Monday, October 29, 2007

Tom Bowman Surprises Me

All right I was really amazed at the quality of the report from Tom Bowman in Iraq. Instead of a simple embedded report, he seems to have visited the site of an American offensive operation and interviews Iraqi eyewitnesses.

It's not a one-sided piece by any stretch. It gives voice to many descriptions of what may have happened on Oct. 4th when the US attacked the Iraqi village of Jaisani. Various Iraqis and US officers and spokespeople contribute to the report.

NPR deserves credit for not just reporting the US version of this awful event. I remember when it occured that it was reported in many news outlets as resulting in the deaths of "terrorists" and "criminals." This report features the US military again using this language, but the report makes it very clear that this version of events is not born out by many of the witnesses on the ground.

NPR should do more of this kind of on the ground reporting - and when unable to because of security problems, should emphasize that it is relying solely on US military or government sourcing which has proved to be frequently unreliable.

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