Sunday, March 30, 2003

The big picture
I hear certain Sky News junkies are getting fed up with this war. They miss the sports news at twenty past the hour, every hour. The war coverage on the 24 hour news channels is dreary, isn’t it?

Catherine Bennett discussed this in a rather amusing article in the UK Guardian on Thursday. She makes an interesting point:

While it would be cruel, as correspondents risk their lives, to portray the current television coverage as, at best, gruesome entertainment, and at worst, an exercise in futility, history does suggest that the midst of battle is the most confusing place from which to make sense of it.

Do my eyes deceive me? Could this be possible? Is she really suggesting that reporters in the field cannot actually understand what is happening? Could it really be that they are not able to grasp the big picture? I am shocked. This is revolutionary! Think of the implications!

Because if this is true for this Iraq war it could be true for other conflicts, couldn’t it? Maybe foreign reporters covering Jenin and Ramallah so objectively are just as clueless as the guys currently tagging along after the US forces or looking out of their hotel windows in Baghdad.

And if it’s true for professional, seasoned journalists, do you think it could possibly be true for ideological peace activists who arrive with preconditioned perceptions of what they are to find? Maybe they don’t understand what they are seeing and hearing and experiencing.

For instance, maybe they don't know what the bulldozers are doing and why. Maybe they don't realize (what every soldier and construction worker knows) that a bulldozer driver has extremely limited vision. Maybe this is how they come to be harboring a murderer and hiding weapons (Via Meryl Yourish).

Could it possibly be?