There Is No Cat

Hollering into the void since 2002

Sunday, April 6, 2003

Fingers crossed for Paul

Ben Hammersley mentions a remarkable report on BBC television by John Simpson, their World Affairs Editor and the Liberator of Kabul. Simpson was travelling with Kurdish soldiers and American Special Forces in northern Iraq when an American plane dropped a bomb on his convoy. Simpson says he was about 10-12 feet away from the bomb, so it's pretty astonishing that he's still alive. You can hear in the report that he's wounded, although not so badly that he can't report. He shooes away an American medic who approaches him to treat his wounds while he's on air. Ben didn't point to it, but you can read and even listen to the actual report on the BBC's web site.

Meanwhile, NBC is now reporting the death of one of their journalists, David Bloom, noted for his breathless reports from moving armored personnel carriers screaming across the desert. He died of a pulmonary embolism, rather than from anything combat-related, which I suppose means he could have just as easily died suddenly at home from the same thing, which is really spooky given that he's my age.

Between these two reports and the recent death of Michael Kelly in Iraq, the whole journalism situation in Iraq is a little troubling. One of Laura's old friends (in fact, her first boyfriend from when she was in high school, and still a family friend) is in Iraq as part of Ted Koppel's crew, travelling with the same group as David Bloom, the 3rd Infantry Division. Laura's been worried about him, but I figured there's no way ABC is going to let Koppel get in harm's way. But when someone of the magnitude of Simpson gets bombed, who is at least as important to the BBC as Koppel is to ABC, I start to wonder a bit.... Fingers crossed for Paul.

Posted at 9:36 AM

Comments

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one of the newscasts said that david bloom had been experiencing leg pains for a couple of days. i can't help but think that if he were home he would have gone to the doctor and maybe he'd still be around. i imagine that his wife (and three daughters) might be feeling the same way.

i always thought that he was being groomed for the big anchor chair, especially since i found him so easy on the eyes.

Posted by shirley at 11:28 PM, April 6, 2003 [Link]

The pulmonary embolism that killed David Bloom is the kind of thing that can happen from sitting in a cramped airplane seat for too long. Just a couple of years ago, there were articles talking about how, on a long flight in coach, you should get up and walk around a bit to prevent that sort of thing from happening. I have to think that being crammed into that tank salvage vehicle in all sorts of uncomfortable positions (as mentioned in an interview I saw tonight with Bloom's cameraman) had something to do with this, and that if he was at home, he wouldn't have had the problem at all.

As for the big anchor chair, I think maybe he was being groomed more for taking over the Today show. I think NBC decided a long time ago that Brian Williams (from the town I grew up in in New Jersey) is Brokaw's successor. I don't know if Bloom was the greatest journalist in Iraq; I generally find MSNBC's coverage unwatchable, although I appreciated the few reports of his that I did see. But I'm terribly saddened to see such a young man with such a promising future gone so unexpectedly.

Posted by ralph at 12:54 AM, April 7, 2003 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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