Skip to comments.Journalists: Unwitting Friends of Jihadis?
Posted on 10/01/2003 11:55:25 AM PDT by swarthyguy
The coverage of Islamic fundamentalism by journalists and other media people have made me ask a number of fundamental questions about those who make up journalism. My foray into journalism has been through freelance. I have published now for well over four years, from opinions to letters. While I have been successful in publishing in some journals, I have also seen myself rebuffed, time and again, by others.
Journalism, although important, is not a field that attracts the smartest -- the social status and financial rewards are not those associated with upper echelons of a society. The preparation that goes into being a journalist, typically, involves taking most courses in humanities. This has a major drawback, in the sense that, the college students of journalism do not get to solve problems, unlike students of professional or scientific background.
Journalism and the War on Terror
Journalists are among the strongest proponents of democracy. This is because, free speech rights granted under democracy give journalists power and prominence, in addition to freedom in reporting the truth, as they see it. As I pointed out in my article titled Islams Weakness (http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=305850), all democratic countries with sizeable Islamic populations have seen them radicalized to a considerable extent. Freedom of speech and religion have been used by religious fascists to radicalize Muslim populations in democratic countries. In many such countries violent Islamic extremists have been entrenched among the populace. The unique facet of the war on terror is that whole Muslim communities have been brainwashed into supporting jihad. Suspension of some rights, while fundamentalists are liquidated and communities are weaned back to civilization is inevitable and much needed. But these very same steps restrict journalists ability to gather and report news and goes against their philosophy of supporting all rights. Conclusion: We have a conflict of interest between journalists desire to report freely and the communitys desire for safety and winning the war on terror.
Free speech rights granted under a democratic system makes journalists role in a society rather powerful. While journalists can question anyone under the freedom of speech, others couldnt do so easily, because others lack the access to the media, which journalists control in the first place!
Journalists can also make life difficult for a government if it has to take strong measures to put down terrorism. Because, as discussed before, these measures clash with the interests of journalists.
Duped by Claims of Victimization
With journalists seeing themselves as custodians of democracy, they tend to become hypersensitive to the claims of minority communities complaints of oppression and violation of human rights. Muslim extremists around the world have used this effective strategy to push their agenda. Journalists have been slow to realize that the underpinnings of Islamic ideology is very fascist, and it alone has been repressing Muslims and has kept them from progressing, and has channeled their energy toward jihad (reference: Islams Weakness). The blunder journalists across the spectrum made in misdiagnosing Islamic fascists as victims, has made entire communities and nations unprepared, and resulted in the biggest terrorist disaster on Sept. 11. I also contend that Islamic insurgencies too have managed to survive due to undeserving sympathy of the press and media. We see that instead of being keepers of democracy, modern journalists, by and large, have become unwitting friends of fascism that is threatening many democracies, including India.
Left Vs Right
This is not say that all journalists are on the left. Clearly, training and the kind of job they do put most of them on the left when it comes to most issues. But there is also a significant section of journalists who are on the right. But they are a minority. Since the events of Sept. 11, there has been a gradual shift among the public in favoring the right. Left has discredited itself greatly with its many missteps with regard to Islamic fundamentalism. The few good journalists on the right have done an immensely good service for the civilization, exposing Islamic extremists for what they are.
New York Times as a Case Study
As the most prominent newspaper in America, the New York Times wields a considerable influence over America. But, it is also a strongly left leaning paper that has come under increasing criticism for its portrayal of Islamic extremists. As someone who reads it regularly, I started noticing its bizarre portrayal of Hindu-Muslim conflict in India. About a year ago, I published an opinion in Daily Pioneer about New York Times ridiculous coverage (reference: http://www.hvk.org/articles/0902/50.html). NY Times has consistently characterized Muslims as victims in India under the hands of Hindus, when in reality, it is the other way around. Its editors wouldnt even publish letters that point out otherwise. To me and to many others, the Times was like an American version of Al-Jazeera, an Arab TV network, notorious for a deliberate one-sided reporting. Even when it came to Israel, Americas closest alley, the blundering continued. A recent Times editorial called on Israel to respond proportionately to Palestinian and other Muslim terror attacks (notably from Lebanon), without thinking through that if Israel follows this advice, it will cease to exist in a region where its enemies out number it 100 to 1. Of course, the Times wouldnt publish any other view, when responded to in the form of a letter.
This way of deliberately ignoring the truth and reality, and look for what it wants to see, for an editorial board, should be a bad omen. It came as no surprise to many when Jason Blairs debacle at the Times came out.
I have wondered aloud many times what makes an editorial board members expert enough on any issue to be able to write editorials. In fact, the board is simply not qualified to write most editorials. I am for getting away with editorial section altogether and leaving the space for op-eds, where experts can give their opinions. This is good journalism.
While acknowledging the great positives the journalists continue to contribute, it is time to also note the limitations and negatives of modern day journalism, exposed by the war on terror. Journalists need to understand that journalism is just one pillar among the many that make a democracy work. Their forte is reporting, not problem solving. Editorials do not belong in newspapers, but op-eds do. Governments must not allow themselves to be unnecessarily restrained by journalists in dealing with terrorism, -- given the underlying conflict of interest.
The Constitution doesn't mention democracy, not even once. It does mention republican, with the federal government to guarantee a republican form of government to the states. Also the Consitution doesn't generally grant rights, it protects them, as in "Congress shall make no law" or "right of the people .. shall not be infringed".
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.