Monday, January 21, 2008

The New York Times Takes on Michael Yon

The Times has an article about Michael Yon, which appears to be somewhat biographical in nature. While they acknowledge his existence, no secret to the voracious blog readers out there, they seem to want to say that he agrees with them more then he disagrees.
He went to Iraq believing that the mainstream news media were bungling the story, and he still often criticizes the media’s pessimism. But he has also praised particular reporters from major outlets, or defended the media in general, explaining how difficult and dangerous it is to cover the war.
They offer up a couple of passages of some the horrific things he has seen, such is the nature of war. Of course they also hint that Michael was somewhat of a propagandist.
In his first year and a half of online writing, Mr. Yon carefully avoided a position on whether he thought the war should have been waged in the first place. He eventually said that he had supported it reluctantly because of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
They then try to launch into a self congratulatory pat on the back for the way they had covered the war.
In an interview, he said that when he first went to Iraq, in December 2004, “I knew we were losing the war,” and that “it was worse than the news was portraying.”
They do manage to make a couple of admissions however.
Since then, bloggers and independent journalists have grown in numbers in Iraq, while the mainstream media there has shrunk. Overall, the number of embedded reporters at a given time dropped from several hundred in the early going to a few dozen in recent months.
There is one telling quote in the article in between the parts where the Times tries to make it case that Mr Yon basically agrees with them.
“His work has a remarkable, chin-out, unvarnished intimacy,” said Jackie Lyden, a National Public Radio reporter who has worked in Iraq. “He isn’t a guarded, diplomatically toned reporter; he can be very frank, and he questions his own assumptions.”
It was surprising to find Michael Yon mentioned in a main stream media news article and although they carefully avoid saying too much about his coverage other then giving his web site and the obligatory nod to the now famous picture he took of a soldier cradling a wounded little girl, they do try to paint an image of some guy who basically exonerates the press for the way they covered the conflict in Iraq.

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