Friday, April 23, 2004

Knight Ridder at it again 

The Western naivete continues...

Ben Stocking of the Knight Ridder newspapers goes to Vietnam and find out that - surprise - the Vietnamese people he has interviewed think there are strong parallels between the Vietnam war and the Iraq war, and that the Americans should "get out of Iraq before it's too late."

Memo to Ben: when you go to a totalitarian communist country, whose oppressive government remains anti-American, and you interview people on record, do you seriously expect anyone to say: "Way to go, USA, keep up the good work"?

I don't know whether the Hanoi government provided you with a list of people to interview, or supplied you with an Information Ministry minder to "translate" the interviews - but even if neither was the case, do you think that people whom you interviewed in your article will be honest with you, considering that after almost three decades of living in a police state they know that the government knows their names (you've printed them in your article, for God's sake) and is watching them very closely (or do you think that Vietnamese secret police doesn't monitor media)?

Western journalists kept making the same mistake in communist Eastern Europe, then in Saddam's Iraq, and now the proud tradition of totally misunderstanding the nature of totalitarian societies continues. When will the media learn that there is a difference between interviewing a person on the street of New York or Paris where he or she is perfectly free to exercise their right to free speech, and interviewing a person in Hanoi, who knows that they can end up in prison (at best) if they don't tow the official government line.

Jesus wept...


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