Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Journalism 001

In this month's issue of CJR, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, David Halberstam, writes about his friend and fellow journalist, Peter Arnett, who is most recently known for his controversial comments on a state-run Iraqi television show, while employed by NBC in March of 2003, the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq:

"Now America is reappraising the battlefield, delaying the war, maybe a week and rewriting the war plan. The first plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another plan...
So our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces, are going back to the United States. It helps those who oppose the war when you challenge the policy to develop their arguments."

...he was fired.

But, as Halberstam writes, Arnett is anything but foreign to challenging our government. There are those that would argue that as a New Zealander it's easier for him to point his finger of blame...but they would not have done their homework. Arnett knows American foreign policy better than most Americans, for he has been covering America's wars since Vietnam, literally. He was one of the few AP correspondents who reported from the South-East Asian region many years prior to the war and who continued to file stories throughout the entirety of the war, reporting facts that the government in its desire for propaganda denied until it no longer could. He is truly a rare breed. Not only to have survived amidst war for so long, but to have not lost his edge or to have gotten complacent with cynicism as war-reporters often do. If nothing else please read the last two paragraphs of Halberstam's piece...they inspire me to be a better journalist.

1 comment:

Regina said...

Speaking to a journalism conference last year in Tennessee, he said government criticism of news reporters in Iraq reminded him of the way he was treated while covering the war in Vietnam.

"The crueler the war gets, the crueler the attacks get on anybody who doesn't salute or play the game," he said. "And then one day, the people who are doing the attacking look around, and they've used up their credibility."

Rest in Peace Mr Halberstam