Boston Beat the Press Update

[Cross-posted at DailyKos]. A quick update about the Tempest in a Beanpot: WGBH Boston public television's report last week about the credibility of bloggers compared with "professional journalists," which turned out to have been based on a satirical post from <del>the Onion</del&gt myDD. The reporter at issue, John Carroll, also works as an Assistant Professor of Mass Communications at Boston University.

The television station has issued a correction. They have confirmed that Jonathan Singer is not, in fact, Jerome Armstrong. Nor is he Scott Shields. They also have said they will discuss the issue tomorrow on their weekly Beat the Press panel.

A lively discussion has emerged at Blue Mass Group about what the station's response should be. (I am one of the Editors at BMG. Another Editor, David Kravitz, was interviewed for the Greater Boston program and, he says, misquoted. Update per David's comment below: he says his quote was "taken out of context.").

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Hersh, Fisk, Other Journalists Discuss Iraq

[Cross-posted from Blue Mass. Group] An interesting panel today at Columbia University by four war correspondents: Seymour Hersh, a regular contributor to The New Yorker; Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for British newspaper The Independent; John Pilger, who has twice won British journalism's highest award, "Journalist of the Year;" and Charles Glass, ABC News chief Middle East correspondent from 1983-1993, and current freelance reporter. The panel was hosted by U.S. history professor Eric Foner. The general subject was War Reporting; Iraq was the primary focus. Some highlights:


  • Fiske: "Iraq is a disaster and don't believe anyone who tells you differently." He lamented "hotel journalism:" reporters who file their reports from the Green Zone -- although he acknowledged the danger to correspondents. "When we go to the mortuary we reckon we have 20 minutes before someone with a mobile telephone comes by and there is a carload of gunmen. The New York Times reporters live in a compound guarded by a stockade with towers," he said. However, he added, the U.S. and British authorities, "like it this way. They do not want reporters going to the morgues and counting dead people." He said Coalition regulations prevent morgue officials from showing computer records to journalists. He said he did get access to a morgue computer system last summer: the system showed 1,100 dead in Baghdad alone in that month. He suggested a deal may have been made between Syria and the U.S.: less focus on the murder of Hariri in return for more cooperation on Iraq.


  • Hersch: Said we have a "Messianic President" who considers himself above politics. "And he's not done." Is there any good news? "There are 1,011 days in the reign of King George the Lesser. The good news is there is one less day tomorrow. That's the only good news." On Iran: "With George Bush what you see is what you get. He's probably going to do it. There are people in the White House who are scared to death about this guy." He did tip his hat to Patrick Fitzgerald. "The Special Prosecutor seems like a pretty straight guy."


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