In recent days I have been writing a series I dubbed the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Media World. Having written about the bad – Larry King - and the ugly – Judith Miller and Ben Domenech, that guy who worked, briefly, for The Washington Post, it is time now to focus on the good journalists. On Monday I wrote about Art Buchwald.
Today let’s focus on Jill Carroll.
Carroll, in case you have been living under a rock, is the freelance reporter who was kidnapped in Iraq. She was released Thursday after about three months of captivity. While she worked most recently for the Christian Science Monitor she has also worked for American Journalism Review, U.S. News & World Report, the Italian news agency ANSA, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other U.S. dailies. She had previously worked as a reporter for The Jordan Times in Amman.
Carroll is one of those courageous reporters who put their life at risk to tell the world what is happening in a war zone and just one of nearly 40 journalists who have been kidnapped in Iraq since April 2004.
She is a journalist whose work I have yet to read a negative word about, which speaks volumes in a profession full of sniping and backbiting. And yet already there has been critical and fawning coverage of her actions based on the little information available at this point about her release and her comments since then. There is a good article by CJR Daily on this very topic.
This statement was released Thursday:
“Neither The Christian Science Monitor nor Jill Carroll’s family negotiated Jill’s release today – nor did they pay a ransom. Furthermore, we have no information that would lead us to believe that any other party negotiated Jill’s release or paid a ransom.”
This still will not totally silence those naysayers who want to believe something improper happened or that she is now sympathetic to the kidnappers because she said in an interview that she was treated humanely.
Her abduction should give pause to those always critical of the media. As easy as it is to criticize or support the war from the comfort of your home, be it at a blog or just talking with friends, it is nowhere near as dangerous as actually reporting from the war zone.
Were it not for journalists like Carroll, we might have no idea that there is a reality gap between how President Bush says the war is going and how it is really going. Heck, didn’t he declare the war essentially over more than one year ago?
She was awarded the 2006 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. I, for one, thank her for all her hard work and all she has put up with as part of the journalism profession.