MrB gave the keynote speech with Fernando in his pocket.
The iHog was completely hidden in the depths of the pocket during the speech. The Overseas Press Club was honoring people for doing incredible and risky reporting. Fernando didn’t want to distract from their achievements, so he lay low, but I assure you he was there. To give you an understanding of the work that was being recognized, here is an except from MrB’s speech:
Six years ago I stood before this group and, like Ali Fadeel tonight, lit a candle to honor a fallen journalist, in that case Danny Pearl, who had just been murdered in Pakistan. Since then, 292 more journalists have been killed in the line of duty, an average of about 47 a year. As a reader and viewer, therefore — and even more as the chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which is my moonlighting job — I’m deeply appreciative of what you do, and how challenging it often is to do it…
I think it’s useful, in this regard, to name names. Vladimir Putin in Russia has essentially seized personal control of national television, and has facilitated a political and legal climate in which journalists are murdered with impunity: 14 since he took office in 2000. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has also brought television in his country to heel. The ruling regimes in China and Cuba are neck and neck in terms of which country is jailing the most journalists in the world, with China the dubious leader, 25 to 22. Robert Mugabe’s instinctive reaction to the will of the Zimbabwean people — that he leave office — was to suppress the press reporting the story.
In this country, we are particularly blessed by the First Amendment, and a tradition of support for press freedom that stretches back to Franklin and Jefferson and Madison and beyond.
But I think we also need to acknowledge the fraying of the informal compact among the Executive Branch, the courts and the press that for many years made sure that leak inquiries, when undertaken in earnest, would center on the leakers themselves. In recent years, the Executive Branch — unable to police its own house — has turned on journalists in such cases, with the courts increasingly declining to stand up for free-press values….
If you want to read the whole speech, contact me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com and I will send it to you.
- John Moore of Getty Images, for photographs of the assassination Benazir Bhutto and its aftermath;
- Cedric Gerbehaye from Agency Vu – Newsweek, for “Congo in Limbo,” his photographs of the suffering people of Congo;
- A group from ABC News-Nightline for reporting on the soldiers of Battle Company, 173rd U.S. Airborne, based in Afghanistan;
- A group from PBS for reporting on child brides on three continents;
- A group from the New York Times for “A Toxic Pipeline,” the influential report on how poison from China ended up in pharmaceuticals across the globe;
- A group from Frontline/CBC/WGBH-Boston for “On Our Watch,” a documentary about the massacre of 200,000 Darfur Sudanese.
Basically, everything you know about Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and other horrifying places comes from the likes of the honorees: people who have been stalked, harassed, arrested and — as MrB pointed out — murdered to bring you news from around the world. This is why I hate ignoramuses who whine about how the media doesn’t cover this and the media doesn’t cover that. If the media doesn’t cover it, jackholes, how do you KNOW about it? Did you drop by Congo yourself? Did you get it from bloggers who rarely leave their local coffee shops or make a phone call to confirm a rumor? Did you put your ear up to Santa Angelina‘s Messiah-carrying womb and hear the voice of God telling you about the suffering of innocents? Because whenever I put my ear there, bitches, all I hear is the ocean.
There might be more serious international journalism if page views didn’t go elsewhere, but that says more about the readers than it does about the reporters, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for fun. God wouldn’t have invented fun if She didn’t want us to have it. So if you’re lucky enough to have a life where you don’t have to constantly worry about survival, you should take as much pleasure in it as you can. Enjoy latex leggings, molecular gastronomy, Judd Apatow movies, Yankees-vs-Red Sox curses, lolcats, Amy Winehouse and Blake Incarcerated, the little dance Ellen does at the beginning of her show or whatever else blows your skirt up as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. People who are 100% save-the-world are hard to take. But even worse are people who are 95% trivial and 5% ungrateful whining about how no one ever tells them anything. Those people remind me of Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. “You should have told me not to throw the Asians out, in the first place,”Amin says to his doctor/adviser during a political crisis. “I DID!” says the doctor, to which Amin retorts, “But you did not persuade me, Nicholas. You did not persuade me!” Peeps, you are being told things. Don’t come crying to me if you refuse to be persuaded.
Again, here’s the link to the list of this year’s Overseas Press Club honorees. Feel free to search for their names online to see more of their great work.