A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division patrolling an Afghan village at dawn on May 4, 2012, as U.S. press interest in the war declines. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)
Foreign correspondents have always been revered within journalism. That’s why covering Iraq or other wars are assignments so many reporters cultivate. Many see them as a ticket up the media pecking order.
Being “under fire” promises excitement, danger and — let’s face it, on TV — precious “face time.” Going overseas is often a route to more visibility and better jobs at home on the strength of your “bravery.” War reporting can be the macho oxygen of ambition.
Just as covering a turbulent world is attractive in the ranks, up in the suites of media power “foreign news” is, according to Michael Wolff, a “nostalgist’s beat” said to turn off American audiences and tune them out. That’s why decision-makers shutter bureaus and redefine news of the world as news of American power in the world. (They also realize financial savings by doing so, of course.)