Thursday, July 14, 2005

thoughts on the press

We went out this morning and did school assessments. School assessments consist of going to the schools in our area and seeing what they need, whether it be supplies or increased security. We have been joined by an Iraqi television journalist. He is a nice guy and will be with us for a few days. A couple of days ago we went into some of the poorer parts of our area and handed out several hundred chickens. There are pictures at Boots In Baghdad Photographs.

I have a program on this web page that allows me to see which links direct traffic to my site. When I have the time I like to browse through them. A lot of them are forums discussing various topics in and around the war on terror and the situation in Iraq. A few days ago I came across an online forum hosted by an American university that was discussing the role of American journalists in Iraq.

There were many differing opinions offered. One was that for a journalist to be objective when reporting international events, they couldn’t regard themselves as American citizens, only as citizens of the world. That may very well be the case. I don’t necessarily think that to be objective you need to go quite that far.

I can be very critical of the United States when it is deserved. However, I love America. While it isn’t perfect, I believe it is closer to perfection than any other nation or civilization has been or will ever be. In all that I do, the best for the American people and the United States is my primary concern. This holds true in my thoughts and opinions regarding Iraq. I think in this instance it just so happens that what is good for America is good for Iraq. That, however, is a whole other post.

I don’t have a problem with how a journalist chooses to regard, or disregard for that matter, their nation and their countrymen. I do however feel that there is a HUGE void in western journalism. Bad things happen here. There isn’t any denying that. However, good things, great and incredible things, are happening every day. If objectivity were the goal, why is there so little mention of the good? Now, I am by no means an expert in journalism, but I would think that reporting the good in proportion with the bad would be the key to objectivity.

By only reporting the bad, an entirely different picture of the situation is created. The disservice isn’t so much to the United States as it is to the people of Iraq and the rest of the world. Perhaps a journalist's loyalty to the U.S. isn’t where objectivity is threatened, maybe it is the loyalty to better ratings and career advancement that are the problems.

So, I guess I hope that as the Iraqi media follows the path of the western press, they don’t follow step by step.

Just a thought.