Look, I don’t believe in the journalist as hero, because I think that wherever we go, and whatever degree of resolve that may be required of us, there are always much, much braver people than us. I travel in a suit of armor. I work for The New York Times. That means that I have the renown of the paper, plus the power of the United States government. Let’s be honest. Should anything untoward come to me, I have a flak jacket. I have a wallet full with dollars. I’m here by choice. I have the incentive of being on the front page of The New York Times, and being nominated for major newspaper prizes. | The people who we write about have none of these advantages. They are stuck here with no food and no money. I don’t want to be pious about this, but for a journalist to present himself as a hero in this situation is completely and totally bogus. — John Burns —John Burns: There is Corruption in Our Business (Editor and Publisher)
Burns comments on the emerging story of journalists who withheld important details about human rights violations in pre-war Iraq, in order to curry the favor of Iraqi officials and scoop the competition.
Had the journalists reported all the atrocities that took place, Burns seems to imply, Bush wouldn’t have had to stake his war goals on what appear to be increasinlgy dubious claims of the presence of weapons of mass destruction.