Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
MSM: Covering Iraq on the cheap
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Interesting article in this week's Editor & Publisher by Bruce Kesler. He asks, "Is the Media covering Iraq on the cheap?
Journalists are reviled by many for alleged negativism and over-focus on bad news in Iraq. Or perhaps the problem is: Their employers are just trying to do it on the cheap. Ironically, the same media that criticizes the U.S. for sending too few troops to stabilize Iraq send too few reporters to cover much more than the dramatic bombings around Baghdad.
A pretty startling admission. And as many have suggested, most of those that do go concentrate in Baghdad. The result, as one reporter explained, is predictable:
If truth is journalism’s goal, cheapness within journalism undermines it. Embedded reporter Paul McLeary wrote in Columbia Journalism Review not long ago, “In Iraq, the untold stories pile up, one by one by one,” because “there just aren’t enough of them [journalists] to give the conflict its due.”
Most of us understand that many places in Iraq are very dangerous. Kesler feels it is that perception of danger which keeps most reporters close to the capital city:
Perceived danger is important in the reluctance of reporters to get out and about. Most reporters in Iraq stay close to Baghdad, and that’s where the bloody news and contentious politics are, often staged for their coverage. Articles about boring days patrolling peacefully in other 15 provinces, or of Iraqis rebuilding, are not considered as newsworthy.
"Boring" and not "newsworthy" are excuses. "Dangerous" is why they're not covered. I wonder what Ernie Pyle would say to that if he were alive today?

Because of the perceived danger, the coverage of stories in Iraq is mostly done by large numbers of Iraqi stringers who's journalistic credibility is largely unknown.

You'd think, given the perceived danger, reporter would want to embed with a US unit. For most that would seem the safer alternative, right?

Well, apparently not. The desire to embed seems to have faded among members of the MSM:
Some 692 journalists embedded during the invasion of Iraq. Interviews by the Institute for Defense Analysis reported, “The participants’ overall assessment …was that it was successful and that it benefited the military, the media, the public, and the military families.” Yet, the program has withered to several dozen embeds today.
Why?

Well Joe Galloway, speaking for Knight Ridder, where he is their military editor, says it is because of increased resistence from the military. However, it also appears that it costs more than many in the media are willing to spend to get the story in Iraq.
Why? Galloway says there’s “growing resistance from the military to [those] embeds” it considers negative. Meanwhile, the $30,000 or more per month (above wages) cost of supporting reporters in Iraq is more than most media organizations want to spend, even though this is a major war and more important than many other beats.
So, per Kesler, one of the most important stories of the decade, if not the century, is being poorly covered. I'll have to say I've certainly not been impressed.

Say what you may of the mistakes made both militarily and politically in Iraq, but when all is said and done, it is my opinion the MSM's coverage of the war will be found wanting as well. It has been much less than their finest hour.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Perceived danger is important in the reluctance of reporters to get out and about. Most reporters in Iraq stay close to Baghdad, and that’s where the bloody news and contentious politics are, often staged for their coverage. Articles about boring days patrolling peacefully in other 15 provinces, or of Iraqis rebuilding, are not considered as newsworthy.
"Boring" and not "newsworthy" are excuses. "Dangerous" is why they’re not covered. I wonder what Ernie Pyle would say to that if he were alive today?
He’d probably say,
"Damn!"
Perceived dangers!? Patrolling peacefully in the other fifteen provinces!?
Hardly,
Journalists killed on Duty: 68
By Location:
• Anbar province (Fallujah, Ramadi): 4
• Nineveh province (Mosul): 11
• Baghdad province: 34
• Saleheddin province (Samara): 4
• Basrah province: 3
• Diyala province (Baqubah): 2
• Arbil province: 6
• Karbala province: 1
• Najaf province: 1
• Sulaymaniya province: 1
• Unclear: 1
Damn!
Say what you may of the mistakes made both militarily and politically in Iraq, but when all is said and done, it is my opinion the MSM’s coverage of the war will be found wanting as well. It has been much less than their finest hour.
Okay, then. It’s well known around here that you think the MSM is lacking. Tell us, McQ. What was their finest hour?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Uh, Pogue:
Two American journalists have been killed from 2003 to 2006.
Damn.

