The Media Blog over at National Review Online has presented readers with a couple of questions regarding the New York Times and their insurgent-loving photographer.
1. For those attacking the New York Times for employing a photographer who would stand by and document the killing of Americans without intervening in any way: Is there anything gained by having journalists who can get this close to the insurgency?
2. For those attacking critics of the photo: As evidenced by the photographer's own characterization of the insurgents, he is not neutral in this fight; he openly admires their "faith, sacrifice... and martyrdom." Is the NYT right to associate itself with a propagandist for the insurgency?
I've already answered the second question in the negative.
As to the first question, I must confess that I don't think we gain anything by having that photographer there that we can't get by other, far less odious to the conscience means.
What means am I referring to? As has been noted before, Iraq now has hundreds upons hundreds of newspapers -- and not all of them are "our side." What's stopping the Times from spending an dinar or two on an Iraqi rag sympathetic to the insurgents and using that as the basis for their reporting? This has all the advantages of having a terror-sympathizer on your staff -- and you don't have to pay him ridiculous amounts of money.
The television outlets seem to think that they can do their reporting this way. When they want footage of insurgent attacks, they end up working out some deal with Al-Jazeera or another of the Arab broadcasting organizations for terrorist propaganda video -- they don't actually hire someone themselves.
There's certainly an argument that you can make that the broadcast outlets, by buying this footage second-hand, are funding the terrorism too. But I'd argue that even this is preferable to what the Times is doing in the case of Joao Silva.
I'm sorry, but until the Times can explain what they're getting from Silva (other than a "compelling image" of terrorists killing Americans) that they can't get from terrorist propaganda, then we really do know which side the "elite" media is on in this war.