A journalist’s thoughts on Muntazer al-Saidi, shoe thrower

I’m a journalist. For nearly nine years, I’ve either freelanced as a journalist or have done so full-time. Whenever interviewing someone, I have learned how imperative it is to be professional, polite and to the point.

There have been lots of times where I’ve interviewed someone or written about someone that, personally, I disliked. I remember writing about a minister who used a speech to as a political soap box. There was an artist who had some very outlandish ideas about expression, including not having a problem with allowing children to use profanity. And on and on and on.

So, it really amazes me the lack of outrage over Iraqi “journalist” Muntazer al-Saidi and his throwing of shoes at President Bush. You don’t have to like Bush, but is it asking too much to be a little respectful during a press conference and keep your private views go yourself?

Yes, I’m very aware of the cultural significance of al-Saidi’s shoe throwing. It’s the type of contempt similar to how Americans spit on someone or flash a middle finger to show an insult. But yet if an American reporter did that at a press conference, they’d probably find themselves reduced to selling subscriptions to National Enquirer.

When you’re covering an activity like this as a journalist, you’re there to gather facts, report and let readers decide. Columnists, of course, present facts and write opinions based on that. Either way, al-Saidi’s injecting of his own personal feelings into a press conference like that shows his complete lack of professionalism.

Sometimes I think the same people who cheered him would probably cheer if President Bush were assassinated.

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2 comments on “A journalist’s thoughts on Muntazer al-Saidi, shoe thrower

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