Is This the Best they Can Come Up With?

Don’t miss this unintentionally hilarious account in today’s Washington Post, which, if true, suggests that the Americans must be the best-behaved occupation troops in history. Better yet, skip the Post story and go straight to Tim Blair’s commentary, which is hilarious on purpose.
Given the eagerness of American press outlets to print bad news from Iraq and stories that reflect badly on our troops, I find it reassuring that the worst they can come up with is a story in which–OK, I’ll give away part of the plot–the only violence is committed by an obviously disturbed Iraqi against his mother. Be assured, however, that it was the troops’ fault!
UPDATE: Roger Simon has some observations on the myth of the foreign correspondent.
One of the more interesting moments in the Journalism/Blogger conference I attended over the last two days was when Jill Abramson, Managing Editor of the New York Times, challenged the bloggers present to guess how much it costs the Times to maintain its Baghdad bureau for a year, including security, translators, etc. (Her point was that it takes a lot of resources, which could never be matched by bloggers, to do “real” news reporting.) I didn’t say anything, but guessed the figure was around $15 million. After a brief shouting match with Dave Winer, Abramson said the Baghdad bureau costs the Times $1 million annually–a stunningly low figure, I think. I have no idea whether MSM outlets like the Times and the Washington Post could do a better job of reporting from places like Iraq if they invested more resources or not. But the “vast gulf” between them and the amateur reporters on scene, like the bloggers in Iraq (who, of course, have the enormous advantage of having spent their lives there and speaking the language) is not, in fact, all that vast.


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