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Reporters on the Job

December 9, 2002



JOURNALISTS BEHAVING BADLY: On Saturday, the Iraq information ministry offered to give journalists a sneak preview of Iraq's sizable report about weapons of mass destruction before shipping it to the United Nations (page 1). The officials told the dozens of gathered journalists to "organize yourselves" to be admitted into the small room where the nearly 12,000 pages of documents and compact disks were laid out for inspection.

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But competitive juices were already flowing. Instead of lining up in an orderly fashion, the journalists swarmed in the front door of the building. "The group surged forward so much that the glass door smashed," says the Monitor's Scott Peterson, who kept a distance from the scrum. The shattering of the glass produced a collective, embarrassed moan from both journalists and Iraqi officials. "We were all disgusted and embarrassed that members of our profession had behaved so unprofessionally," says Scott.

DEMOLITION MAN: Reporter Ben Lynfield reported the story about Israel blowing up militant homes in both the West Bank and Gaza (page 7). Israel says it was targeting a Palestinian who had destroyed an Israeli tank and killed three soldiers. They didn't find him, so they blew up his house. But Ben had more success.

He arrived on the scene several hours later and started asking questions. Residents told him to talk to "that guy" and pointed. "I had been interviewing him for about 15 minutes before I learned his name - Ayman Shishniya, the same man the Israelis were hunting. I asked him if the demolition of his house would deter him from further attacks on Israelis. 'Absolutely not. We will rebuild the house,' he told me. 'But the look on his face wasn't as persuasive,' says Ben.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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