The world as a reporter’s backdrop

The world as a reporter’s backdrop
: A Rocky Mountain News reporter happens into the anti-terrorism demonstration in Baghdad, but rather than reporting the event (asking a few questions, passing on a few facts), he uses it only as the backdrop for his impressions of the city: the basic reporter-shows-off genre of news as defined as what happens to the reporter.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – I expected none of this.

We were shot at not even once. Never in the nearly nine hours we have spent walking and driving through the streets of this city did anyone flash as much as a cap pistol at us.

This is not the Baghdad everyone has told us to fear, the one they for months have shown on television at home. Not a single car exploded. There were no dead bodies that needed to be stepped over….

There is an anti-terror rally scheduled in Furdoise Square this morning. We might want to see that, Atheed offers. We climb into the BMW sedan he has borrowed from a friend….

Just up the street are two Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Overhead, two helicopter gunships circle. “They are watching, to protect us,” Atheed tell us.

Hundreds of men have filled the square for the anti-terror rally, which as the day grows longer, becomes apparent is not much more than an Iowa-style political rally.

Leaders of various religious and secular parties alternately take the stand set up beneath the large pedestal from which mobs toppled the statue of Saddam that long-ago spring afternoon.

The throngs of sign-carrying men leap in the air, their hands over their heads, chanting anti-terror slogans, as the leaders at the microphones denounce the insurgents that attack Americans, pledging to fight terror the same way a group of men in Iowa are doing today.

That’s fine as a letter home to mom. But there was news happening and the newsman didn’t get it. [via reader Eric in Denver]