December 27, 2005
Think about everything youve heard about the conditions in Iraq, the role of U.S. forces, the multi-layered complexities of the war.
Then think again.
Im a journalist. I read the news everyday, from several sources. I have the luxury of reading stuff newspapers dont always have room to print. I read every tidbit I could on Iraq and the war before coming.
Everything I thought I knew was wrong.
Maybe not wrong, but certainly different than the picture in my head.
I liken it to this; It was real struggle for me to choose to see the Harry Potter movies. I had read the books and loved the pictures I had in my mind of the details I read. I didnt need to see a movie; I had a movie playing in my head of exactly how I perceived the stories.
I had similar notions about Iraq, Mosul, the war and what exactly soldiers do. And it was handily shattered like glass today by a group of soldiers, half of them younger than myself.
She goes on to end with one of the most insightful things I've ever heard a reporter say:
Ive listened to the soldiers and Parrish about the missing pieces of the puzzles that dont reach home. My selfish, journalistic drive immediately thinks Perfect. A story that hasnt been told. Let me at it.
But I have a slight hesitation; I need to keep balanced. I cant be a cheerleader, even if I have a soft spot for the hometown troops, especially after the welcome theyve shown me. I still need to be truthful and walk the centerline and report the good or bad.
But then I realize its not a conflict of interest. If I am truly unbiased, then I need to get used to this one simple fact; that the untold story, might in fact, be a positive one. It takes a minute to wrap my mind around it, as a news junkie that became a news writer. The great, career-making, breaking news stories usually dont have happy endings; they usually revolve around disturbing news, deceit and downfall. Nasty political doings. Gruesome crimes and murders. Revealing secrets.
But Ive come upon something that is none of those. Not this aspect of it. There are politics to this war and controversies and investigations. But there is another side.
There are heartwarming and heroic stories coming out of Iraq, and journalists are not "selling out" if they report this good stuff. It was a huge step for this embed to realize that maybe the stories that need to be told are the ones with happy endings.
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