How To Get Someone With Friends In Egypt To Lose His Temper


by Conor Friedersdorf

The ignorant prick of the day award goes to Big Government's Peter Schweizer – of course he writes on a Breitbart site – who says this:

There has been widespread condemnation of the violence directed against journalists covering events in Egypt–and there should be.  But honestly,  I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for those who have been attacked.

Journalists have a job to do,  but when they take huge risks for the sake of ratings and then find themselves in trouble,  it’s hard to take seriously any “shock” that media executives express about their journalists being targeted.   A journalist walking into a crowd of tens of thousands of protestors facing off against tens of thousands of other protestors is akin to the foolish hikers you read about from time to time who end up getting trapped in a snowstorm and have to be taken off the mountain by helicopter.  They made a foolish decision to ascend a mountain and simply were not prepared.

The world is a brutish, dangerous, and nasty place.  Don’t expect people in the developing world to smile and be friendly just because you have a press pass.   Journalists should use judgment and not race into the middle of what amounts to a massive bar room brawl without expecting something bad to happen.

If Schweitzer weren't so callous and uninformed about his own profession, he would understand that every editor who sent a journalist to Egypt did do with the sickening knowledge that they might be targeted; that lots of preparation is done and lots of precautions are taken; that many who head out to report these stories do so with a lump in their throat, braving dangerous situations not because they are naive or foolish or unprepared, but because they rightly believe that having eyes and ears on the ground is vital even when it is dangerous, so that reliable information is available (even to sites like Big Government, which link reports from the field, but mostly dishonor the brave men and women who do the work by imposing on it distorted analysis as blinkered as anything you'll find).

I understand how a writer for a Web site filled daily with intellectually dishonest nonsense, written to advance a twisted, incoherent ideological agenda, would lose site of the fact that other people who call themselves journalists are engaged in work that rightly makes them proud. But the fact of the matter is that foreign reporting is poorly compensated, dangerous work that is of vital importance to our world, and seldom undertaken by anyone whose primary concern is ratings. How someone fails to grasp this while writing at what is ostensibly a foreign affairs Web site boggles the mind. If you're in journalism for the money, it's much easier to launch some hack Web sites where ideologues flatter the prejudices of fellow travelers by slapping up links to stories reported by real journalists, and then publishing people who insult those same professionals, implying their work has no more value than recreational mountain climbing. So Schweitzer disparages these journalists in Egypt while his boss, who owes his fortune to curating their work, roller skates around a parking lot confronting liberals.

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