As I expected, our friend John Stuart’s letter to Romenesko has generated a heated debate on the letters page (though not quite as vitriolic as the one over Mark Yost’s column — I imagine that’s because this time the criticism was acknowledged by the AP).
As usual, someone accused Stuart of being too chicken to go cover Iraq himself. Also, somebody took a sarcastic jab at milblogs, equating them with propaganda because the military subjects them to roughly the same restrictions as embedded journalists. His critics largely fail to answer his question, which he restates:
What I did note from the reports is that the AP has now admitted the reason for not reporting positive news from Iraq. First, the concession itself is noteworthy. Second, the reason is very understandable. Portions of Iraq are dangerous and reporters don’t want to get killed. That is an utterly coherent sentiment, but why did it take a month after Yost’s column (and his subsequent flogging) to come out, exactly? Had people been honest from the get go and said what the AP has now come out and admitted, rather than gunning for Yost and wishing he were on an unemployment line in a few days, I for one would have shrugged the matter off. Instead the question, in light of AP’s concessions, should be the one I posed: Was Yost right? Or, in the alternative, was he less wrong than many thought?
Of course he was. Maybe Yost didn’t phrase it in the most constructive manner, but now that many newspaper editors have pointed out the problem and the AP has acknowledged it, we might start to see the changes Yost argued for.