Since Aug 1, 2003
Posted by James500:
But while Jennings and his crew were traveling with a North Kosanese unit, to visit the site of an alleged atrocity by U.S. and South Kosanese troops, they unexpectedly crossed the trail of a small group of American and South Kosanese soldiers. With Jennings in their midst the Northern soldiers set up an ambush that would let them gun down the Americans and Southerners.
What would Jennings do? Would he tell his cameramen to Roll tape! as the North Kosanese opened fire? What would go through his mind as he watched the North Kosanese prepare to fire?
Jennings sat silent for about fifteen seconds. Well, I guess I wouldnt, he finally said. I am going to tell you now what I am feeling, rather than the hypothesis I drew for myself. If I were with a North Kosanese unit that came upon Americans, I think that I personally would do what I could to warn the Americans.
Even if it meant losing the story? Ogletree asked.
Even though it would almost certainly mean losing my life, Jennings replied. But I do not think that I could bring myself to participate in that act. Thats purely personal, and other reporters might have a different reaction.
Ogletree turned for reaction to Mike Wallace, who immediately replied. I think some other reporters would have a different reaction, he said, obviously referring to himself. They would regard it simply as another story they were there to cover. A moment later Wallace said, I am astonished, really. He turned toward Jennings and began to lecture him: Youre a reporter. Granted youre an American (at least for purposes of the fictional example; Jennings has actually retained Canadian citizenship). Im a little bit at a loss to understand why, because youre an American, you would not have covered that story.
Ogletree pushed Wallace. Didnt Jennings have some higher duty to do something other than just roll film as soldiers from his own country were being shot?
No, Wallace said flatly and immediately. You dont have a higher duty. No. No. Youre a reporter!
Jennings backtracked fast. Wallace was right, he said: I chickened out. Jennings said that he had played the hypothetical very hard.He had lost sight of his journalistic duty to remain detached.
And the reply of the Marine Colonel to this?
George Connell, a Marine Corps Colonel, reacted with disdain: "I feel utter contempt. Two days later they're both walking off my hilltop, they're two hundred yards away and they get ambushed. And they're lying there wounded. And they're going to expect I'm going to send Marines up there to get them. They're just journalists, they're not Americans." The discussion concluded as Connell fretted: "But I'll do it. And that's what makes me so contemptuous of them. And Marines will die, going to get a couple of journalists."
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