Politics

ABC Journalists Wounded – Going Over & Above the Line of Duty?

By  | 

The dangers of “getting the story,” in Iraq should certainly be reevaluated given this latest incident involving ABC newsanchor, Woodruff, and a cameraman.

A co-anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight” and an ABC cameraman suffered serious head wounds Sunday in a roadside bomb attack in Taji, north of Baghdad. They were stabilized at a military hospital and were later flown to Germany for further medical care, the network said in a statement.

Bob Woodruff, 44, who took over the anchor duties for the weeknight broadcast earlier this month, and cameraman Doug Vogt were embedded with the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division but were traveling with an Iraqi unit in an Iraqi vehicle when the explosion occurred, ABC News President David Westin said in a statement. An Iraqi soldier was also wounded in the attack, which took place at 12:25 p.m., the U.S. military reported.

ABC News said on its Web site that both Woodruff and Vogt were partially exposed because they were standing in the vehicle’s hatch. They both suffered head injuries, and Woodruff also suffered wounds to his upper body, the network said. They were flown to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and then to a hospital on a U.S. base in Balad, northwest of the capital, where both underwent lengthy surgeries that stabilized their conditions.

Certainly the immediate focus is upon a speedy recovery for these gentlemen and support for their families.

Risk of bodily injury from field exposure, such as what occurred to Woodruff, (as well as the potential for kidnapping) would appear to highlight the need to review standards by which a journalist operates in a military hot spot.

Should there be consideration for training, similar to what the military requires for field combat duty, that journalists must successfully complete before these type of risky assignments?

Hopefully the focus will be just as much upon ways of increasing the safety of journalists (through protective equipment and training, as well as determining what areas deserve restriction) instead of turning into solely an administration/policy bashing.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    Should there be consideration for training, similar to what the military requires for field combat duty, that journalists must successfully complete before these type of risky assignments?

    No. That restricts the freedom of the press. They do this job at their own peril. Woodruff’s injuries are very tragic, but that’s just part of the job and he knew that going in.

    Hopefully the focus will be just as much upon ways of increasing the safety of journalists (through protective equipment and training, as well as determining what areas deserve restriction) instead of turning into solely an administration/policy bashing.

    I have heard NO “bashing” of the administration, and frankly, that you even bring it up in this context seems particularly odd. How is somebody going to bash Bush for this? Frankly, that’s a very odd ending to this post.

  • Denise Best

    Justin,

    How is somebody going to bash Bush for this? Frankly, that’s a very odd ending to this post.

    Not so odd an ending when you consider the possible argument of …
    “If the U.S. (Bush) hadn’t have gone into Iraq, or at least had pulled out sooner, than this (Woodruff’s injuries), as well as others, would not have happened.”

    You really don’t see this sentiment possibly coming through in subsequent reporting and editorializing?

    I stated in my comments with the post that I hoped the focus would stay upon a broader view of the situation because there’s opportunity to prevent, or at least minimize, the risk associated with this type of assignment. The tendency historically has been to place blame upon policy decisions, rather than look for other aspects of the situation which may be just as, if not more, relevent.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    “If the U.S. (Bush) hadn’t have gone into Iraq, or at least had pulled out sooner, than this (Woodruff’s injuries), as well as others, would not have happened.�

    Yeah, and if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle. I certainly don’t think many reasonable people are going to blame Bush for Woodruff’s injuries. War is war, and some reporters choose to go into the theatre. That’s up to them.

    In any event, I think you’re REALLY reaching here Denise. Sure, some people might blame Bush, but those are the people who will ALWAYS blame Bush, and neither you nor I am interested in those voices, right?

    I’m sorry, but you continually call the media into question about being biased, but then you essentially accuse them before the fact about bashing Bush.

    In short, you can do better.

  • hiraethin

    While I would support an enquiry of some kind to ascertain whether there was any overlooked factor that could have mitigated the injuries suffered by the two journos, in the absence of evidence either way I certainly wouldn’t agree with any knee-jerk response for training, more armour etc.

    Reporting in a war zone is dangerous. Being exposed to danger means occasional injury or death (or kidnapping and possible death for reporters in Iraq). It’s the same danger faced by Coalition forces, or for that matter by civilians, in Iraq every day. I’m sympathetic to the injured journos and their families. But this is just something that happens in places like this.