Why Are Journalists Targets?

Following the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Robert Fisk ponders "the slow, painful, dangerous erosion of respect" for journalists who cover international conflicts. "We used to risk our lives in wars -- we still do -- but journalists were rarely deliberate targets," he writes. One reason for the change, he says, is that journalists themselves have lost their status as impartial witnesses to war. "What on earth was CNN's Walter Rodgers doing in US Marine costume at the American camp outside Kandahar? Mercifully, someone told him to take it off after his first broadcast. Then Geraldo Rivera of Fox News arrived in Jalalabad with a gun. He fully intended, he said, to kill Osama bin Laden. It was the last straw. The reporter had now become combatant." Fisk warns that journalists who become partisans are "helping to erode the shield of neutrality and decency which saved our lives in the past."