Reporting on Iraq – from afar

January 18, 2007 | By | Reply More

Check this out, from Iraqslogger:

The New York Times and Washington Post are stuffed with Iraq-focused reporting, analyses, and commentaries – 25 in all. Yet, amazingly, not a single one of those original stories comes from Iraq itself (in fairness, there’s a Baghdad-datelined AP report in the NYT). Why? With 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, Iraqis and Americans being killed there every day, and with the U.S. troop presence costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a day, Americans deserve and need meaty reporting from the war zone daily.  And I pity the newspaper correspondents risking life and limb in Iraq only to see their editors opt not to include a single original story from Iraq in the huge Sunday papers (two days straight for the NYT).

It reminds one of the old joke (told here by iMedia Connection, in a different context):

But, there’s an old joke, and the joke is that: There is a drunk under a streetlamp; he’s looking for his house keys. A passerby comes up to him, he says, “What are you looking for?” And the drunk says, “I am looking for my house keys.” And then, the passerby says, “Well, where did you lose them?” And, the drunk says, “Oh, oh, I lost them over there.” And, he says, “Oh, so why are you looking for them over here?” And he says, “Well, the light is better.”

The question is whether we are reporting Iraq news from where we can really expect to get on-the-ground accurate facts or merely from where places where it is convenient to do such reporting. The above story from Iraqslogger strongly suggests the latter.

What would we have thought had the national media presented the drowning of New Orleans without any reporters getting their information, first hand, by interviewing people still based in New Orleans?  Here’s what: we would have been highly suspicious of such “news” reports.   Paul Rieckhoff would agree.


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Category: Iraq, Media, Military, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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