Politics

ABC Journalists Wounded – Going Over & Above the Line of Duty?

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The dangers of “getting the story,” in Iraq should certainly be reevaluated given this latest incident involving ABC newsanchor, Woodruff, and a cameraman.

A co-anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight” and an ABC cameraman suffered serious head wounds Sunday in a roadside bomb attack in Taji, north of Baghdad. They were stabilized at a military hospital and were later flown to Germany for further medical care, the network said in a statement.

Bob Woodruff, 44, who took over the anchor duties for the weeknight broadcast earlier this month, and cameraman Doug Vogt were embedded with the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division but were traveling with an Iraqi unit in an Iraqi vehicle when the explosion occurred, ABC News President David Westin said in a statement. An Iraqi soldier was also wounded in the attack, which took place at 12:25 p.m., the U.S. military reported.

ABC News said on its Web site that both Woodruff and Vogt were partially exposed because they were standing in the vehicle’s hatch. They both suffered head injuries, and Woodruff also suffered wounds to his upper body, the network said. They were flown to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and then to a hospital on a U.S. base in Balad, northwest of the capital, where both underwent lengthy surgeries that stabilized their conditions.

Certainly the immediate focus is upon a speedy recovery for these gentlemen and support for their families.

Risk of bodily injury from field exposure, such as what occurred to Woodruff, (as well as the potential for kidnapping) would appear to highlight the need to review standards by which a journalist operates in a military hot spot.

Should there be consideration for training, similar to what the military requires for field combat duty, that journalists must successfully complete before these type of risky assignments?

Hopefully the focus will be just as much upon ways of increasing the safety of journalists (through protective equipment and training, as well as determining what areas deserve restriction) instead of turning into solely an administration/policy bashing.