I think this takes the cake - God, I certainly hope it does.
I sat down this evening to hand out candy and do a quick post on journalism - in the light of the Nir Rosen Rolling Stone piece - bringing up my usual "journalist vs. citizen" point, and ragging, in a pipe-smoking philosophical way, on Rosen's detachment and belief that he's somehow "more" than a citizen - he's a journalist.
Then I sat down to reread Bing West's attack on Rosen and the comment thread under it, and went ballistic.
Because Rosen didn't just embed with the Taliban on an operation - he used his journalistic credentials to help them get past an Afghan army guard.
i did not say i deceived the afghan soldier. on the contrary, both i and the taliban commanders i was with told the afghan soldiers that i was a journalist and in fact i showed him my passport. of course there is nothing wrong with deceiving anybody if its going to protect you, but it wasnt necessary in this case, and i did not claim to deceive them. i in fact had to persuade them that i was a journalist and not a suicide bomber, which is what they suspected at first.
I'd like to be speechless; instead what comes to mind is a string of invective that will get the blog blocked in corporate firewalls for quite some time.
If I, or the parent of another American soldier, ever meet Mr. Rosen, he'll be lucky to only get the contents of my drink in his face.
Mr. Rosen enjoys the protections of a US passport; he was born in New York City.
I'll let a better man than I have the final word.In the colloquium on journalistic ethics that I frequently cite, after the two leading journalists explained that they would stand by and roll tape as an American force was ambushed, an American soldier stood up. Col. George M. Connell said:
"I feel utter . . . contempt. " Two days after this hypothetical episode, Connell Jennings or Wallace might be back with the American forces--and could be wounded by stray fire, as combat journalists often had been before. The instant that happened he said, they wouldn't be "just journalists" any more. Then they would drag them back, rather than leaving them to bleed to death on the battlefield. "We'll do it!" Connell said. "And that is what makes me so contemptuous of them. Marines will die going to get ... a couple of journalists." The last few words dripped with disgust.