The War Over War Coverage

Debate over media coverage of the war in Iraq is all the rage these days, and increasingly reporters are firing back at critics. A fighting attitude was on display on CNN's "Reliable Sources" program yesterday which featured CBS correspondent Lara Logan from Iraq. Here's part of what she had to say to critics who claim reporters don't venture out of their hotels to see firsthand what's happening in Iraq:
I don't know any journalist that wants to just sit in a hotel room in Iraq. Does anybody understand that for us, we used to be able to drive to Ramadi, we used to drive to Falluja, we used to drive to Najaf. We could travel all over this country without having to fly in military helicopters.

That's the only way we can move around here. So, it's when the military can accommodate us, if the military can accommodate us, then we can go out and see.

I have been out with Iraqi security forces over and over again. And you know what? When Bob Woodruff was out with Iraqi security forces and he was injured, the first thing that people were asking was, oh, was he being responsible by placing himself in this position with Iraqi forces? And they started to question his responsibility and integrity as a journalist.

I mean, we just can't win. I think it's an outrage to point the finger at journalists and say that this is our fault. I really do. And I think it shows an abject lack of respect for any journalist that's prepared to come to this country and risk their lives.

UPI's Pamela Hess and Newsweek's Richard Wolffe echoed Logan's sentiments. Host Howard Kurtz adds more voices in his Washington Post column this morning which demonstrates that reporters are increasingly willing to challenge their critics on the war. The transcript and stories are worth a read.