Like I said ... stringers.
Tell us, McQ. What was their finest hour?
Ask Ernie Pyle. Oh, you can’t. He died covering it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hey, statistics with no context! Gotta love it.

So if the total number of journalists ever in Iraq since 2003 had been 68 and they’re all dead, you could easily understand why not many reporters would go there.

The link, however, did not give any information about the total number of journalists who had been in Iraq since 2003. You’d need that to see exactly how dangerous it is there, don’t you think?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Well, that and the fact that we’re talking about US journalists.

Minor point, I guess.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hey, statistics with no context! Gotta love it.
Oh. I guess you missed the part where I wrote,
Perceived dangers!? Patrolling peacefully in the other fifteen provinces!?
Hardly,
You see. Stats, 68 dead, HALF of which OUTSIDE Baghdad province. Context, the dangers are not merely perceived, they’re real. And there would be no “patrolling peacefully in other 15 provinces.”

That’s okay, you’re probably just drunk and missed it.
So if the total number of journalists ever in Iraq since 2003 had been 68 and they’re all dead, you could easily understand why not many reporters would go there.
Huh!? So if, for the sake of argument, there are, or have been, ten thousand reporters in Iraq, and only 68 are dead, making it a minute 0.68% of the total…, tell me again how that make Iraq less dangerous?
The link, however, did not give any information about the total number of journalists who had been in Iraq since 2003. You’d need that to see exactly how dangerous it is there, don’t you think?
No. I still have Nick Berg’s decapitated head fresh in my memory. And with the constant kidnappings and murders, including journalists, in EVERY province in Iraq; No, Mark, I don’t need to know how many journalists there are, or have been, there since 2003.
But on behalf of the Committee to Protect Journalists dot org, I apologize for their oversight.
Well, that and the fact that we’re talking about US journalists.
McQ. Perhaps you can tell me what difference it makes what nationality a journalist is when discussing “perceived dangers” and “15 peaceful provinces”.
It doesn’t. And you know it. Which blows Bruce Kessler’s novel approach right out of the water.
Minor point, I guess.
Microscopic.
Tell us, McQ. What was their finest hour?
Ask Ernie Pyle. Oh, you can’t. He died covering it.
I can imagine Daniel Pearl and Michael Kelly asking Pyle that very question as they kick it old school somewhere in the afterlife.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
McQ. Perhaps you can tell me what difference it makes what nationality a journalist is when discussing “perceived dangers” and “15 peaceful provinces”.
Quite a bit actually ... since we’re talking about US journalists.

It is the subject of the story.

I do love how you tend to ignore that. And I also love the fact you feel compelled to defend hunkering down in Baghdad as tantamount to good media coverage. Sounds like the Saigon Commandos of Vietnam who never ventured outside the city. A ’new’ journalistic tradition of which you approve, I guess.

Back to Ernie Pyle.
I can imagine Daniel Pearl and Michael Kelly asking Pyle that very question as they kick it old school somewhere in the afterlife.
Well I’m sure one of the subjects they’ll discuss is when Ernie Pyle died, journalists of the time didn’t quit covering the story from the front lines because of perceived danger. Pearl and Kelly can point to the fact that their deaths were enough to stop necessary coverage in Iraq by US journalists.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It is evident that you are laboring under the quaint and outdated notion that "journalism" must be based on facts and reality. In todays virtual journalism, it has ben proven that a quality and cost-efficient journalistic product can be produced in the comfort of a television studio, and that although facts are a nice thing to have, they are not entirely necessary.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Personally, I’m compelled to partially agree with Pogue. The total number of dead journalists does have a bearing on the perception of danger, regardless of nationality. After all, you won’t find me vacationing in the Sudan anytime soon, yet there have been almost zero US deaths there.

