Monday, April 03, 2006

Jill Carroll, pt 3

you've probably seen the by now iconic image of Jill Carroll on the left, above. Over the weekend Editor and Publisher released the uncropped image to the right from which it was derived. The statement she issued clarifying her earlier comments is at the Christian Science Monitor, here.

(I was frankly surprised at the degree of venomousness that was directed towards her by some of the opinion-meisters of the right shortly after her release, although I suppose I no longer should be. It would be nice if we saw some sorrowful retractions, but maybe that's expecting a bit much. Although two things occur to me about her earlier comments: 1st, if she didn't want to talk to the US military, why is that something to apologize for-- if she had in fact said that, couldn't that just be seen as a matter of fatigue, and consequently not wanting to deal with any officialdom, military or otherwise?And secondly, if she was in fact experiencing some degree of identification with her captors, isn't that cause to be compassionate for her, and the trauma that presumably caused this, rather than criticize her?)

but more on the photo above:from E and P:

Borzou Daragahi, a Los Angeles Times Baghdad correspondent, was among the reporters who urged U.S. news outlets not to report on Carroll's Jan. 7 abduction during a 48-hour media silence that drew some criticism. He now says that initial delay allowed Carroll's supporters to carefully release information about her that promoted the most positive image. Included was a widely-published photo, taken by his wife.

"I was heavily involved in the initial effort to keep a low profile, keep a lid on the news," Daragahi said just hours after Carroll's freedom was revealed. "And part of the campaign to pursue a certain image of her - who she is, a very, very serious-minded person."

Daragahi said the delay in news reporting about her abduction gave "some measure over control of the message and time to figure out a media strategy. It gave us time to portray her in a way as the serious journalist she is before the media got a hold of one of her ex-boyfriends or something."

Daragahi pointed to the now-famous head shot of a smiling Carroll in dark, Middle Eastern women's garb that became the image of her during three months in captivity. He said his wife, Delphine Minoui, a freelance journalist based in Baghdad, had taken the photo last September at the Baghdad convention center, where much of the new Iraqi government business was being conducted. She and Carroll were there together on Sept. 5, 2005.

The original photo, which included an unidentified Iraqi woman, was taken in a convention center bathroom and later cropped by Daragahi to show only Carroll. "I cropped out everything except the picture of Jill looking smiling and nice," he said. "I only showed her looking very pious, that was the value of the picture."
He said his wife and Carroll had met the woman in the bathroom. "It was just a funny moment at the time that they were sharing," he recalled. "They saw this Iraqi woman who wasn't dressed like an Iraqi and Jill, who is not Iraqi, was dressed like an Iraqi. It was a funny moment."
Controlling the message. Showing her captors that she was a person, winning "hearts and minds." Perhaps the Christian Science Monitor and a guy from the LA Times know how to do this better than the best and brightest minds of the Institute for Near East Studies, the PNAC, and the rest of those puffed up would be experts who told us that we would be greeted as liberators.

Jill Carroll calling her parents from Iraq. Getty Images.