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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Vox Blogoli 2006.1: Michael Ware Unplugged ...

The challenge has been made by Hugh Hewitt. Today's interview with Michael Ware, Time Magazine's Baghdad bureau chief was, in a word, chilling. Thomas listened and live-blogged it. I listened to it. And we are going to give you our opinions regarding Hugh's questions posted after the interview itself.

Is Michael Ware doing a good job as a journalist? Is he helping or hurting the effort to pacify Iraq and help it towards stable democracy? Should Time recall him? Should there be a time limit on all journalists in a theater of conflict like Iraq?

There is no doubting the man's courage and his relentless commitment to the stories he pursues, but the interview raises questions at the heart of journalism's crisis.

Indeed, the interview does raise some questions.

Is Michael Ware doing a good job as a journalist? Based on his credentials and his stories about who he has been with, and what he has covered, I would agree that he is a very good war reporter. However, that was not the question. Is he doing a good job as a journalist. I am sure that in his heart he thinks he is, but I have to disagree with that. I think it is very telling of a journalist that literally wants to "get the whole story," especially from the side of our enemy. The enemy already has propaganda operations; it needs no further such outlets, and in my opinion, he is serving that purpose. This is evident in his refusal to be forthright in answering questions regarding the jihadists--those of al Qaeda and the jihad against America. He was evasive, yes, but it almost seemed like he wanted to put them in some sort of context we could relate to.

Is he a good journalist? Sure. Is he doing a good job? No. In my opinion, his work with the insurgency and the jihadists crosses a line of journalistic ethics. I know that's going to set a lot of people off, but I contend what I did in my live-blog. The man's Australian. Aussies are fighting alongside our troops. At what point do you say "I gotta tell them" if you truly care for their lives? What do you sacrifice when you know an operation the insurgents or the jihadists are carrying out could kill your fellow countrymen? Has the man no conscience? This would seriously gnaw at me were I a journalist. I can understand "unbiased" coverage to a point. The point I draw the line at is when getting a "fair" accounting of a war zone includes getting the perspective of my country's avowed enemy.

Is he helping or hurting the effort to pacify Iraq and help it towards stable democracy? I would honestly have to say that he is hurting the ability of Iraq to stabilize. His reporting of insurgent activity does not help a country who's stability is already strained with the recent Sunni/Shia violence surrounding the al-Askari mosque attack. Furthermore, as we have seen in the past, al-Jazeera, a news network that seems to be decidedly on the side of our enemy, has taken news reports from US sources (NewsWeek anyone?) and run with them, inciting more dislike of the US. His stories, if slanted towards the insurgents/jihadists, then of course they will hurt the process for Iraq. Could he "color" those reports? Distinctly possible. There is clearly something driving him in the direction he has taken.

Oh, he's hurting it all right. And not just for what Marcie posted, but for this, too. Such reports that paint the enemy in a "better light"--showing them as human, and they have gripes, and feelings, and partriotism, etc.--is nice. It's quaint. But it's wholly unhelpful to stabilizing Iraq. By giving these people a level of credence--and that is what it is--it makes it more difficult for the Ireaqis to confront these people. In addition, with the news coverage containing snippets of his pieces, or any such pieces, it lends to those that may feel a lot like the insurgents. As Ware pointed out, the insurgency itself is more complex in regard to it's reasoning behind fighting coalition forces. If these reports show the slightest bit of sympathy towards our enemy, it will only make things more difficult. As Ware pointed out, this is as much a propaganda war as it is a military campaign.

Should Time recall him? I believe so. For as much as Eason Jordan's admissions show, and while he was responsible for those under his charge, his stories not covering the brutality of Hussein caused the people of Iraq to suffer longer, and possibly harder, under his rule. Michael Ware, while an accomplished journalist and war reporter he may be, could very well be leaving out certain aspects of things that he sees, he reads, or he hears. (I believe that was the criteria he laid out for being able to comment on things; especially historical events and past evils.) Yet, he was alive while Saddam was alive, but used the excuse of being in Northern Iraq to be oblivious to Saddam's tyrannical rule. I do not believe his reporting is integral to the war, or to journalism, at all. I believe that it falls under a possible bias in his reporting. And no, it is not wrong to question this as he was clearly, as Thomas pointed out, seemed ardent and passionate about them and their cause.

