John Podhoretz: Reporters Shouldn’t Chase Dangerous Stories
Of all the commentary I’ve seen on the North Korean hostages, I think that this has to be the most execrable.
That said, and now that they are out of jeopardy, Ling and Lee deserve to be held accountable, at least in the realm of public opinion, for the unthinkably bad judgment they displayed in their preposterous, vainglorious, and astoundingly naive venture. Possessing some fantasy about presenting an inside look at North Korea on an justifiably unwatched (because unwatchable) cable channel called Current TV, they thought they could sneak undetected into a Gulag state, film some footage with a DV camera, and then sneak back out to the hosannas of the Peabody Award committee. This is something they chose to do and were given license to attempt by their employers, and for which they paid a horrific, far too horrific, a price.
That is a pretty damning judgment, especially one that’s provided with no evidence whatsoever. Most people would assume that two young women risking their lives to reveal to the world the truths about what I assume are the horrors of day-to-day life in North Korea is something heroic. Reporters all over the world risk their lives day to day to bring us real news stories (and day to day life in North Korea is definitely news.)
Of course, as far as I can tell, Podhoretz has been doing simple punditry his whole life, not any actual reporting, so these might be alien concepts to him. After all, the news shows up on his TV and newspaper every morning like magic! And it’s his job to interpret that news for the benefit of the unwashed masses. Clearly, that’s the more important gig.
So really, this comment isn’t that much of a surprise. Because his livelihood depends on being a partisan hack, he’s incapable of recognizing that somebody who disagrees with him politically could possibly have done something worthy of admiration. It’s a typical inside-the-beltway response which can only view the issues of the day through a horserace mentality. Anything that the other side does well has to be spun as being bad.
(link via Balloon Juice)