OTOH, 34 dead (non-Baghdad) out of (Pogue’s made-up number) 10,000 journalists is really not that dangerous. How many journalists died in the US between 2003-2006? Now, 34 dead journalists out of 50 (my made up number) that went into the countryside would be a large deterrent to any rational person. Of course, many of the things our soldiers do would be comsidered irrational, surely the journalists can face a relatively low-risk environment to get to the truth? Or are they simply interested in following their agenda?
 
Written By: Ken
URL: http://
Quite a bit actually ... since we’re talking about US journalists.
Well don’t stop there, McQ. What is that difference?
I don’t understand that when discussing “perceived dangers” and “peacefully patrolling the fifteen other provinces”, one is restricted to discuss only journalists of a particular nationality. (Which was MY criticism of Kessler’s assertions, btw.)
If an Iraqi journalist, or his crew, is kidnapped and murdered in Anbar province, how does their nationality affect the fact? If the victim(s) in question isn’t of US origin, does that make Anbar province any less dangerous? It doesn’t make the journalist, or his crew, any less dead. (What about Iraqi journalists employed by the US media? Any difference? No?)
And what is this, “compelled to defend hunkering down in Baghdad”? No defense here. I feel compelled, however, to point out that the dangers are not merely “perceived”, and “peacefully patrolling” other provinces is inaccurate. But what about that? How much do we, or should we, ask of journalists?
Here lies Joe Reporter.
Survived by wife Jane
And children Timmy and Julie
Died bravely to bring you the story of a new school in Mosul
Maybe you feel it necessary, I do not. I don’t need journalists to descend into a volcano to tell me how hot it is.
Reporting to you live from inside Mt. Kilauea. It’s extremely hot down here, but sources tell me the good news is that it is a dry heat.
Back to you, Bob.

What about the journalists who DO venture into danger? Is it all condemnation from you? Where is the praise?
QandO search: Bob Woodruff
Search results: 0
It is fair to criticize journalists for selectively reporting stories that only report bad news. It is not fair, IMHO, to ask journalists to risk their lives to report “balance” stories. It is a risk vs. importance game, is it not? It is not right to ask reporters to play in a minefield so that hawks can feel better about their position.
If only the US blogosphere could report from Iraq though, huh?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Pogue, I’m not sure about your stat. From the web page you linked:
CPJ considers a journalist to be killed on duty if the person died as a result of a hostile action—such as reprisal for his or her work, or crossfire while carrying out a dangerous assignment.
The page goes on to say that 49 of the 68 dead journalists were Iraqi, but gives no details on how they died. It could be that they weren’t killed while patrolling, but rather at some other time. In short, the stat you quoted doesn’t show how US journalists are in a great deal of danger, or that journalists on patrol are in some great peril.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
And whilst I understand that the threat of death or mutilation IS a deterrent, still Pogue and others, I am CONSTANTLY informed by the MSM that they perform a VITAL duty for the US, presenting the news and informing us...

I guess it’s the hypocrisy that bothers me. Yes, Woodward and Bernstein are heroes, they saved us from something bad, and by extension so too are all journalists, EXCEPT when there’s a real chance of damage, they chicken out.

Being important, a savior, a spot-light, by definition, means RISK. Only, when the chance comes for them to actually BE these Information Age heroes, they wimp out. Sure they are all very brave, inside the US where there’s not much risk, but when they actually have to cover something that isn’t so safe, they quit. It’s like Martin Luther King, confronted with the very real risk of death he persevered, where many others, white and black quailed. That’s why he’s a HERO. If it were easy, we’d all do it.

I just want the MSM to own up to its feet of clay or to live up to its hype. Right now it just looks pitiful.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Huh!? So if, for the sake of argument, there are, or have been, ten thousand reporters in Iraq, and only 68 are dead, making it a minute 0.68% of the total…, tell me again how that make Iraq less dangerous?
42,636 people died in the US last year driving on the highways.

