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Do we really know what goes on in Iraq?

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posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 12:51 PM
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So it's far too dangerous for any Westerner to go out in the streets to actually cover the news, so exactly how much info do we know about what goes on in Iraq? A fascinating article by a fascinating reporter, Robert Fisk.

If you want to blast the source, saying Fisk is just a left-wing liar, save it. I've heard it before and I've countered it. I am going to take the word of an internationally recognized reporter over the word of a rabid pro-Bush supporter who is disconnected from reality and refuses to admit the truth before their eyes every time.

www.counterpunch.org...



January 17, 2005

The US Press in Iraq
Hotel Room Journalism
By ROBERT FISK
The Independent

Baghdad.

"Hotel journalism" is the only phrase for it. More and more Western reporters in Baghdad are reporting from their hotels rather than the streets of Iraq's towns and cities. Some are accompanied everywhere by hired, heavily armed Western mercenaries. A few live in local offices from which their editors refuse them permission to leave. Most use Iraqi stringers, part-time correspondents who risk their lives to conduct interviews for American or British journalists, and none can contemplate a journey outside the capital without days of preparation unless they "embed" themselves with American or British forces.

Rarely, if ever, has a war been covered by reporters in so distant and restricted a way. The New York Times correspondents live in Baghdad behind a massive stockade with four watchtowers, protected by locally hired, rifle-toting security men, complete with NYT T-shirts. America's NBC television chain are holed up in a hotel with an iron grille over their door, forbidden by their security advisers to visit the swimming pool or the restaurant "let alone the rest of Baghdad" lest they be attacked. Several Western journalists do not leave their rooms while on station in Baghdad.

So grave are the threats to Western journalists that some television stations are talking of withdrawing their reporters and crews. Amid an insurgency where Westerners - and many Arabs as well as other foreigners - are kidnapped and killed, reporting this war is becoming close to impossible. The murder on videotape of an Italian correspondent, the cold-blooded killing of one of Poland's top reporters and his Bulgarian cameraman, and the equally bloody assault on a Japanese reporter on the notorious Highway 8 south of Baghdad last year have persuaded many journalists that a large dose of discretion is the better part of valour.

The Independent, along with several British and American papers, still covers stories in Baghdad in person, moving with hesitation - not to mention trepidation - through the streets of a city slowly being taken over by insurgents. Only six months ago, it was still possible to leave Baghdad in the morning, drive to Mosul or Najaf or other major cities to cover a story, and return by evening. By August, it was taking me two weeks to negotiate my dubious safety for a mere 80-mile journey outside Baghdad.

I found the military checkpoints on the motorways deserted, the roads lined with smashed American trucks and burnt-out police vehicles. Today, it is almost impossible. Drivers and translators working for newspapers and television companies are threatened with death. Several have asked to be relieved of their duties on 30 January lest they be recognised on the streets during Iraq's elections. In the brutal 1990s war in Algeria, at least 42 local reporters were murdered and a French cameraman was shot dead in the Algiers casbah. But the Algerian security forces could still give a minimum of protection to reporters. In Iraq, they cannot even protect themselves....


The whole article is at the link.

I'm interested to hear what people have to say about this. I never really thought about the fact that the news can't really be reported accurately if you can't get reporters on the ground.

jako



[edit on 25-1-2005 by John bull 1]




posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:14 PM
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Oh well, if Robert Fisk doesnt feel safe to leave his room and actually report, then its his failure.

How can he sit in his room and complain about it and report the reasons why he is there without going out and seeing why? Its a catch 22. Here he is writing a story describing the situation in Iraq for reporters and the circumstances and how its effecting accurate reporting.

If he is holed up in his room like he says, how can he report about the reasons that are contributing to it? Would he be getting his data the same way like all the reporters in his story? That would mean the scources for THIS story are as flawed and one sided as any story coming from anybody reporting in this fashion. It goes in circles. Its silly.

Basically, buy his own argument, the very argument itself is flawed. And even though youw arned against it: This guy is as partisan as it gets. Not objective at all.

Example:

"US troops operating in and around Baghdad are now avoided by Western journalists, unless they are "embedded", as much as they are by Iraqis because of the indiscipline with which they open fire on civilians on the least suspicion."

Really? How does he know this if he cant leave his hotel? This statement is his own personal opinion. He implies that all reporters feel that US soldiers will shoot them on sight. Im sure if reporters on the ground in Iraq were polled the results wouldnt show this. I also notice he doesnt mention the British troops there. Wait...Fisk reports for a London agency? Mmmmm....Starting to make some sense now..



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Oh well, if Robert Fisk doesnt feel safe to leave his room and actually report, then its his failure.


If this is his failure, what would his success be? Getting his head chopped in front of a camcoder?



How can he sit in his room and complain about it and report the reasons why he is there without going out and seeing why?


He does get out, it's extremely difficult. As about "seeing why", I suppose that part is pretty obvious, don't you think?



Its a catch 22. Here he is writing a story describing the situation in Iraq for reporters and the circumstances and how its effecting accurate reporting.


This report in itself is already accurate. Read the article again. I don't get the sense it's made up.



If he is holed up in his room like he says, how can he report about the reasons that are contributing to it?


He actually can. According to his sources, the city is being retaken by the Iraqis, and he did visit the abandoned checkpoint.



It goes in circles. Its silly.


No, what is silly that you have no real suggestion as to what to do. The guy is stuck in a dangerous place and his sources of info are indeed limited. I would show him some solidarity instead.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:39 PM
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Aelita


The guy states openly that reporters in iraq are getting second hand accounts through local hired help or phone calls to the US and Iraqi forces. Thats it. because they are too scared to leave or are not permitted to leave thier compounds.

