In the ideological and military clash of Christian fundamentals with Islamist fundamentals, the western media are simply off-limits to the latter. I am still getting emails every week from viewers demanding why we are not in Falluja, Tikrit, Amara covering this war properly and showing the other side, writes Channel Four News presenter Alex Thomson, who laments the absence of embedded journalists on the other side in Iraq.
Its surprisingly frank for a tv news presenter to let us know he thinks the war in Iraq is between ‘Christian fundamentals’ and ‘Islamist fundamentals’ but despite such a phrase Thomson isn’t a fool. He does after all realise there might be some problems in getting journalists to travel embedded alongside al-Zarqawi’s boys.
Fleet Street’s most battle-scarred must be champing to get in there – but they also want to keep heads on shoulders and avoid the pitiless orange jumpsuit and video execution.
Well yes. Almost makes you wonder if perhaps the war isn’t between two bunches of ‘fundamentals’ and that perhaps one side might be a tad worse than the other doesn’t it? Perhaps there might even be a difference between the side that allows journalists to travel with them and those that behead them?
Still according to Thomson we might yet find out:
Somewhere along the line of reporting the “war on terror”, things will have to change radically if we are to be able to do anything like a proper job. Perhaps the men in the masks might change tack. You do not set up elaborate websites to showcase your latest suicide attack complete with graphics and musical effects if you don’t care about PR.
Bin Laden’s video diaries are careful constructs. So will al-Qaida in Iraq and indeed the wider resistance tumble to that most potent of Pentagon weapons? Will we eventually see the resistance embed?
There are obviously ethical problems in the notion of embedding with the US and UK military but I’d venture that a few more serious ones would arise if you were going to sit around listening to the ‘resistance’ plan their latest suicide bombing:
“Foreign desk here John, you got anything for us today?”
“Yeah, I can give you 500 on the power plant suicide bombing that is scheduled for this afternoon and Mo’ says that there could be a couple of be-headings later this evening, not sure if they will make deadline though. Zarq will probably do a press conference after the last execution”
Thomson says it is most likely Arab journalists who will be the ones to start building a relationship with the terrorists and I’d dare say one or two probably already have. After all, someone delivers those videos to Al-Jazeera pretty promptly.
But western journalists embedded with the terrorists? I suppose it might be worth a try. Maybe we could offer him some names to get started with?