The news we saw on Memorial Day was never the kind of news that anybody in the media wants to hear.
Two CBS newsmen were killed and a CBS correspondent was seriously injured in a car bombing in Baghdad. And to make it more ironic, they were embedded with U.S. troops doing a story on what it is like to be in a war zone on our Memorial Day.
CBS was understandably ahead of the story which all the media covered as they did when an ABC crew was seriously injured last January.
We can understand hurting for your colleagues because we, too, do technical work for one of the big three networks and we have some friends and colleagues over there working as well.
That said, it is important to keep in focus that nobody goes over to cover a war without first making that choice to put themselves in harm’s way.
Fox News Channel reports that 72 journalists have been killed in the Iraq conflict.
While that’s not anything that anyone should be proud of, it’s important to note that in war zones, people get killed and journalists are no more or less special than anyone else—especially the United States military personnel who they are embedded with.
Our point is that there is a tendency on the part of journalists to somehow accord the death of a fellow journalist more weight than, say, the death of a mere soldier. Just as journalists here in the United States think they should not have to answer prosecutors’ questions in front of a Grand Jury or reveal their sources no matter what the circumstances, they also regard a journalist who was killed in a war zone as being more newsworthy than, say, a soldier.
And we do not believe that is right or fair.
You see, we’re supposed to cover the story, not be the story. Journalism is a craft, not a profession.
Those of us who practice that craft in general live by a self-imposed set of rules.
In most cases, we value accuracy and speed in that order. Our opinions should be clearly labeled as exactly that—opinion.
Journalists are only special when they do their job and do not ask for more privileges than the average person gets. Just like politicians, they have a constituency and are NOT above the law.
The special part of being involved in journalism is that we get to see things most people will never see and we get to do things that most people will never do and then we get to tell or show you all about what we have seen and done.
A ringside seat to history is the only privilege that any journalist should ever get.
On another subject…
On another subject…
We never met Spencer Clark.
We covered a number of races he won at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring and, like most, thought he might have had a career in NASCAR’s upper divisions.
You never really know about that until a driver gets there but he was sure burning up the track in the same manner that Kurt and Kyle Busch did.
We’ll never know because Spencer and a buddy were hauling a race car he had bought back to Las Vegas and the trailer they were towing rolled.
Neither Clark nor his friend were wearing seat belts and both were killed.
Two lives were ended; two families and many friends are grieving.
We thought of that over the weekend when we saw those inane "click it or ticket" public service announcements which you paid your government to air.
We don’t need the government to threaten us to make us wear seatbelts.
The memory of how a promising Las Vegas race car driver died should probably be all that is necessary.