Michael Yon returned to Iraq last month for another journalistic tour. Timothy Phelps wrote his report from Washington.
Timothy Phelps says that Basra is in near total chaos. Michael Yon says, “Basra is not in chaos. In fact, crime and violence are way down and there has not been a British combat death in over a month.”
Timothy Phelps bases his report on “wire reports.” He appears to have last been to Basra in August of 2005. In fact, a significant amount of Phelps’ reporting about Iraq is datelined “Washington,” and is “supplemented with wire reports.” Michael Yon was in Basra as recently as this summer.
Timothy Phelps buttresses his assessment with the opinions of Senator Chuck Hagel, whose own opinions are based on two instances of “I was told”. Michael Yon bases his opinions on “I saw.”
I don’t know which of the two reports about Basra is accurate, but what does appear to be the case is that only one of the two reporters has the ability to balance “I was told” with “I saw.”