Good God, I put my life on the line every time I drive somewhere. Of course, there are 200 million citizens of driving age in the US so maybe the statistical danger is less than you would think from the raw number of deaths.

D’ya get my point, old man?

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Oh how cute....Pogue is actually buying into the "noble, heroic journalist" myth...

Here lies Joe Reporter.
Survived by wife Jane
And children Timmy and Julie
Died bravely to bring you the story of a new school in Mosul


See, here’s where you’re wrong, since they never cover anything resembling this type of story.

It is not fair, IMHO, to ask journalists to risk their lives to report “balance” stories.

*Yawn*
For these guys, going down to the hotel lobby in the green zone to cover a "balance story" would be "too dangerous"

It is not right to ask reporters to play in a minefield so that hawks can feel better about their position ....how about so the American people can be informed and know what is going on? I LOVE how your partisian blinders boils it down to a choice where honest reporting = helping hawks. You’ve given the game away here Pogue. You just don’t want anything that can bolster the other side to get through. Thanks for playing though.

I’m sorry but there’s lots of flowry rhetoric they like to pat themselves on the back for.

Time they lived up to it.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
D’ya get my point, old man?
No, no. Make no mistake. I got the point. I just don’t understand why it’s relevant. Not all journalists venture outside of the green zone. So knowing the total number of journalists in Iraq is useless. What? You don’t think it’s dangerous there?
....how about so the American people can be informed and know what is going on?
Ah, yes, shark. The old conservative’s sense of entitlement. Look like there’s a market niche for ya’ shark. Why don’t you start a news organization? I’ll bet you can get many investors around here. Then you can parade right through the streets of Mosul and Baghdad telling us the TRUTH about what’s going on in Iraq. And I’ll bet you’ll be famous, what with your blindfolded face appearing on Al Jazeera. Then you could write a book about it. If of course you live through it.
Go on shark, what’s stopping you? Steverino, you too buddy. Your country needs you. Take off that chef’s apron and grab a pencil, ‘cause it’s off to Basra with you. What’s that you say? Oh… “family and children” I see. Never mind, we’ll send others in your stead.

It’s obvious that many of you feel that journalists are cheap, lazy, bias, and cowards to boot. And it takes a special kind of courage to say that, you know… the kind of courage that only comes with a keyboard and mouse.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
The old conservative’s sense of entitlement

LOL it’s s sense of entitlement to expect journalists to report relevant facts, something which is their (self-styled) JOB DESCRIPTION?? Wow...
Go on shark, what’s stopping you? Steverino, you too buddy. Your country needs you. Take off that chef’s apron and grab a pencil, ‘cause it’s off to Basra with you. What’s that you say? Oh… “family and children” I see. Never mind, we’ll send others in your stead
I don’t get it...is this a pathetic takeoff on the "chickenhawk" canard? Is that really the best you can do? TSK TSK, such a craven tactic, but I guess it’s to be expected from such as you. Hey, the MSM can cover the war any way they want but they misrepresent. They’re the ones who make all the noise about their noble profession, how they write the "first draft of history", how they chronicle the truth for the public blah blah blah. But they don’t act up to their hype. So either go traverse through a damn minefield to get to a new school in Mosul or stay at the green zone hotel, rely on former Baathist fixers and inteperters and staged news events from the insurgents- but in that case drop the bullsh*t misrepresentation of what they’re doing and be honest for once.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think a study of how many journalists died in the US during that same time period would be enlightening, particularly if you did it as a percentage of the total number of journalists.

But really, if your job is to examine and cover a war-torn (or in this case, terrorist-ravaged) country, then you understand there is a certain amount of risk involved. In the 1980’s, movies like The Killing Fields and others had life-risking courageous journalists going into dangerous places to get their story - sometimes at the cost of their lives. This is what battlefield journalism is like, many died in Vietnam, in WW2, in the Civil war, etc. The risk is understood and part of the job.

