Friday, December 30, 2005

Real journalism

News anchors from every major news network were quick to criticize Farris Hassan, the sixteen year old student who travelled from his home in Fort Lauderdale Florida to Iraq to report on what he saw there.

On CNN, talking head Paula Zahn asked, "How can he abandon traditional journalistic practices such as sitting in our news room reporting manufactured polls in favor of novel methods such as actually going to Iraq and discussing what he sees first hand?"

Bob Schieffer on CBS Evening News claimed that Hassan's trip was a stunt: "They ask us to believe that a sixteen year old was able to go to Iraq and report what is really going on there? I am seven times his age, and even I don't actually go there."

On NBC, Brian Williams asked "Don't the people we poll, sitting on their sofa at home, have a better perspective on what is beneficial for Iraq? If people start seeing the reality for themselves and actually thinking rather than blindly accepting our version of the story, they may not reach the desired conclusions."

Farris Hassan gained a very different perspective from his visit to Iraq than you would get from watching the news. He wrote:

Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed?

If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.

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