Should Time recall him? I think so, but again for a different reason that's sort of similar. To maintain a level of integrity--any level of integrity--Time has to acknowledge that there may be bias in his reporting. And that's whether or not it's reporting about us or them. The bias can swing either way at this point. I stated in my live-blog that the fear Hugh was picking up on was more than fear. It sounded like a level of enthusiam for their cause. A caller pointed out it could be a form of mild indoctrination. Possibly, but either way one looks at it, the question of integrity and ethics comes to mind. I still call this a breach of ethics on his part, and I'm still repulsed by the idea of covering one's enemy, and believeing one comes away unbiased. Even if we discount the jihadists, you can't toss aside the insurgency side of things. As he said, they're reasons are complex; he could "understand them" more that what his reporting should. As a precaution, I believe they should remove him.

Should there be a time limit on all journalists in a theater of conflict like Iraq? Absolutely. As with military personnel, time spent in a combat zone, even for the most hardened veterans, needs to be ... meted out. In other words, yes, too much time in such a zone could have a bearing on their outlook on things. Morale, viewpoint, etc., play a part in the overall psyche of whomever is involved. I know that sounds like jargon, but bear with me. Combat takes a toll on all of those involved. This goes the same for journalists as well as soldiers. Journalists tend to take a jaded approach to war, at least since Vietnam. We look at people like Walter Cronkite who misreported Tet as a "victory" for the VietCong when it was not. That approach came from something either deep inside, or being in the field too long. Either way one looks at it, stress takes it's toll, and for some it could become something far worse than what is being shown. Michael Ware shows a bias in regard to the insurgency. It is time to remove him from that element.

A time limit on journalists isn't a bad idea. I think in some respects that's true. For Michael Ware? Most definitely. It's not that one can't appreciate his reporting, but at some point a line has to be drawn, again. At some point you have to say this is a line I'm not crossing, not matter what the story is. At some point, common sense must take over. I question his reasoning regarding goin with the enemy to cover them. To me, it's insane. I think it's taking things too far. Now we don't know the man's mindset, but at what point does someone go "Yeah, I'm going to run with the enemy so I can report on their perspective"? No offense, I don't care what they think. If I did, I'd watch al-Jazeera. I want to know what our troops are going through, the accomplishments being made, and the stories regarding the Iraqis. The enemy are those animals trying to kill innocent people because they don't like how Iraq is turning out. They aren't to be understood; they have made their complaints to the world. They don't need to be "covered' unless by a blanket after their death. I want my enemy suppressed so they can't hurt this nation again.

While we appreciate the man's accomplishments in the field of journalism, we have to question the sense he has to cover our enemy. My brother is an Army Ranger in Afghanistan that I barely speak with. He is out of contact a lot, and e-mails I sent to him months ago still have not been answered. So, I care about our troops. Michael Ware's reporting, while he might find it legitimate, I find it digusting; morally repugnant. And I find it even more deplorable that the man cops out of answering straight forward questions regarding what is and is not evil. We, as common sense individuals, can see what is evil. Our enemies are evil. If Michael Ware would like to comprehend them, then please do so, but not at the expense of your reporting. And for God's sakes, do some research, and discover what evil is in this world, and what evil we have beaten back in the past.

The Bunny ;)
Publius II


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blogs. My take on Mr. Ware is he lacks morals or ethics. I'm very suspcious of the adjectives a reporter uses to describe the enemy. He appears to be very fond of the terrorists. Using the term "Insurgents" to describe "terrorists" shows his feelings for fondnes for them. He's not objective. He's biased. He should be recalled. Rawriter

12:26 AM  

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