If you scan through news stories covering military operations overseas, there is no dobt that mentions of Iraq will far outnumber those of Afghanistan. The home of the Taliban largely took a back seat in terms of our nation's attention span long before our troops entered Baghdad five years ago; despite the fact that it is widely believed to be the hiding spot for the still at-large Osama Bin Ladin, and the launch pad of the September 11 attack.
Pulitzer Prize journalist and author Roy Gutman says Afghanistan was largely ignored by the press up until the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, and he warns that the media needs to be much more pro-active in getting the story right in Afghanistan and other low-profile foreign hotspots.
Gutman is the author of "How We Missed the Story: Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and the Hijacking of Afghanistan." He says there is a practice in American foreign policy to achieve military goals -- "quick fixes" -- instead of looking for long term solutions of stabilization.
According to Gutman, "Even if the US government does not consider a place important, we should actually look at it and render our own judgments as media; we shouldn't be following their flag."
In the case of Afghanistan, Gutman says, "When the war developed internally, and the Taliban tried to take control of the entire country, almost nobody in the American media, and really most of the international media, took any notice of it ... and it was in that internal conflict that Osama Bin Ladin basically got his foothold and in a sense then hijacked the government."
"The Tavis Smiley Show" is a weekly show offering a unique blend of news and newsmakers in expanded conversations, along with feature reports and regular commentators. "The Tavis Smiley Show" is produced by Tavis Smiley productions, and distributed nationwide by PRI. This piece is a part of the "Tavis Smiley Show’s" series "My America 2008" which profiles the challenges and triumphs of everyday Americans and how their lives will be affected by the plans and policies of the Presidential candidates.