Every once in a while you see something on the network morning shows that makes you spit out your milk. This morning, on NBC's Today show, White House correspondent David Gregory, apparently subbing for Matt Lauer, opened a segment entitled: "Are Americans Getting a Fair Picture of What is Happening in Iraq."
Putting aside the ridiculousness of that question itself, the panel to discuss it consisted of James Carville and conservative pundit Laura Ingraham. Apparently having a short memory, Ingraham proceeded to blame the media's cowardice for low public opinion of the war. The following is a rough transcription of some of the things she said:
"I think....with all the resources of NBC, the Today Show spends all this money to cover the Olympics...all this money on where in the world is matt lauer..bring the today show to Iraq...when you see the villagers, talk to the children, then I want NBC to (not) report only on the IED's, only on the killings....instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off."
So the problem is that reporters are stuck in the luxury of their Baghdad hotels (which only have power a few hours a day)?
Tell that to David Bloom. Sometimes he hosted the Today Show in Matt Lauer's stead, but he does not any longer. He died in Iraq. He did not die from the inherent dangers of the confllict, but from a pulmonary embolism, having spent his last days reporting the news embedded with troops in conflict.
Tell that to Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt. The ABC anchor and his camerman were both seriously injured by one of those IED's Laura Ingraham belittles.
Tell that to Jill Carroll, a freelancer for the Christian Science Monitor, kidnapped and still missing in Iraq.
The point is not that journalists are immune from criticism. The point is that the criticism should be grounded in reality.
Just because they choose to report what is really going on, that Iraq is in a civil war (a reality echoed by its former Prime Minister -- who I think knows a bit more about his country than Ingraham), should not make them targets for Ingraham's attacks. They regrettably already are targets in Iraq.