Media Blog

“A Journalist Who Lets His Patriotism… Get in the Way of his Work”

The quote, in context below, comes from a Christian Science Monitor profile of Bill Roggio:

His bias can be overwhelming at times – his posts can sound a lot like government talking points filtered through war stories. When he’s not filing stories from a war zone, he likes to take issue with the mainstream media’s reporting of events, such as The Washington Post’s recent report on the dangers of Anbar Province. He often sees Al Qaeda as the hand behind most of what’s going on in Iraq, such as the Thanksgiving bombings that killed more than 200.

Those views are not in the mainstream and many people, including Iraq Study Group cochairmen James Baker and Lee Hamilton, do not subscribe to them. But while some might discount Roggio as a journalist who lets his patriotism and ties to the military get in the way of his work, there is value in his reportage. 

That his patriotism would be a reason for some to “discount” Roggio is the reason we need a new definition of journalism in this country. On his blog, Roggio A) accurately reports facts and B) expresses optimism about America’s mission and affinity with the men and women carrying it out. His detractors argue that he lets the latter “get in the way” of his work. A properly skeptical reporter, they would argue, should doubt America’s mission and regard its armed forces with suspicion. And as Glenn Reynolds points out, this is indeed the mainstream media’s approach:

AN ARTICLE IN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR profiles Bill Roggio’s blog-reporting from Iraq, but worries that his readers are getting a one-sided picture if they don’t follow traditional Big Media coverage, too. True enough, though the Big Media coverage is hard to avoid unless you actively try to.
Of course, they might be eschewing Big Media coverage because of things like CNN’s admitted sucking-up to Saddam, Reuters’ various fauxtography scandals, AP’s Jamil Hussein problem, and the like. And aren’t the Big Media consumers getting a one-sided, agenda-driven picture, too? That would seem to be a bigger problem. 

Dante Chinni, who wrote the profile, is probably correct to say that the the right media diet is a mix of left-leaning big media coverage and right-leaning coverage from independent sources like Roggio. But unlike the former, Roggio doesn’t pretend to be an objective, neutral, unbiased source of information, which makes his journalism more trustworthy than most.