Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On The Other Foot

For those of you who somehow missed it, Iraqi TV journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi through his shoes at President Bush during a press conference held as part of a surprise visit to that city. A surprisingly nimble Bush dodged the shoe, sustaining no injury, and got on with the event. The reporter, not surprisingly, was detained by the Iraqi authorities.

The point of mentioning this is not that the Secret Service detail did not exactly perform its assigned duties in the most stellar fashion. (Oh that had to be a fun employee evaluation for a couple of people afterward.) It is also not a political comment on the President's standing in the Arab community in general, and Iraq in particular (though some would like to make it so). The point of mentioning this story is to point out the complete loss of objectivity in the press these days.

Not content to slant stories to a particular point of view while supposedly telling them objectively, no longer willing to simply tell the stories that illustrate a particular point of view, no longer happy to advance their own agendas rather than report the facts; reporters now feel the need to become the story, using action instead of argument to make their point. You might legitimately call this an isolated incident (so far) and believe this is not something generally expected from the press, but Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based newspaper A-Quds Al-Arabi rather than condemn the act, wrote that it was "a proper goodbye for a war criminal". Other members of the press in a show of support are calling for his immediate release.

If the mainstream media would like to know why their audience is deserting them, if they would like to know why they are held in increasing lower respect, if they would like to know why everything that they put forth is now questioned they have only to look at this incident. The line between journalism and editorializing has been further blurred. The truth of the matter is that line may have faded away completely, erased by those who were its guardians. But for today the story is not the press conference but the press itself, and the shoe is on the other foot (or at least it was until he threw it).



Lisa Renee said...

We've had a few "pie throwing" incidents where someone has decided to fling something at an official or celebrity. I can see not wanting the journalist to be imprisoned, but I can also see him not having a job, unless it was covering shoe sales.

The irony of course is that if the previous government in Iraq was still in power, the journalist may have never had a job and if he did something like that then? He probably would have been immediately executed.

mud_rake said...

If the mainstream media would like to know why their audience is deserting them...

Seems to me that the citizens began deserting them shortly after Shock 'n Awe when the 'details' of the necessity of war began to leak out- ever so slowly.

With more and more leaks of the 'truth' it has become apparent that the citizens no longer hold The Media in such high regard as they helped the Bush Administration sell the war to us.

Antipelagian said...

While I agree with you that the media is incredibly, obviously, and painfully biased...I'm not certain this is an example. Surely this fellow knew he would get into trouble for what he did. There are no "we hate Bush" media darlings in Iraq.

There are many instances where our military killed innocent civilians. We typically cover it up, say we killed insurgents...then, we come out with it in a very subtle way and say "Gosh, we're sorry if any innocents were killed".

Sometimes there's only so much you can take, and this guy had enough.

Roland Hansen said...

I shout from the rooftops: "The traditional media sucks!"
And, I am beginning to wonder about some blogs, as well -- "Just Blowing Smoke" excepted, of course.

Tim Higgins said...


I see no reason why "Just Blowing Smoke" should be excepted. I for one, wonder about it and it's author daily.