October 25, 2007

Mother of all Smackdowns

[UPDATE: At about midnight US Pacific time, the journalist's blog in question stopped serving pages, possibly out of sheer embarrassment.I've changed the links to my saved copy so you can enjoy the comments.]

If you like mainstream media-related schadenfreude as much as I do, you'll love reading the comments on this blog post. An American journalist freshly assigned to Iraq tries to bluster his way through a military checkpoint without ID, then blogs about it in the most embarrassing possible way.

Since Bobby Caina Calvan edited the parts of the post in question after realising his mistake, I've tried to reassemble the original passage fromseveralsources.

The Americans, however, are the absolute worst. I had a testy exchange Tuesday with an American soldier at an entry checkpoint into the Green Zone.....

He asked if I had a driver’s license on me. I told him I didn’t have one. He looked incredulous. Why would I need a driver’s license in Baghdad; I wouldn’t be driving, I told him.

He took offense at my response.....

Then he looked at the second ID of my companion. It was a badge issued by our newspaper. He said it wouldn’t do. Besides, he asked, what is Knight Ridder?.....

I explained that it’s one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States. It owns the Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Kansas City Star.

“I know the Miami Herald, he said. "I used to live there. But I never heard of Knight Ridder.” He began to chuckle, pronouncing the company as Knight Rider. Perhaps his chuckles stemmed from memories of the 1980s television show “Night Rider.” He then seemed to mock us.....

With nothing to lose I decided to get pushy.

I asked him how he could not possibly know that Knight Ridder was one of the country’s largest newspaper chains. I told him that we’re bigger than the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times.

“We’re bigger than the Journal,” I replied. “You never heard of Knight Ridder?”

He didn’t want to be embarrassed. He already looked irritated. He asked me if I knew the number of the military’s media office.

“I would if you’d let me switch on my phone,” I snapped. “What’s the use of these media badges if people like you aren’t going to honor them? Is this for nothing? Why don’t you call? That’s your job, isn’t it?” I made it known that I was jotting down his name.

My security man was struggling with a smirk on his face. He knew my plan. I was going to bully my way back into the Green Zone.

Adding further silliness to this name-dropping attempt, the reporter got the name of his own organisation wrong. It isn't Knight-Ridder any more, that company was bought out as it slid toward bankruptcy (I wonder why?) It's now known as McClatchy Co.

Having read the arrogant little tirade, enjoy the well-deserved ego-shattering response.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at 06:20 AM | Comments (70) | Add Comment
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