Tuesday, January 10, 2006

MSM Bands Together To Black-Out Jill Carroll News

I understand wanting to help a fellow human being in a really dangerous situation, I would do the same, but that has to be applied to everyone equally. Slate has a post up by Jack Shafer that is quite disturbing when you consider the black-out that the press collectively decided to impose in the Jill Carroll story to us the subsribers:

Editor & Publisher reports today on the successful efforts made by the Christian Science Monitor to impose a weekend-long "news blackout" on coverage of the abduction of its Baghdad stringer, Jill Carroll. Unknown gunmen took Carroll and murdered her translator, Allan Enwiyah, on Saturday morning in Baghdad.

Carroll's name didn't appear in the print editions of the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, or the New York Times, until today, Tuesday, Jan. 10. The Associated Press story naming her moved at 11:10 p.m., Monday, Jan. 9, according to Nexis.

Jack Shafer echoes my sentiments when he says this:

Nobody can criticize news organizations for agreeing among themselves to embargo kidnapping information for few hours if it might save a colleague's life. And, obviously, the rules for covering kidnappings should be different in a war zone such as Iraq—where 36 reporters have been snatched since April 2004—than stateside. According to the Los Angeles Times, six of the kidnapped journalists have been killed. (These numbers pale in comparison with the Iraqi kidnapping count. The Post reports that 30 Iraqis are abducted each day.)

I know it's easy for me to meditate about this topic from the safety of my Washington office while journalists labor under the threat of death every day in Iraq. But the questions remain. If the press should spike news to help a colleague, how long an interval is decent? Should it be 48 hours, as in Carroll's case? Until the local press reports the story? Until the abducted person's employer confirms the news? Until the U.S. Embassy does? Or until the kidnappers make their announcement on the Web? I don't have any easy answers, just easy questions.

It's also not clear to me whether the same set of reporting rules currently applies to the kidnapping coverage of foreign journalists and to non-journalist foreigners in Iraq. It would be very bad news—pardon the pun—if reporters are more vigilant in protecting their own than they are non-journalists.

Everyone hopes that Ms. Carroll will be freed unharmed and she is obviously in a very dangerous situation. Everyone with a soul hopes this will not end in tragedy. That said, the press does not delay running stories about soldiers or non-journalist citizens who are abducted, and running it over, and over and over. Often framed with knifes at the person's throat. So why different rules for members of the press? This is should send off alarms to everyone, regardless of their political base.

The story here is that the press took it upon themselves to black out a news event, because the person involved was a journalist, applied different rules and they have not applied the same precedent when non-journalists have unfortunately found themselves in the same dangerous circumstances. Think about that, the press decided collectively as the press body to black out your news! I know of no other circumstance where a non-journalist was afforded a black-out who was in a similar circumstance and if someone has an example that proves that there is common precedent where the same black-outs have been applied to non-journalists, please educate me. It would help me understand what is happening here.

Lots of liberal MSM types are going bananas over the NSA story and the criticism that those like me are giving organizations like the NYT for publishing information that endangers millions of Americans. So let me get this straight, as tragic as it is, one journalist merits an elaborate media black-out and millions of Americans here at home don't? Have rules that we are now playing by when it comes to publishing the news accurately and without censorship changed? Has the MSM now agreed on a specific rule of news censorship and what they will feed and what they will not feed their subscribers? Based on their new unknown standards is their a new rule?

Jack Schafer being a professional journalist said it much better that I could here:

Sitting on newsworthy information is an unnatural act for most reporters—some would say unprofessional—and nobody can argue that the kidnapping of Jill Carroll isn't newsworthy. By effortlessly banding together across several time zones to squelch information in the name of protecting one colleague in Baghdad, American journalists placed themselves in a hypocritical position. Didn't their leading newspaper just publish national security information over the objections of a White House that protests that the story endangers the lives of millions of Americans?

Well maybe I did say it close to as well as Jack did, and said it over and over again, much earlier..............................................

Here are the MSM links on the story:

Go see what the NYT, WaPo, and the AP have to say about their censorship. It's not be reported, imagine that...............I guess the coverage on this by the MSM has been blacked-out also.............................