: Posting likely to be on-and-off. Could be on. Could be off.
Posts from April 25, 2004
For the record
: NY Times Public Editor Dan Okrent celebrates that the New York Times is no longer the paper of record. Right. Google is.
Where to get first-hand news
: Reporters in Iraq can’t give us first-hand news… but bloggers can.
The head of CNN laments that the violence in Iraq means that reporters are not getting out to find out what is going on firsthand and that means we’re not getting good reporting from Iraq:
I think news consumers are being shortchanged to a degree, not just on television but in print, because journalists are not able to do their jobs effectively, and certainly the depth and breadth of reporting that you saw even a month ago was far more vast than what news consumers get today.
This makes Cori Dauber sputter:
We’re being shortchanged to a degree? Well I suppose that we are. And I applaud him for making that clear and explaining the limitations on reporting clearly and explicitly so that we can evaluate what we’re getting from Iraq knowing that.
All the more reason for us — and for news organizations! — to watch what the Iraqi bloggers are saying and to hope that more start publishing. It’s not their job to cover all the news. But they give us the news they know from their perspectives. On many days, Zeyad’s blogroll has news from the front.
See, for example, this report from Alaa.
: River also criticizes media coverage — Western media coverage — of Iraq.
Kerry’s quagmire: Nothing for something
: G. Pascal Zachary says in the SF Chron that Iraq could be Kerry’s quagmire instead of Bush’s:
The conventional wisdom would have you think Iraq is turning into George Bush’s quagmire, his Vietnam.
Well, as the war gets worse, Bush’s popularity remains steady and even nudges up a bit, and at least his bedrock supporters seem prepared to stick with him no matter what happens in Iraq….
The perils for Kerry were revealed last week when Ralph Nader, who may have cost Al Gore the 2000 presidential election, described Kerry as “stuck in the Iraq quagmire the way Bush is.” …
Nader now has a rationale for his campaign. While the antiwar wing is small, it is large enough, if it goes for Nader, to tip the vote Bush’s way in a few swing states. …
To avoid this, Kerry needs to quickly assemble a thoughtful, practical and compelling plan that reframes the debate over Iraq’s future.
I keep quoting Micah Sifry on this: You can’t beat something with nothing.
In the cause of freedom
: A blogger named Kerry Dupont has done something wonderful in the cause of freedom: She just sent laptops, scanners, cameras and more equipment of citizens’ media to Iraqi bloggers, including Zeyad and Omar and Ays.
Kerry attempted to get computers donated but when the company found out that there wasn’t a tax-deductible charity involved, they backed out. She went ahead and got the equipment and paid a whopping, and I do mean whopping, shipping bill and went through a great deal of work to pull this off.
And she has only just begun. Kerry is setting up a charity so she can do more of this. She looked at the Iraqi bloggers and all they were doing and at the soldiers (including family members) and all they were doing and she asked what many of us are asking:
What had I done? Yes, I was using my voice, but could I do more? So I started working on this idea. From this idea a larger one flowed. Free media. For Iraq first. For Iran, for China, for Cuba and North Korea. But I would start in Iraq, because of the voices of who I had come to regard as my Iraqi friends. Zeyad was having a difficult day one day and I told him what I truly felt, I said, Zeyad, my eyes are on yours, and they are full of tears, but I will not turn away. I was committed to doing something, however small, to help spread the voices of the Iraqis.
We started corresponding, and that is when I truly found what a gift the internet is. Zeyad and I exchanged e mails about my son’s gerbils, and his ducks, about food, family, and life. Omar and his brothers, Ali, and Mohammed, I also became fast friends with. I am still overwhelmed by their desire and love of freedom that has come so strong in a land of uncertainty.
That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? People linking to each other, talking, understanding, helping, sharing. People changing their worlds, our world.
Your contribution can be tiny. It can be huge. But every one of you can help change the world now.
: In her shipment, I sent along a package to Zeyad with copies of the Weekly Standard in which his photos and report appeared. He said his parents would be proud.
: Also forgot to point you all to a USA Today story on the Iraqi bloggers.
: And for me, this whole saga of Zeyad and the Iraqi bloggers links to the story of Hoder and the Iranian bloggers. Hoder just noted the year anniversary of the arrest of Iranian blogger Sina Motallebi (who was later released from prison and allowed to leave Iran under strong pressure from bloggers and thus media). This was the moment and story that brought me into the world of Iranian blogs, seeing that as a model for what could and should happen in Iraqi with weblogs, which led to Zeyad starting his blog, which led to more bloggers coming online, which led to Kerry being inspired to help them spread their word. It’s a small world, this blogosphere. A wonderfully small world.