Baghdad – too dangerous for the VOA
Well, this gives the Bush mis-administration another reason to spy on reporters. How dare they tell us the bad news! Schools are being painted, playgrounds are being built….the electricity was on for three hours one day.
If reporters like Howard Kurtz would stop harping on the bad news, they might even be able to get the electric working for three consecutive hours!
Olbermann: Meantime, we noted here 24 hours ago that this seems to be an administration that is outwardly unsusceptible to irony or charges of hypocrisy. But even that Teflon coating is facing a heavy-duty fried-egg stain. While the Bush press office and responsive reporters and talk show hosts desperately continue to accuse the, quote, “mainstream media” of ignoring the, quote, "good news from Iraq," "The Washington Post" has revealed that for the last six months, the Voice of America, the U.S. government-run news organization, has not had a correspondent in Baghdad because it‘s just too dangerous.
Alicia Ryu tells “The Post” she was rotated out of the assignment there in December at her own request, and that there has been no successor because, quote, “They didn‘t have any volunteers to replace me.” Ms. Ryu said she “couldn‘t live with the idea that someone else could have died who was working with me,” this after she came under fire in an ambush and her security guard was killed there.
OLBERMANN: So lastly, Richard, rate this as a symbol, as a microcosm of Iraq and truth verses spin there and here?
WOLFFE: I would say that the administration, the administration spin just has never matched the situation on the ground in Iraq. And the VOA is just another example of that. But the biggest one is the number of people who are dying. [emphasis mine]
From Howard Kurtz' article in the Washington Post:
[…] All Western news organizations have struggled with the dangerous conditions in Iraq, which have led to such high-profile incidents as the kidnapping of Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll and the wounding of ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff. But for a federally funded information service to pull out of Baghdad for such a prolonged period raises questions about the Bush administration's insistence that conditions there are gradually improving.
Reporters for several news outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, have had close calls in Iraq. A VOA staffer familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person is not an authorized representative, said the agency had a limited budget in Iraq and could not afford the extensive security employed by major news organizations.
El Chimperor…. His Imperial Kingness…the President is doing a heckova job.