February 27, 2005

THOUGHTS ON JOURNALISTS IN IRAQ:

Elections are one of the few news occasions that provide editors and reporters with the clarity of numbers to help us to judge whether or not we are doing a decent job. January 30th turned out to be a better day for Iraqis than it was for reporters.

The failure of “hotel journalism” might be forgivable if it were truly about prudence or even laziness. But there has been something wilful about the bad reporting of this story. It is weirdly personal: Iraq must fail. It is in fact the press that failed, on a scale for which I cannot think of a precedent. Will the big media outlets demand the same accountability of themselves that they demand of everyone else? They should, for the success of these elections was not so surprising to those who dug below the surface of Iraq.

Yes, it became clear that those who read blogs — especially blogs from Iraq — had a better picture of what was going on than those who read, say, Newsweek.

More thoughts on the press’s failure in Iraq, here.

UPDATE: All I can say is I told you so.