“Rarely, if ever, has a war been covered by reporters in so distant and restricted a way. The New York Times correspondents live in Baghdad behind a massive stockade with four watchtowers, protected by locally hired, rifle-toting security men, complete with NYT T-shirts. America’s NBC television chain are holed up in a hotel with an iron grille over their door, forbidden by their security advisers to visit the swimming pool or the restaurant “let alone the rest of Baghdad” lest they be attacked. Several Western journalists do not leave their rooms while on station in Baghdad.
Today is the second anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. After attending the anti-war rally in Sydney, attended by none other than recently freed Guantanamo Bay detainee, Mamdouh Habib, I was once again reminded of the words of Beirut-based journalist, Robert Fisk. Never one to shirk from speaking truth to power, Fisk had this to say in January regarding the narrow perspective we regularly receive in the West about the true situation in Iraq. He called it “Hotel Journalism”: