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April 10, 2003 — 10 AM

Fisk on Iraq

Veteran British journalist Robert Fisk offers a compelling perspective on yesterday’s events in Iraq. It was a day that saw the world’s media rally around falling statues, for the obvious visual metaphor, but most reports failed to suggest what it all might actually mean.

Fisk, who lately writes for the maverick Independent has managed to undermine his own credibility recently, both through his fairly slanted perspective on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, and, more recently, by taking a fairly obvious stance against contemporary American foreign policy. Not to say that journalists aren’t entitled to an opinion — in theory, they are better informed than most. Actually, journalism needs more obvious slants, and less of the pretentious objectivity that subtly masks an editorial tilt. The latter is what pervades most American journalism right now, to its detriment.

Journalists have an obligation to present a balanced perspective of course, but the holy grail of The Truth often forces reporters to choose one of many competing truths, when, really, it’s a matter of perception. There aren’t always absolute heroes and villians, and perhaps many Iraqis are simultaneously relieved and worried about the events taking place on top of them. Unfortunately, “Iraqis have mixed emotions about American war” isn’t a bold headline for the front page. Ambiguity has no place on the 11 o’clock news.


Previously: Thin Ice

Subsequently: On Safari

April 2003
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