The Observer has a long piece (with three person byline) this week about the American Press Corp in Iraq (yep! someone is writing all those stories we like to skim over on our way the our election pastime). The corp currently consists of about 90 journalists, and is still going strong at sixty-two months despite the high level of danger and the fact the story is slipping from the front pages. “The level of ignorance is distressing,” says Tina Sussman, the Baghdad bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times.
It shows people aren’t paying any attention to the stories. They’re asking me about details like, ‘Do you go out, do you go to the Green Zone?’ And I tell them, ‘Just read the stories!’ If you just read the stories, they wouldn’t have to ask. They say they’re paying attention, but they don’t. If they ask you what the situation is like, they’re not reading. The New York Times, Reuters, the AP, the Los Angeles Times, they produce a lot of copy! It’s so easy to criticize the mainstream media for not covering the story, but there’s a lot of coverage.Things are getting slightly safer over there, however: journalists have been able to increase the time they can spend in one place from the conventional 20 minutes (how long it takes “for eyewitnesses to report their whereabouts to potential kidnappers, and for the kidnappers to lay their trap) to 45 minutes or more.