The Wall Street Journal failed to disclose that Elizabeth O’Bagy, the author of its August 30 op-ed on Syria, works with an organization that “subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition,” the Huffington Post reported.
The article was especially significant, the Huffington Post noted, because both Sen. John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry, both proponents of military intervention in Syria, discussed the op-ed in Senate and House hearings respectively.
O’Bagy’s op-ed is titled “Elizabeth O’Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War: The conventional wisdom—that jihadists are running the rebellion—is not what I’ve witnessed on the ground.”
She discussed “the situation in Syria from ground level,” noting that anyone outside of Syria may not truly know what’s going on in Syria. “Since few journalists are reporting from inside the country, our understanding of the civil war is not only inadequate, but often dangerously inaccurate,” O’Bagy wrote.
Citing her “numerous trips to Syria” meeting with “Syrian opposition groups,” O’Bagy reported that “moderates and extremists wield control over distinct territory.” Further, O’Bagy said that “moderate opposition forces…continue to lead the fight against the Syrian regime.
As such, O’Bagy argued that “sophisticated weaponry…may be the opposition’s best chance at sustaining its fight against Assad,” which she said “only foreign governments” could provide. Essentially she advocated the U.S. get involved in Syria at the present time.
According to Mediaite, at first O’Bagy was identified as “a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.” That institute says its mission as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization” that “advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education.”
The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone wrote that while the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t comment to HuffPost on Sept. 6 about O’Bagy’s relationship to the Syrian Emergency Task Force, “shortly thereafter, a clarification was added to the piece.”
Now, O’Bagy’s relationship with the Syrian Emergency Task Force is disclosed. The Syrian Emergency Task Force, also a non-profit, says on its website that it was “created to support Syrian’s demand for freedom and democracy as well as convey the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people to the American people” and “works to shed light on the crimes committed by Bashar Al-Assad and his regime.”
The Wall Street Journal clarification reads:
“In addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O’Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit operating as a 501(c)(3) pending IRS approval that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition.”
The clarification is also published on the Wall Street Journal’s Corrections & Amplifications page.
It appears this was O’Bagy’s first article for the Journal, as a search of her name on its website produces only three results: the original op-ed, a clarification about her relationship to the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a link to the Corrections & Amplifications page also listing her relationship to the task force.
iMediaEthics has written to the Wall Street Journal asking why the disclosure wasn’t originally on the article. We’ve also reached out to O’Bagy via the Institute for the Study of War. We’ll update with any response.
Hat Tip: Gawker