Earlier I linked to a letter from Farnaz Fassihi, a WSJ reporter in Iraq, which documented the near-impossible conditions for journalists there. This was a private letter which was the posted on the Internet, and now the WSJ has decided to put Fassihi on forced vacation until after the election.
Paul Steiger, the Journal’s managing editor, was unavailable by phone Thursday, but his spokesman, Robert Christie, accepted a question on his behalf and agreed to put it to the editor: Had Fassihi’s e-mail been the subject of discussion among her editors and had they decided that its dissemination should prevent her from writing about Iraq until after Nov. 2?
Christie forwarded Steiger’s response by e-mail: “Ms. Fassihi is coming out of Iraq shortly on a long planned vacation. That vacation was planned to, and will, extend past the election.”
Is this much different from the employer who discovers his employee’s blog and then fires them? Or an employer who fires their employee for having the wrong bumper sticker? Or blacklisting communists?
I went to a panel sponsored by the journalism school here on whether or not the media got it right in the lead-up to the war. It was kind of sad watching 6 journalists from different organizations beat themselves up over how they were duped. But if you look at the actual news that has been coming out of those sources, it’s still the same old he-said she-said crap with very little analysis. On the one hand, you have the hyper-sensitive WSJ, which seems to enforce an objectivity gag rule, and on the other you have Bill O’Reilly, whose notion of no-spin is laughable.