Sunday, May 28, 2006

Solomon Moore And Laura King, Brave Middle East Reporters

It's fitting on Memorial Day that we think not only of the thousands of brave troops who have defended America on foreign battlefields, but of the brave reporters who cover the strife in the Middle East. They too are serving the USA and our great democracy.

The L.A. Times has been fortunate to have outstanding journalists both in Iraq and the Holy Land, where the struggle is related to life and death international issues as well.

In that respect, the work of two Times reporters has been particularly noteworthy in recent weeks.

I remember Solomon Moore, when he was a young reporter in the San Fernando Valley, among the first to delve deeply into the insurance issues that grew out of the Northridge earthquake. Eventually, Moore moved to the downtown staff, and then served a brief stint in East Africa, all the way developing the skills he has employed so importantly in Iraq.

In a place which has been a hell on earth, with assassinations, kidnappings and suicide bombings, Moore somehow remains idealistic and caring. He has an eye for significant things, as any good reporter. His story this past week on corruption in Iraq was superb with its indelible depiction of the teeming traffic of Baghdad, thousands of cars traversing the city's streets, one third of them stolen.

The Times has had many fine reporters in Baghdad, including Patrick McDonnell, Michael Smith, Jim Rainey, John Daniszewski and others who have come right out of the City Room or very frequently from other Times bureaus throughout the world. None of them are forced to go. They all have put themselves in danger voluntarily, and it is truly dangerous. Scores of reporters of various publications and the television networks have been killed or wounded in Iraq. Yet they go. And they are assisted by an ancillary staff that the assistant foreign editor, David Lauter, who was recently in Baghdad, says numbers about 40, guards, translators, drivers, all assisting in bringing us the coverage that is read with such great interest every morning here in Los Angeles.

Also admirable is the work of Laura King in the cauldron of episodic violence which is the mark of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is taking place in a small country. One can leave Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and be in Gaza, the seat of the present Hamas government, within a couple of hours. King is everywhere, where ever there are developments of interest to the public, and the headlines all over the world are of the Middle East, where it is not too much to say, international affairs are often focused.

The thing about King is that she has maintained an objectivity that allows her to be fair to both sides, and as a reader, I have great confidence that what she is telling me is as close to the facts as any reporter could muster. The Times has a long tradition of comprehensive coverage of the conflict. She is the latest and one of the finest upholders of that tradition.

So on this memorial day weekend, I want to pay tribute to Moore, King and the others. They deserve it, for keeping us all informed.

(Just the day after this was written, a CBS soundman, James Brolan, 42, and cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, were killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, and CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier was critically injured. What a grim illustration of the above. The cowardly suicide bombing brought to 71 the number of journalists killed covering the Iraqi war.)


Anonymous Tim McGarry said...

Well said, Ken. Agree wholeheartedly.

5/28/2006 3:59 PM  

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