Sep. 13, 2004
“Casualties are always sad, but I don’t think they should be shocking.”
Any doubt that the U.S. media has not yet recognized the disgraceful role it has played in promoting and covering Bush’s war ought to be put to rest by a forum held in New York City on September 9th. The forum was part of the annual convention of the Society of Professional Journalists, a series of events that showcased the media at its best and worst.
Gathered, appropriately enough, in the Imperial Room of the Grand Hyatt, the panel was called “Working in a War Zone.”
The moderator was Peter Kann, Chairman and CEO of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, and Dow Jones Newswires. Panelists included, among others, Seth Lipsky, Editor and Publisher of the New York Sun, and Judith Sylvester and Suzanne Huffman, co-authors of the forthcoming book “Reporting from the Front: The Media and the Military.”
Huffman was speaking when I arrived, joining 75 to 100 people crammed into the Imperial Room, most of them reporters or journalism students. Huffman was describing the close relationship that embedded reporters developed with U.S. soldiers, and doing so without the slightest sign that she saw anything improper in it.
Soldiers, she said, switched during the war from saying “those damn reporters” (although “using a stronger word”) to saying “our damn reporters”. Reporters and soldiers became comrades, Huffman said. Reporters let soldiers use their satellite phones to call home. And when reporters got home, “they were conflicted about it, because