Sunday, May 15, 2005

When Terrorists Use the Media

Great column by John Tierney of the New York Times.
When the other reporters and I finished filling our notebooks, we wondered morosely if we could have done a service to everyone - victims, mourners, readers - by reducing the story to a box score. We all knew the template: number of victims, size of the crater, distance debris had been hurled, height of smoke plume, range at which explosion was heard.

There was no larger lesson except that some insurgents were willing and able to kill civilians, which was not news. We were dutifully presenting as accurate an image as we could of one atrocity, but we knew we were contributing to a distorted picture of life for Iraqis.

The standard advice to newly arrived journalists at that time was: "Relax. It's not nearly as bad here as it looks on TV."
It's well worth reading. He makes some excellent points.

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