If his report is true, then the report itself must have been influenced by these circumstances. The guy is just taking the very LITTLE bit of original news that makes to him and making up an opinion. Thats it. Looks like he doesnt have much else to do.

His story proves nothing. If the guy grew a pair and left his room maybe we could get some real anti-American propaganda out of him that we all expect from him. Instead of all this made up stuff written from his bedroom where its cozy.

If its to dangerous for him he should shut up or go home. Not sit in his room and speculate on his anti-US agenda.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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skippy:

His story proves nothing. If the guy grew a pair and left his room maybe we could get some real anti-American propaganda out of him that we all expect from him. Instead of all this made up stuff written from his bedroom where its cozy.

If its to dangerous for him he should shut up or go home. Not sit in his room and speculate on his anti-US agenda.


He does go out. he's one of the few Western journalists who does.

news.independent.co.uk...


08 January 2005


I travelled down to Zarqa on Christmas Eve - Zarqa as in "Zarqawi", for it is indeed the home town of the latest of America's bogeymen, a grey, dirt-poor, windy town south of Amman.



www.counterpunch.org...



At the al-Hurriya intersection yesterday morning, four truckloads of Iraqi national guardsmen--the future saviours of Iraq, according to George Bush--are passing my car. Their rifles are porcupine quills, pointing at every motorist, every Iraqi on the pavement, the Iraqi army pointing their weapons at their own people. And they are all wearing masks--black hoods or ski-masks or keffiyahs that leave only slits for frightened eyes. Just before it collapsed finally into the hands of the insurgents last summer, I saw exactly the same scene in the streets of Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad. Now I am watching them in the capital.


So your whole argument (?) is to say that he is a coward because HE doesn't go out.

He does.

Stick to speaking about what you know, please.

ARE we getting the right info about Iraq?


j



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
The guy states openly that reporters in iraq are getting second hand accounts through local hired help or phone calls to the US and Iraqi forces. Thats it. because they are too scared to leave or are not permitted to leave thier compounds.


Yes.



If his report is true, then the report itself must have been influenced by these circumstances.


To an extent. On the other hand, if he sees his local aides leaving the job and hiding their identity, this sure as hell is a valid indicator of the environment.



The guy is just taking the very LITTLE bit of original news that makes to him and making up an opinion.


And that's exactly what he's complaining about, n'est pas?



His story proves nothing.


He's not trying to prove anything to you, pal. He plainly states the security according to his colleagues and to himself has very much deteriorated. It squares against the number of attack, which is growing. So he's probably right.



If the guy grew a pair and left his room maybe we could get some real anti-American propaganda out of him that we all expect from him. Instead of all this made up stuff written from his bedroom where its cozy.


The guy is not a soldier and it's not in his contract to grow a pair. And as you know, jouranlists by and large are brave people and large numbers of them die every year. That's a little tacky, to be condescending to these folks.



If its to dangerous for him he should shut up or go home. Not sit in his room and speculate on his anti-US agenda.


I find little anti-US stuff in this article. I actually find none. He makes the best of a difficult situation. Well maybe he feels it would be extra stupid to die in a stupid war.

If he would lie to the world that he makes a pleasant and safe journey to Najaf every Friday, and sits in a cafe chatting with the locals every Wedensday night, would you consider that a pro-American bit of news?

Simply put, every bit of negative news you consider anti-American, whreas every bit of positive news as pro-American. So much for objectivity.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 02:05 PM
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There's alot going on in Iraq that we will never hear about. Both sides of the issue use fear and propaganda to send their message across.

This is not the first time that I have heard of "hotel journalism" most journalists are confined to their hotels and then when they do go out they are escorted and kept in certain areas. Only a few very brave individuals actually manage to get out and get first hand information.

Most information from Iraq by the time we recieve it, is secondhand or even more diluted or distorted from the truth.

For example you hear about this upcoming elections and that the majority of Iraqis will vote, or that Iraqis are scared to vote. You would think that is the only issue in regards to the election. Yet you don't hear about the election systembeing in so much disarray that voters don't even know the candidates or what they stand for.
Election confusion leaves Iraqis bewildered

don't get me wrong though, accurate stories do get out, but we will never get a full spectrum and or scale of all the events that occur there until reporters can move around the country freely and safely.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 04:07 PM
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I would have to disagree of the propaganda theories flying. There positive things happening in Iraq and the true Iraqi people know this, but it is the insurgents creating situations like a bur under your saddle so to speak. I dout many of the insurgents are rally Iraqis, many come from boarding countries into Iraq, for money and Ali. Oh! they do get paid more than our people do to fight. My brothers and sisters at Arms do not do it for the money, is what they believe in. What sources is everyone listening to, or articles? Media does have a habit to mislead by building up the story even more for readers. If anyone ever took journalism, or any writing class, they tell you to capture the readers attention, the newspaper reading level is 6th or 7th grade for people. Why? Some Americans has this reading level. Is it fair that this journalist can write things second hand? If you ever talked with friends and family, the conversation can change as it proceeds on, even notice this? Just like I did not say that, then you explain how you said it. Same in any communications, it changes hands.
These so called hired help can work for the other side as well. This has been done in wars before. Who can you trust over there? The reporter can not say this is accurate source because reporters have been used before to put something out there for the world to see. Sometimes they do more damage not properly doing their job. The military is not going to baby sit him/her, The journalist chose to be there. Noone is stopping him from leaving. I think someone said: Stupid War? Well, Every war we have been in was stupid, is this correct?
Just joined and not new to the world, but I have read a lot of BS.

Thanks of Those who support our Men and women in the Armed Forces, God bless!

GI Wolves
DAV Which means Disabled American Veteran member.

Thank you


[edit on 25-1-2005 by GI_WOLVES]



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