One Iraqi Blogger's Moment of Truth

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I get stressed enough as it is blogging for BOTN in my air conditioned office in DC, so I can't even imagine what it would be like to blog from the streets of Baghdad. Back in February we spoke with American citizen journalist Michael Yon about his dispatches from the war. He has spent most of the last three years reporting from Iraq, but now he's back in the States to talk about his new book, Moment of Truth in Iraq. In it, he gives us a deeper look at his coverage of the battlefield, and what it's like to blog in one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. You can read his online magazine here. He'll join us today in the Knight studio at the Newseum, so if you have any questions for him, let us know.



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In the interview by Talk of the Nation, Michael Yon was introduced as an independent "embedded" journalist. Is this a blatant oxymoron? This kind of introduction is what bothers me most about the media and the way information is presented. For those who are not aware of what "embedded" or "unembedded" means in this context you are doing the public a disservice. "Embedded" in this instance implies much more than protection and I think it is NPR's responsibility to make this point clear to it's listening audience.

I do not want to give the impression that I am unsympathetic to Mr. Yons communications or his right to his own views. Anyone there is brave to be there. That said, I would like to hear an interview with an "unembedded" journalist.

Opinion? Propaganda? Media Manipulation?
Or Truth? These are the questions we listener's must ask ourselves.

Sent by Anna Marina Jaimes | 4:17 PM | 4-23-2008

No one in Iraq would dare be unembedded - they would be killed very quickly. As it is - Iraqi newspeople who are "unembedded" are often kidnapped and killed.

Get real Anna! Your liberal bias is showing!

Sent by Kata Daki | 5:15 PM | 4-23-2008

Running "unembedded" requires that you provide for your own security, which is expensive - as I'm sure NPR can attest. No independent journalist can afford such an arrangement. There were a few independents in the early days - Christopher Allbritton authored a blog supported by contributions which produced a lot of good reportage in those days.

Yes, there has been a lot of opinion, propaganda and manipulation passed off as "news" in the last five years. And we were suckers for it. The fault is as much our own as the spinners. Let's learn the lesson this time: if the news is coming from an advocate, it's probably bent. Seek Other Sources.

I can highly recommend the McClatchy organization for its good journalism from Iraq.

As for Mr. Yon, I have really appreciated reading his work, and even tossed in a small contribution, even though he and I disagree completely on the wisdom of the invasion. I'm an anti-imperialist so was opposed from the beginning. But good reporting is worth supporting. He's no stooge of the occupation - he's been critical when the occasion arose. He's a good man, and if you haven't read his work, I commend him to you.

Sent by Steve Jones | 10:48 PM | 4-23-2008

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