I never fail to find aticles of use and interest in Columbia Journalism Review and “The End of Ambiguity” is a perfect example. This timely and thought-provoking story examines the wartime tightrope that media walk between serving the public’s right to know and providing aid and comfort to an enemy. How do such concepts apply in a so-called war on terror”?
I’ll let CJR writer Douglas McCollam’s piece speak for itself but one anecdote captures the spirit of the piece. He describes hearings held in May before the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence. The the regular business of Congress was interrupted, McCollum writes, by a security scare that turned out to be a false alarm:
“At the end of the hearing (the) committee chairman … announced that … no one would be leaving the room … For the next few hours the crowd mingled easily, debating issues, swapping stories, phoning in dispatches, until around 3 p.m. when an FBI SWAT team poured through the door in black Kevlar vests and black helmets and wielding automatic weapons … the milling herd of reporters, lawyers, and politicians stood there obediently, hands on heads, arms aching, until we were lined up and led out under armed guard in little groups of ten. Somehow, given the times, it seemed a fitting end to the day.”
Scholarly rabble-rousing. A brief review in the July/August 2006 CJR pointed me to “People’s Movements, People’s Press: The Journalism of Social Justice Movements,” a book by Bob Ostertag, “an associate professor of technocultural studies at the University of California at Davis.” A blurb from the book’s publisher says the book is the story of:
“publications of the abolitionist, woman suffrage, gay and lesbian, and environmental movements, as well as the underground GI press during the Vietnam War … lonely voices reaching out to others after being alienated by the mainstream press and the unaccepting world around them; and demands that now seem surprisingly reasonable but were at one time quite revolutionary.”