Like most bloggers, Mr. Yon has an agenda, writing often that the United States’ mission to build a stable, democratic Iraq is succeeding and must continue. He rarely disparages those who disagree, though, and he does not shy away from describing the disturbing things he sees.
He sometimes criticizes United States forces, their Iraqi allies, and even decision makers in Washington; lately, he has warned that while the American focus is on Iraq, Afghanistan is being lost.
His upbeat outlook on the war has made Mr. Yon a favorite of the war’s supporters. But others in that camp have attacked him for insisting that Iraq is in a civil war, and for condemning American treatment of some detainees.
“His work has a remarkable, chin-out, unvarnished intimacy,” said Jackie Lyden, a National Public Radio reporter who has worked in Iraq. “He isn’t a guarded, diplomatically toned reporter; he can be very frank, and he questions his own assumptions.”
The Internet has fostered such citizen journalism, shaking up ideas about where news comes from, but few have taken on the expense and danger of working in a war zone. Mr. Yon’s daily expenses are small, but he has paid tens of thousands of dollars for computers, cameras, phones and body armor.
My favorite line?
Along the way, he created a niche outlet that is better reported than most blogs, and more opinionated than most news reporting, with enough first-hand observation, clarity and skepticism to put many professional journalists to shame.
Quite an admission. The game has changed and Michael Yon appears to be, at least, its wartime face.
Yon has also weighed in on the body armor controversy by siding with DoD. He's tried both "Dragonskin" and the issue armor and finds the issue armor more to his liking. So much so that he's auctioning off the Dragonskin he bought for $4,000 on ebay.
better reported than most blogs, and more opinionated than most news reporting
Hmm, that seems like faint praise, isn’t it? It reminds me of what my linguistics professor, who was an amateur painter, liked to say about himself — he was a fine painter among linguists and a superb linguist among painters.