“By limiting the ability of the media to fully and independently cover the events in Iraq, the U.S. forces are unduly preventing U.S. citizens from receiving information…and undermining the very freedoms the U.S. says it is seeking to foster every day that it commits U.S. lives and U.S. dollars.”
This is yet another report that proves we are not receiving the full picture of Iraq’s chaos. Western journalists rarely venture past their heavily fortified Baghdad bunkers, instead relying on Iraqi reporters to risk life and limb to gather information.
“‘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.”