Those Brave Western Correspondents

Reading the article Thai protesters defy orders to leave their Bangkok camp I noticed something that I have often noticed before in war/conflict stories.

Before I tell you what that is, what caught my eye is a brief blurb on the situation in Bangkok at the center of the conflict.

It reads:

“Rachel Harvey, BBC News, Bangkok

I am standing in the centre of the protesters’ camp, in front of the stage.
The deadline has just passed.  But there are still people up on stage giving speeches and there are still people sitting and standing in front of them, cheering and clapping.
There aren’t as many people here as there once were and I would say that the majority of people sitting on the ground in front of the stage are women.
Every now and again people look up in the air.  They can hear an aircraft going overhead.
They know they’ve been told that they had the chance to leave, but those that are here are defiantly staying put.”

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Before I give you my take on this, I would also like to show you this video and explain why I think like I do.  When the war broke out in Iraq the star correspondent for CNN was Christiane Amanpour.  The commercials for her stories were very dramatic and showed her running through the trenches as though she was ducking gunfire.  I cannot find that exact video but I have found this one which appropriately gives the same sort of feeling.

The reason it bothers me is that it is packaged as entertainment for the West. I understand that it is very important to get the story and inform the world about the atrocities happening and in that regard I am willing to give full and proper credit.  But for some reason, all the dramatics rubbed me the wrong way as though they were using war for entertainment and to make a profit.

I have never met Ms. Amanpour and she may even be a wonderful lady.  It is also apparent that she is a very good reporter.  However, I just cannot get past this “entertainment” aspect which really turns me off.

With regard to Rachel Harvey and her report, perhaps the CNN dramatics have permanently tainted my views on these types of correspondents.  In her opening line I get the sense that she is positioning herself as very brave to be in the midst of the conflict.  I also am sure that if the situation should deteriorate she will be the first one to ask for police help saying “she is a Western correspondent and should not be touched” while the people around her are beaten down.

Perhaps she is simply trying to express the tense atmosphere of the situation to give her readers a better understanding.  Yet, for me it is like Ms. Amanpour “courageously” ducking gunfire for her commercials.

Yet, most of the time I find the BBC does a much better job than their US competition in accurately reporting the story without all the bravado.

Author: Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/

2 thoughts on “Those Brave Western Correspondents”

  1. I often find it hard to watch CNN for longer periods of time. First of all because the amount of commercials and teasers and ‘coming up next’-segments is just ridiculous. I just want some bloody news.
    Secondly because of the drama that goes into every little segment no matter how inane. I’m guessing that the European version is even tuned somewhat down compared to the US version but it still makes me hit that button – away from CNN.

    Here is Jim Clancy just fighting the urge to throw gang signs over the excitement of driving a van through Ukraine: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/04/19/clancy.how.we.got.here.cnn

    And what’s up with Wolf Blitzer in the “situation room” and the fake 3D beaming in of some expert or other during the elections….

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