, can you be trusted to tell the truth in your reporting, or are you there with an agenda.  Do you really respect the Armed Forces, or do you only respect them when you're in trouble?

My blog should not have upbraided the soldier. My personal reflections — ramblings, if you will — about the incident should have been kept private.


Your blog didn't "upbraid" the soldier, asshole, you did.  As for your personal reflections, nah, I think they shouldn't have been private, I'm glad you put what you are out there.  It looks to me you're more sorry you got caught than you are sorry for being an elitist dickhead.

Perhaps any future incarnation of this blog should be private, too.


Idiot.
From here....

Risky Business

Date October 21, 2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Jenan understood the story that was already being composed in my mind. I was after vivid descriptions that could, if warranted, paint a scene of chaos, anger and grief.

During a predawn raid on Sunday, U.S-led forces had descended on Sadr City, a volatile section of Baghdad, in search of the leader of a rogue Shiite militia. At first, the military said it had killed six insurgents and insisted that none of the casualties were civilians.

But Iraqi police had a different story. They said 13 had died, including one woman and three children. Iraqi television showed scenes of carnage and of grief. It showed doctors treating victims, young and old, and mourners surrounding a coffin.

Jenan, a Shiite member of our staff of local reporters, went to work to track down witnesses. She spoke to at least two by telephone. But I pressured her for more. I wanted an interview with a doctor. I wanted quotes from some of the injured, maybe even words that captured the anger and grief of the family of the dead.

She said the best recourse would be to go out to the scene, and that she would do it.

I paused.

She insisted that she knew the neighborhood, that it would be no problem for her. It was a Shiite neighborhood and no harm would befall her. She said she needed to get to the truth amid a clash of information from the U.S. military and local authorities.

She wanted to go to the scene and see for herself. Her instincts were that of every good reporter.

But the reality undermines our quest for truth: Since the start of the war in 2003, at least 119 journalists have died in Iraq, nearly 100 local journalists.

Jenan knows first hand of the consequences. A close friend, an Iraqi reporter for CBS News, was killed five days after being abducted from his home in late August.

Ultimately, it is up to us to decide how far we will take our quest for the truth. In has nothing to do with courage or fear. It’s about a mission.

I told her I would leave it up to her — after she consulted with our office manager and security consultant. In no circumstance would she go alone. She would be accompanied by a driver.

The office manager said he would not stop her, neither would our security adviser — if she felt strongly enough that she would be safe. I told her that if she had even the smallest doubts, I would forbid her to go.

Our security adviser, in a hushed voice, reminded her of her close friend. The memory shook her. She confessed her doubts, that she was not as familiar with the area as she had earlier professed.

The decision was settled, we all agreed: She would not go.

We would have to gather the details by telephone. We would have to write around what we could not get. You can read the story here.

In the end, the military increased the number of dead. The raid, the military said, killed 49 insurgents. The military insisted that none of the casualties were civilians.

In an odd twist, Iraqi police stuck with the same number of dead, although increased the number of injuries. The discrepancy left many questions.

We will ask those questions. And we can rest assured that we will still have Jenan to ask them.

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From here,

Simply Simpatico

Date October 23, 2007

(NOTE: This post was previously edited, then removed. By doing so, I was informed, I have violated blog protocol. I have reposted it in its entirety, with the caveat that it was reproduced using a post from another blogger who had preserved my original post.)

