Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

On the corruption of the press

John Burns of the New York Times writes in Editor and Publisher about the corruption of the press, especially as it relates to Saddam and how reporters, for their own interest, hid the truth. Andrew Sullivan has commented on it. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few good paragraphs:

"Terror, totalitarian states, and their ways are nothing new to me, but I felt from the start that this was in a category by itself, with the possible exception in the present world of North Korea. I felt that that was the central truth that has to be told about this place. It was also the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents here. Why? Because they judged that the only way they could keep themselves in play here was to pretend that it was okay.

There were correspondents who thought it appropriate to seek the approbation of the people who governed their lives. This was the ministry of information, and particularly the director of the ministry. By taking him out for long candlelit dinners, plying him with sweet cakes, plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars. Senior members of the information ministry took hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from these television correspondents who then behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror.

In one case, a correspondent actually went to the Internet Center at the Al-Rashid Hotel and printed out copies of his and other people’s stories -- mine included -- specifically in order to be able to show the difference between himself and the others. He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state. He was with a major American newspaper."

Discussions - 1 Comment

Is it a code within the profession not to mention the name of the reporter who went grovelling to the Iraqi authorities to seek acceptance of his story. I would love for Mr. Burns to reveal the name of this "journalistic" toad. This "reporter" would have fitted in very nicely at "Pravda"

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