You are not a journalist if.....

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By Ben Cohen

While doing a bit of research on MSNBC reporter Dan Abrams, I came across a transcript from his show back in 2002 where Abrams grilled Mike Farrell about questioning the Bush Administration's motive for war. Having changed his mind after the war turned out to be a disaster, Abrams is now a bit of a 'truth crusader' these days, speaking out vociferously against the war, and holding the Bush Administration to account for it's actions.

http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/060608/060608_DanAbrams_colorBox.widec.jpg

The MSNBC website states:

"An accomplished writer, Abrams has had
articles published in, among others: The New York Times, The American
Lawyer, and the Yale Law and Policy Review. He also writes a monthly
legal column for Men’s Health magazine.A
1988 alumnus of Duke University, Abrams graduated cum laude with a B.A.
in political science. He received his law degree from Columbia
University in 1992."

How is it possible that such an accomplished person was so unbelievably wrong about the invasion of Iraq, something that was blindingly obvious to the majority of the world's population? I'm picking on Abrams here, but this is a symptom of something much bigger. Most of the top 'journalists' in America kept quiet while the Bush Administration geared up to commit what the trials at Nuremberg declared to be 'the Supreme Crime' of preemptive war. With such a basic tenet of international law being so blatantly disregarded, how can those who supported the war claim to be serious journalists? It would appear that International law is not something American reporters takes seriously (although they do like to lecture everyone else on it). Anyhow, I've come up with a check list that may help U.S journalists figure out whether they are legitimate professionals or not:

1. If you supported the war in 2003, you are not a journalist.
2.
If you supported the war in Afghanistan, you are not a journalist (many
on the left say they were against the Iraq war, but for the Afghani
war. Both were preemptive strikes against sovereign nations, and both
illegitimate under international law).
3. If you did not believe
both wars were about oil, you are not a journalist (if Iraq and
Afghanistan exported apples, do you think we would be over there?)
4. If you think the war in Iraq was a 'strategic mistake' and not a war crime, you are not a journalist.
5.
If you think Iran poses a threat to the United States and Europe, you
are not a journalist (Iran spends $5 billion a year on its military as
opposed to $3/4 of a trillion by the United States).
6. If you think
Iran is 'interfering' in Iraq and the U.S isn't, you are not a
journalist (the U.S is not interfering of course, just trying to
liberate them)
7. If you think Hugo Chavez is a dictator,  you are not a journalist (he's been democratically elected three times)

Does anyone have any other suggestions? If so, comment below.


A graduate in Politics and International Relations from the
University of Sussex, Ben Cohen is a boxing journalist for
Secondsout.com and Boxing Monthly. He is the founding Editor of The
Daily Banter.