NBC News correspondent Richard Engel, and his crew, were released at a checkpoint in Syria this morning after being captured 5 days ago just after crossing the border into Syria from Turkey. This is fantabulous news.
While I’m truly glad that Engel and his entire team made it back safely and unharmed, I have to ask: why the holy fuck would you willingly enter a war-torn country mired in civil war just for the purposes of gathering information to be released via the media? Is any information gathered there worth your life? Is your job that vitally important? You are a frickin’ reporter, not a spy or a soldier. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who voluntarily puts themself into a situation like that.
I mean, there are jobs where it’s worth putting your life on the line. A cop. A firefighter. An EMT. A soldier. A McDonald’s taste-tester. I may have made that last one up. Either way, reporting the news is not one of those occupations.
When did breaking news stories become something worth dying for? We all know Syria is in the midst of civil war. What did Engel and his team need to sneak into the country for? What did they hope to find out? What were they going to tell us that we didn’t already know?
I was watching the news a few years ago after a hurricane had made landfall somewhere in Louisiana. I can’t remember if it was Katrina or some other hurricane, but I distinctly remember Al Roker reporting from the eye of the hurricane.
Al Roker is one of the most prominent meteorologists in the country, folks. Why send him, or anyone for that matter, into the storm? What could he have told us about the storm that he couldn’t tell us from the safety of his New York studios? Why endanger Roker, or the crew that went with him, just to tell us things that could be learned without sending these people into harm’s way?
Media bias and stupidity astound me. You can bet your sweet ass that if I were a reporter and I was ordered into the middle of a civil war, a hurricane, or something else equally as dangerous, this is what my boss would see:
It just ain’t happening. I’m not risking my life for some unworthy cause and Richard Engel, Al Roker, nor any other reporter should have to, either.
What do you think, dear reader? Do you agree or am I up on my soapbox for no good reason?