Reporters on the Job
• NO BRICKBATS, PLEASE, I'M BRITISH: Reporter Nicholas Blanford did an interview for a global survey about local attitudes toward Americans living abroad (page 1). Nick is British, but he says that because of Prime Minister Tony Blair's stance on Iraq, "being British can be almost as bad as being an American" in the Middle East. While he has never felt personally threatened, in recent months, he would show up to do an interview and find the tables turned. "They wanted to grill me about Blair's policies, and ask me why he's behaving like Bush's poodle."
• AMERICAN MEDIA BASHING: The Monitor's Ilene Prusher says that tensions in Turkey about stationing US troops there are often manifest in the interviews she does (page 1). As an American, working for a US newspaper, she finds that she's fielding questions about US policy and media coverage. "When I do interviews with Turkish officials and parliamentarians, they want to know what I think about the issues as an American," she says.
After an interview, one official started hollering '[Noam] Chomsky was right!' "He meant the mainstream media don't question the Bush administration's policies," says Ilene. "When I started to object, he said, 'I don't mean you, of course.' "
Ilene also finds that when she asks about whether there will be a second parliamentary vote on allowing more US troops to be based in Turkey, the question itself is a red flag. "They think I'm pushing the US position, when all I'm trying to find out is whether there's any news to report on this issue."
David Clark Scott