Pentagon FOIA Logs
November 25, 2005 9:07 AM   Subscribe

FOIA'd again Mike Petrelis from 2000 through 2005 and found that major media have used the law on the DoD less than 50 times each in five years. E&P asks if reporters are using the law enough and some think that points to the media's laziness, others think they're missing the point.
posted by nospecialfx (6 comments total)
This is a very sad indictment of the media.

I just made a FOIA request a few weeks ago in order to determine the US State Department's source of (mis)information that went into their original (mis)statement which said that white phosphorus was used in Fallujah "very sparingly ... for illuminiation only".

I think that webloggers should start making FOIA requests routinely to challenge government lies and to uncover signs of abuse and corruption. They're not particularly hard to file, you can often do it online, and the cost of such a request is capped at a maximum of $25, I believe, and that's only if they have something to tell you.

I was just interviewed for an article for a British journalism website where I was interviewed about my work on the WP issue, in which I laid into the mainstream media's failure to investigate WP allegations for over a year. They failed to investigate and compile those media sources which would've made the case, and had to have the whole story handed to them by webloggers.

Frankly, that's wrong. I resent having to do that kind of work, because I and others can't be there for every story. They're failing us an an institution. Somehow, the media needs to find a way to effectively do their job again.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2005

Only one comment so far...?
posted by JHarris at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2005

So that was 10,000 FOIA requests made against the DoD/Pentagon in the last five years. Any guesses if these rates hold across other departments of government?
posted by keds at 8:07 PM on November 25, 2005

Chances are that many of those 10,000 FOIA requests are of individuals trying to get records on themselves.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:53 PM on November 25, 2005


You really want to give the webloggers the big pat on the back here?

I never heard the term until that Italian TV report from a few weeks back started making the rounds.

After that bloggers picked up the story, but it didn't seem to me they broke it, they were dependent on a (overseas) mainstream media source for the story.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:53 AM on November 26, 2005

I didn't say that webloggers broke it entirely.

That said, the Italian documentary did not get the US State Department and the DoD to change their public stance that white phosphorus was used in Fallujah "very sparingly" for "illumination" only. Webloggers did that.

Basically, the story went from RAI TV -> webloggers ->State Department admission -> George Manbiot piece in the Guardian -> mainstream media. Without any of those pieces in place, the story would've never broken.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:21 AM on November 26, 2005

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