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Picture This

Sunday, Apr. 02, 2006 1:03 AM

Howard Kaloogian, a candidate for Randy "Duke" Cunningham's congressional seat in California, came to light this past week for erroneously having a photo of Istanbul, Turkey labelled as a street scene in Baghdad on his website. Said photo was supposedly from Kaloogian's "Truth Tour" of Iraq this past summer - a journey undertaken with a number of conservative talk show pundits who were going to bring the 'real news' of the War on Terror to the folks back home.

First to blame was the staff for his website, who had gotten things mixed up. But both film and digital cameras shoot in sequence. It shouldn't have been that confusing. And a digital camera has a timestamp, so you could have told if that was the day you'd actually been in Baghdad.

The suspect photo, whose actual location had been ferreted out by a reader of the Daily Kos website, was quickly replaced by a wide shot from the balcony of a hotel within the 'green zone' - an area safely behind military cordons. And, sadly, it also showed a police station that had been bombed since the tour.

Kaloogian's next move was to blame the media and the "Blame America First" crowd, the convenient scapegoats for all the nation's ills. Make a few thousand tactical errors? The Blame America First crowd will document each one for you, apparently.

But was it the media who put the wrong photo on Kaloogian's website? Was it the Blame America First crowd? I hardly think so.

The truth is, Mr. Kaloogian, that thousands of Iraqis have been killed within the past few weeks as sectarian differences - fanned by the flames of insurgency or not - spiral out of control. And I will give you some credit on this one - the media isn't reporting the truth, showing an aversion to the words, 'civil war' as if wishes were horses and we were all playing polo.

When it comes to truth, Mr. Kaloogian, try putting a helping of responsibility on your own plate, and stop blaming liberal boogeymen for your problems.

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