|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
KURTZ: Thank you.
Bush and Cheney essentially seem to be accusing you and your colleagues of carrying the terrorist message by reporting on so many of these attacks. What do you make of that?
LOGAN: Well, I think that's -- that is a very convenient way of looking at it. It doesn't reflect the value judgment that's implicit in that.
As a journalist, if an American soldier or an Iraqi person dies that day, you have to make a decision about how you weigh the value of reporting that news over the value of something that may be happening, say, a water plant that's being turned on that brings fresh water to 200 Iraqi people. I mean, you get accused of valuing human life in a certain way depending on how you report it.
And also, as -- I mean, what I would point out is that you can't travel around this country anymore without military protection. You can't travel without armed guards. You're not free to go every time there's a school opening or there's some reconstruction project that's being done.
We don't have the ability to go out and cover those. If they want to see a fair picture of what's happening in Iraq, then you have to first start with the security issue.
When journalists are free to move around this country, then they will be free to report on everything that's going on. But as long as you're a prisoner of the terrible security situation here, then that's going to be reflected in your coverage.
And not only that, but their own figures show that their reconstruction project was supposed to create 1.5 million Iraqi jobs. To date, 77,000 Iraqi government jobs have been created. That should give you an indication of how far along they are in terms of reconstruction.
We have to put everything in its context. We can't go to one small unit and say, oh, they did a great job in this village and ignore all the other villages that haven't seen any improvement in their conditions.
KURTZ: There is no question that the dangerous conditions for journalists there are making it much harder to report on some of these signs of progress, as you point out. But I look at just the last couple of weeks of your coverage. Besides covering the Saddam trial, you reported on allegations that U.S. troops had killed a group of civilians. Then you reported an attack on a police station, the bombing of a police convoy, you talked about the threat of a civil war. All legitimate stories. But critics would say, well, no wonder people back home think things are falling apart because we get this steady drumbeat of negativity from the correspondents there.
LOGAN: Well, who says things aren't falling apart in Iraq? I mean, what you didn't see on your screens this week was all the unidentified bodies that have been turning up, all the allegations here of militias that are really controlling the security forces.
What about all the American soldiers that died this week that you didn't see on our screens? I mean, we've reported on reconstruction stories over and over again, but the order to (ph) general for Iraqi reconstruction says that only 49 of well over 100 planned electricity projects happened.
So we can't keep doing the same stories over and over again. When a police station's attacked, that's something new that happened this week. If you had any idea of the number of Iraqis that come to us with stories of abuses of U.S. soldiers and you look at our coverage over the last -- my coverage over the last few weeks, or even over the last three years, there's been maybe two or three stories that have related to that.
So, I mean, we have to do the stories that when we've tested them and tested them and checked all our sources, and that they are legitimate stories on that day, that that is the biggest news coming out of Iraq, then that's what we have to do.
KURTZ: So what you're saying...
LOGAN: I mean, I really resent the fact that people say that we're not reflecting the true picture here. That's totally unfair and it's really unfounded.
You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.
Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.
I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country. Reconstruction funds have been diverted to cover away from reconstruction to -- they've been diverted to security.
Soldiers, their lives are occupied most of the time with security issues. Iraqi civilians' lives are taken up most of the time with security issues.
So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?