New York Journalist Steven Vincent was shot dead in Basra, Iraq yesterday, four days after the New York Times ran an opinion piece he wrote criticising the rise of Shi’ite Islamic fundamentalism in the city. He and his translator, Nouriya Ita’is, were abducted, bound and shot. Ita’is is in serious condition.
This horrific event occured on the heels of this Sunday’s “Reliable Sources,” which discussed the phenomenon of “Iraq Fatigue” wherein the “drumbeat of more bombs, more deaths, more injuries, more of the same” in Iraq has resulted in a wearying of the news media and their audience, creating a situation where the deaths are reduced to “news by the numbers” but otherwise are no longer so newsworthy.
It also comes less than a week after one of Daniel Pearl’s suspected killers was arrested in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, reporting done by journos in Iraq and overseas is no longer de facto news, according to Michael Ware, Time Magazine’s Baghdad bureau chief this Sunday. Iraq stories are not immune from getting bumped (per Howard Kurtz: the current issue of Time has nothing on Iraq save for a review of the new F/X drama “Over There”).
CNN correspondent Frank Sesno, says the story right now is the daily death toll – but that there’s a hell of a lot more to talk about than just the body count. Fortunately for the rest of us, people like Vincent take on the risk of going over there to find out the story – something to remember, not just when they become the story themselves. If they can fight for the story over there, the least we can do is fight Iraq fatique over here.
Our condolences to Steven Vincent’s family, friends and colleagues, and once again, our hopes to our colleagues overseas who are so at risk. Be safe.
News by the Numbers:
List of Journalists Who Have Died in Iraq [NYT]