A freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor reporter, Jill Carroll, was kidnapped in Iraq on Saturday in a sophisticated operation that left her interpreter dead. There’s been no public word yet of Carroll’s fate.
Carroll, 28, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst graduate, has been reporting from Iraq for more than two years.
Radio talk show maven Rush Limbaugh said today that Carroll’s capture is further indication that journalism is more dangerous than mining.
He meant it in a scoffing way, going on to poke fun at reporters for supposedly lacking any real-life skills or savvy. Journalists only know how to type, he said, and are so gullible they welcome the enemy with open arms.
Limbaugh, as is so often the case, is full of shit.
Carroll, like her Fourth Estate colleagues in Iraq, is trying to tell a crucially important story under occasionally horrific conditions. She no doubt knows, as we all do, that understanding what is happening in Iraq is vital for our democracy to make the wise decisions that our future depends on. Without her and others like her, we would have nothing to go on but the superficial assurances of the government that things are getting steadily better.
In truth, perhaps they are.
But we know they are not better for Carroll, who is in the hands of ruthless, dangerous men in one of the bleakest places on the planet. Yes, she knew the risks. Yes, she chose to be there. But she is there not as a representative of the American government — which probably shares Limbaugh’s view — but as the eyes and ears of the American people. That is a fundamentally different role and one that should, in a better world, give her the safety of neutrality in the war that is ripping apart that ancient land.
Those around the world who value freedom, especially those who respect the necessity of a free press, should do whatever we can to rally around Carroll, to push for her release and to pray for her safety.
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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.