My company's website tried something new today by publishing a blog-esque diary entry from one of our young reporters in Iraq. I think they were hoping to give their readers an inside, personal look at what it's like to be a war correspondent, but the whole thing flopped in a decidedly embarrassing way. In the interest of keeping my own job, I will refrain from linking to the piece or mentioning the writer's name, but I will say that it seems like a really poor idea for a news organization to report on the "humorous" side of war.
The correspondent writes about how she was "delighted" to be "summering in Baghdad" since she "wasn't organized enough to rent a summer house on the beach." The whole thing just seemed so silly and flippant. It's just difficult to get to worked up about the tragic loss of someone's favorite pair of Levis in a lost luggage incident, when you're all too conscious of what really has been lost by the people who actually live in the city that she is so frivilously popping in on.
I don't want to sound petty and maybe I need to just lighten up, but I just can't imagine who would have thought that this was a good idea. It only serves to portray the young woman in question as a flighty airhead when I would assume that she wants very much to be respected as a serious journalist. I understand the importance of satire, but that wasn't what this was and even M.A.S.H. knew enough to make its social commentary on Vietnam by setting its action in the slightly removed locale of Korea. Is it inappropriate to joke about the lighter side of war while it's still going on? If we were talking about John Stewart and Comedy Central, I would say of course it isn't, but in the case of a serious news organization, it just rings a little off key.
Oh, damn the torpedos. I'm curious what other people think about this. Judge for yourself.