The Therapy Sessions
Monday, February 07, 2005
In the summer of 2000, I went to Haiti to visit an old Peace Corps friend who was doing volunteer work. In the course of our travels around the country, we went swimming at a very nice hotel about thirty miles form Port-au-Prince.
My friend showed me a beautiful balcony that overlooked Petionville. This place, she told me, was the place where CNN's Christianne Amanpour reported from when she came to Haiti. The funny part was that Amanpour always signed off her reports by saying "reporting from downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti."
Of course, it was not even close to downtown. Almost everyone at the hotel was upper class or foreign, or they were employed serving these people. This was one of the worst vantage points from which to learn anything about what was going in the slums of Port-au-Prince. Who might Amanpour's sources have been? It is very unlikely that she would have been able to get the whole story from this vantage point.
Yet, Amanpour had done this repeatedly. Perhaps she does in other countries as well.
In a similar way, it has been very difficult to find out what is going on in Iraq through the mass media. The media reports how terrible things are, but opinion polls throughout Iraq paint a much brighter picture. Blogs from Iraqis or our soldiers serving in Iraq tend to be far more upbeat than the reporters.
Events like the elections completely took the mainstream media by surprise, even though they were completely predictable. Even by the likes of me!
When I see the reporters today in Iraq, I think about Amanpour on her balcony in Haiti.
Might something similar be going on in Iraq's Green Zone?