Monday, February 28, 2005

Minibar journalism 

The Scotsman's Katie Grant:
The truth is that hatred for George Bush and all he stands for is so entrenched in the eyes of bien pensant western commentators, that using the word "success" about Iraq would choke them. If word ever slips out, in relation, for example, to the highly influential Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani’s rejection of an Iranian-style theocracy, or that both Sunni and Shia openly state that they must get on together and not destroy the country through civil war, it comes hedged with such portentous and lugubrious caveats that it sounds more like a distasteful disease.

Most reporters "on the spot" couldn’t raise even the tiniest hint of joy when followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiercely anti-United States young cleric, poured out to vote, clearly with their leader’s blessing, or when it became clear that al-Sadr had decided to send representatives to the new national assembly.

Of course, one trouble is that in Iraq most reporters are never actually "on the spot". Journalism from Baghdad is not, for obvious reasons of safety, real journalism, but is "hotel journalism", reflecting far more the correspondent’s view of what he or she supposes is happening, or even wants to happen, than what really is happening. When such journalists tell us from their hotel bedrooms, with appropriate gloom-doomery, what "most Iraqis are saying", they use the word "most" in the loosest possible way.

As we righty bloggers know, Arthur Chrenkoff has been making this point -- and backing it up -- for the better part of a year.


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