Lima is beautiful in the spring, when it’s not too hot, I was told. Machu Pichu is a must see, too.
My visits to the Green Zone are always a joy when I pass through checkpoints manned by Peruvian troops, with whom I have established a rapport. Sure, they are sticklers for rules, but unlike Ugandan troops — who have the warmth of armed robots — the Peruvians are simply simpatico.
They are a friendly group with easy smiles. They’ll chat you up while being frisked — a pad down with benefits. They’ll engage you in conversation once they discover you speak their language.
The experience isn’t nearly the same with other multinational forces. The Ugandan troops are often terse. While not mean, their reticence often makes one feel like one of the many sheep being herded through Baghdad’s many checkpoints.
The Americans, however, are the absolute worst. I had a testy exchange Tuesday with an American soldier at an entry checkpoint into the Green Zone.
Most of my entries into the Green Zone had been by car. I was running late to cover a news conference (because one of my security folks was late for work), and we decided to take a short cut through the Green Zone, instead of driving all the way around to get to the Iraqi foreign minister’s office. We had no trouble getting in. (Read the story here.)
We parked the car, and I headed out of the Green Zone (along with one member of my security staff) to attend the news conference. Getting out is seldom ever a problem.
When the news conference was over, we headed back.
That’s when trouble started.
At the first check point, a pair of Ugandan soldiers asked for identification. We showed our military-issued badges. Unbeknownst to us, we were supposed to be carrying an additional form of ID.
He asked for a passport. I told him I didn’t have it on me. (The advice is to lock up your passport once in Baghdad and never take it out until departing.) He asked for another form of ID, and I replied that I didn’t have anything else.
The American soldier assigned by the U.S. military to oversee this particular checkpoint came over to investigate the problem.
He asked if I had a driver’s license on me. I told him I didn’t have one. He looked incredulous. Why would I need a driver’s license in Baghdad; I wouldn’t be driving, I told him.
He took offense at my response.
Then he looked at the second ID of my companion. It was a badge issued by our newspaper. He said it wouldn’t do. Besides, he asked, what is Knight Ridder?
“I never heard of it,” he said. He probably would have never heard of McClatchy, either. (We use Knight Ridder because it already had a bureau in Baghdad before the chain was bought by the McClatchy Co.)
I explained that it’s one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States. It owns the Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Kansas City Star.
“I know the Miami Herald, he said. I used to live there. But I never heard of Knight Ridder.” He began to chuckle, pronouncing the company as Knight Rider. Perhaps his chuckles stemmed from memories of the 1980s television show “Night Rider.” He then seemed to mock us.
We couldn’t call for an escort, because he wouldn’t let us switch on our cell phones. (Cell phone batteries need to be removed at most checkpoints.) If we wanted to use our cell phones, we would have to make the far walk beyond the barricades and razor wire. We would have to put ourselves in danger by standing out in the middle of downtown Baghdad where I could become a potential target. (As required, I was wearing my body armour, despite the heat.)
With nothing to lose I decided to get pushy.
I asked him how he could not possibly know that Knight Ridder was one of the country’s largest newspaper chains. I told him that we’re bigger than the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m from Atlanta. I only know the Journal,” he said.
“I thought you said you also knew the Miami Herald,” I retorted.
“We’re bigger than the Journal,” I replied. “You never heard of Knight Ridder?”
He didn’t want to be embarrassed. He already looked irritated. He asked me if I knew the number of the military’s media office.
“I would if you’d let me switch on my phone,” I snapped. “What’s the use of these media badges if people like you aren’t going to honor them? Is this for nothing? Why don’t you call? That’s your job, isn’t it?” I made it known that I was jotting down his name.
My security man was struggling with a smirk on his face. He knew my plan. I was going to bully my way back into the Green Zone.
The man with the gun glowered as I continued my barrage of protests. The Ugandan soldiers were oblivious to the commotion, despite the growing line behind me.
The American soldier called another soldier on his radio to ask if he had ever heard of “Knight Ridder.”
To my relief, the voice said that, yes, Knight Ridder is one of the country’s biggest newspaper companies, that it owned many of the country’s largest newspapers.
The soldier in front of us explained the situation to his colleague. The voice on the other side suggested that we be let through, that the media office would only instruct him to simply confirm if the pictures on our media badges matched the ones on our shoulders.
When you’ve got nothing to lose, I told my security officer, you do what it takes. He nodded in agreement.

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Keeping this bit of goodness too...

The Blogoshpere reacts

Date October 25, 2007

The response to one of my earlier posts, headlined “Simply Simpatico,” caught me off guard — further evidence of my naivete when it comes to the blogging world. My modest blog about my experiences in Iraq — that I assumed would only garner interest among family and friends — caused quite a stir.

By the way, this blog was never sanctioned by my employers, The Sacramento Bee and the McClatchy Co. It was meant to be a private blog that chronicled my experiences in Iraq and a way for me to express my personal thoughts. Again, it was meant for friends and family — to save me the trouble of responding to every e-mail I would get. I should have made this blog private — and judging from the response I’ve gotten, I should consider such a move.

Yes, I’m obviously new to blogging. Sometimes I share too much. The blogosphere has reacted and pointed out my folly. Yes, I can be pushy. Arrogant, too. I can also be wrong.

Consider this my apology.

Overwhelmed by the e-mails, many of them vitriolic, I initially edited the post, then blocked further comments. Finally, I took down the site. Unfortunately, my actions were yet another faux pas, I was told; I should have left up the post and created a new one to share my reactions and issue an apology.

Yes, I am getting well-deserved criticism. But surprisingly, not all of the subsequent e-mails I got were vitriolic. Some were thoughtful. A few gave good advice.

There are many fine men and women serving in Iraq. There is no doubt about that. I’ve spoken to quite a few of them in my brief time in Baghdad. They have done their best to help many of us do our jobs. It is an environment that is extremely stressful and challenging.

The soldier at the checkpoint to whom I referred to in my earlier blog was doing his job. That much I do know. I was trying to do mine. In the end, he let me and my security guy in — after rightly taking the necessary steps to verify our identities.

For that I should have been thankful. My blog should not have upbraided the soldier. My personal reflections — ramblings, if you will — about the incident should have been kept private.

Perhaps any future incarnation of this blog should be private, too.

[NOTE: I’m leaving for an assignment, so there will be a delay in putting up new posts. Thanks for your understanding.]


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