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Like the kidnapped BBC journalist, Old Media cannot avoid being used as pawns. Bloggers are best hope ever for truth from dangerous areas. 7/5/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in BBC, Bloggers, Dangerous assigments.
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BBC reporter Alan Johnston this week was released by his Gaza kidnappers after 3 months of captivity…as well as 3 months of propaganda. The captors captured him on video, clearly under pressure, accusing the West of imprisoning, killing, and economically oppressing Palestinians, and warning that a suicide belt he was wearing would be detonated if force was used to liberate him.

Unfortunately, it is neither new nor avoidable for thugs and tyrants to pressure news personalities to deliver their message — this time it was just unusually obvious. CNN’s Eason Jordan once admitted that his network suppressed atrocities during Saddam Hussein’s regime, essentially to keep their Baghdad bureau open. And being very generous, let’s assume that Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times reporter Walter Duranty was pressured into denying that he witnessed a Stalin-created famine that killed millions of Ukranians. But even in day-to-day coverage, corners will inevitably be cut to ensure journalists’ access to newsmakers, no matter how detestable they might be.

In this regard, today’s bloggers have advantages Old Media journalists have never had, offering new promise that truth can emerge even from the world’s most dangerous regions. The relative obscurity of bloggers and their sites make them too low-profile to be of much publicity value to thugs and tyrants. But beyond that, bloggers can have access over the Internet to scores of sources in these dangerous areas, without getting in harm’s way. While you could say that Old Media journalists have the same access to these sources, effectively the journalism standards to which they and their organizations adhere preclude them from using this raw, weakly verified, but highly valuable information. As to claims that the Old Media are always superior to bloggers for the delivery of truth, here’s an example — a compelling one — where they are not.

Comments»

1. Walter - 7/13/07

>> And being very generous, let’s assume that Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times reporter Walter Duranty was pressured into denying that he witnessed a Stalin-created famine that killed millions of Ukranians.

I protest. I was under no pressure whatsoever. I covered up the genocide in Ukraine of my own free will. Stalin loved me for it. So did the Times!

2. Steve Boriss - 7/13/07

Walter “Duranty”: Just read your hilarious web site at http://www.duranty.com. But tell me, why should we believe that Satan is not pressuring you into giving your account of how wonderful Hell is?


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