Tuesday, March 28, 2006

You Risk & Iraq

Initially I'm inclined to say that reporters don't have the right to ask people to risk anything at all, because Kant would say that is using people as a means to an end.

But on second thought, I don't think that I actually feel that way. I mean, we are only asking someone to take risks. They have the full freedom to refuse. It's only a request, not a demand. I would like to think that any reporter would communicate risks to an individual that they were asking a favor of; that a reporter would not knowingly send someone somewhere without informing that person of the risks. That would be wrong and immoral. Additionally, if someone does not want to take a risk, well... everyone has a price and I'm sure that a reporter could find someone with whom they could work out a reasonable deal.

I think that the most important things are that anyone who is asked to take a risk understands the risks and dangers at hand, and that they have the ability to decline the offer. Provided that those conditions are met, I see nothing wrong with asking an individual to take a risk.

As for the media coverage in the Middle East, I'd give them a C-. They do provide quite accurate information on factual events. When, where, who, and what are usually covered pretty well. If a suicide bomber blows something up, I have complete confidence that the media will tell me all about it with haste. However, I'm quite displeased with the not-so factual facets of the Middle East conflict. That is, how to the people over there feel about us? Sure, we know that at least part of the population hates us, but what about everyone else? Do they all hate us, or are some of them thankful for what we're doing? This war is not only a war of militaries, but of the hearts and minds of people. The media does a fair job on the militaristic facts, but what about the hearts and minds? We've won the war militarily for sure, but how about the war for the people and for their support?

1 comment:

dairy diva said...

On my first thought I would agree with Dave K but I thought it over and journalists have a responsibility to report. These are people who love to tell stories. They love finding facts and people with interesting opinions. They enjoy reporting stories about unique things. These are people who have chosen to inform others as a living.

As part of that living is a need to tell accurate stories. If that means asking a source to do something a bit dangerous I think we will. As long as the source knows the risks it is fine. It is wrong when a reporter sends someone into a dangerous situation and they don't know it. But if a reporter informs the source about the dangers and they still accept than it is not a reporter's fault.

Sources are people just like reporters. They have a choice to make as well (at least in America). If someone does not want to then a good reporter would just find another source. Coercing someone to do something dangerous is wrong. But suggesting an idea and then having someone agree is not wrong. That person made the choice when given the possible consequences.

Before last week I would have given the Western media an F. But then I had the privilege of listening to Leon D'Souza and I changed my mind. He talked about how the war is not over. He believes that the footage on TV could be reworked but it is not false. I agree with him that the continuous coverage of bombing after bombing is just angering people. We need more survivor stories of citizens. We need stories about the ways to fix this mess. These may not be the easy stories but they need to be told as well. This war coverage needs to shift from military/war facts to people. To help heal wounds we need to show the human side of the story.