The conventions of sports reporting have been sneaking into war correspondants’ work. Now it seems the same genre-sneak is also occuring at the receiving end: Some pubs here in London are rolling down the big screens normally reserved for the weekend soccer madness, and are showing the war madness on their projection televisions. Just what you need when you’re trying to relax with a pint: a ten-foot high Ari Fleischer. Aaaaaargh!
There ought to be more media navel-gazing. It’s good for the profession. The Guardian, somewhat predictably, is doing a good job with this. Its media section has created a whole new sub-section about the media coverage of the war. The paper has three important stories on the media war. Nothing too insightful, but at least they’re trying:
- Michael Wolff writes that the American media’s war coverage. He writes: “Even the New York Times, with its all-out wartime mobilisation, seems largely to be spoon-fed by the Pentagon, and to be unnaturally aroused by the bigness of it all: war as Viagra.”
- Leo Hickman investigates the Baghdad blogger, who calls himself Salam Pax. More digging into the mysterious blogger is done by Paul Boutin
- A Roy Greenslade story questioning the value of the late additions that the fiercely-competitive British newspapers are trying to put out during the war.
The best line, though, comes from Mark Lawson’s comments on the “armchair division:”
Someone once said that journalism is the rough first draft of history. The problem with rolling news is that it gives you the notebook and the crossings-out on the way to the first draft as well.</p> Indeed. The “someone,” by the way, is either former Washington Post publisher Phil Graham, or his editor, Ben Bradlee, depending on whom you ask. (If memory serves, Bradlee has publically said it was Graham.)