Hiding in hotels and avoiding your job is not defensible by "but it’s dangerous!" of course it’s dangerous, that’s part of the point. The reporters go there (and are well-paid) in the dangerous areas to get the news because that’s where it’s happening.

If you don’t go there and get the news, why are you there at all? More than a few journalists have been found cooperating with the terrorists, or even working for them in Iraq, that adds to the problem. The bottom line is these guys want to be paid for not working hard, report what they want the American people to hear, and for some reason people leap to their defense.
 
Written By: Christopher Taylor
URL: http://networdblog.blogspot.com/
Hiding in hotels and avoiding your job is not defensible by "but it’s dangerous!" of course it’s dangerous, that’s part of the point. The reporters go there (and are well-paid) in the dangerous areas to get the news because that’s where it’s happening.
I know of no other free market enterprise that receives the same amount of criticism from the Right, the so-called free market ideology, than that of the media. No other industry comes close.

Look, dude. You can criticize the media all day long. You can choose not to purchase their products. And you can actively try to destroy their industry via marketing (which is very popular.)
But until you grab a camera and head on out there, you’re stuck with the products they give you. It’s like I told shark, there’s a market niche for you. If you think journalist are well paid for “hiding in hotels”, then imagine what you could make by going out into the fray. Come on, big money!!

What it boils down to, is that the situation in Iraq is NOT what you want it to be, and for some reason, you can’t seem to grasp that fact. So you look for another reason as to why we are hearing quite a bit of bad news, and why the majority of Americans think it was a bad idea to go in there.
Of course, it’s gotta’ be the media. After all, they want America to fail. Right?

And you bitch and you moan about journalists “hiding” in a safe place, or at least the safest they can find, and cowardly unable to give you “the good news” from Iraq all the while receiving a fat check.
What a load.

Why is it that we don’t hear accolades from your ilk about the journalists that DO get out there? Does Michael Ware ring a bell? Oh that’s right, he STILL doesn’t report what you want to hear.
Michael Ware has got to be one of the bravest journalists of all time. Now that guy has a set of BIG BRASS ONE’S. What are you gunna’ do? Tell me he’s a coward? Tell me that he’s lazy?
Oh no, you’ll probably tell me that he’s biased. And that he is actually in collusion with the insurgency and is out to destroy America himself.
What a load.

You guys are a bunch of whiney babies. I can imagine a collective Right-Wing as a four year old, stomping your feet on the ground, “Nobody likes us”.
Even your FoxNews, of which the most recent appointment to the Bush team was apart of, doesn’t seem to be able to bring you the news you crave for. Where is FoxNews Baghdad correspondent? Is he/she out there reporting about a school or hospital being built?
If not. Then opportunity awaits. Go and kick up some sand in Iraq. There’s a lot of money waiting for you out there…
Or a lot of Kalashnikov’s. But you’re brave, right?


 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
You guys are a bunch of whiney babies. I can imagine a collective Right-Wing as a four year old, stomping your feet on the ground, "Nobody likes us".
Wow. I love it when you go over the top.


So ... you’re satisfied with the MSM coverage out of Iraq.

That explains a lot.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Wow. I love it when you go over the top.
I know you do. ♥

Let’s see… Choices, choices. I can either go to the NYT, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, or FoxNews, Newsweek, Time, USN&WR, WSJ, WaPo, WaTimes, CSM, BBC, AustralianBC, Reuters, Sky, …. … and on… and on… and on… Or I can come here.
So ... you’re satisfied with the MSM coverage out of Iraq.
So…, what? You’re not satisfied with Michael Ware? You have suggestions for him?

Your lack of comment explains a lot.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
If not. Then opportunity awaits. Go and kick up some sand in Iraq. There’s a lot of money waiting for you out there…
Or a lot of Kalashnikov’s. But you’re brave, right?
Pogue, that was the finest, most libertarian, rant I’ve read in a long time. If I ever find the time, I may just front-page that.

Kudos to you, sir.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Oh no, now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve encouraged me.
lol

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider