Debriefing. The War Correspondent.

Barbara Sparhawk

Carmel Valley, United States

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Debriefing. The War Correspondent.
oil on canvas, c. 22 X 18 inches

A few years back some erudite TV bunch did interviews with female war correspondents.
I’d been in the news business in the ’80’s in New York, and — trust me on this — there was no greater, air-permeating, everywhere you looked longing that surpased being sent off with a camera crew to cover any front line anywhere. More than one reporter showed up in the newsroom in safari jacket kakhi in the hope of being camera ready eye candy before the bursting bombs in night sky, imagining the cheekbone and jaw caught just so in flashing pyrotechnics. Some were even eager for a top-flight reporting experience. Most regretably, few women were ever sent, and then too, there were not enough wars.

I eagerly awaited the unfolding TV program to share, vicariously, the breathless adventures of rare women reporters who’d made it to the battle and come home to tell the tale.
What a disappointment!!
These idiot women, so carefully gathered for their story telling ability and experience, just plain lied.
One after the other, a parade of cranky, prissy idiots professed to have hated every minute, missed their families, never found a comfortable enough bed or hot enough shower, and would never do it again,

Now I worked with some of them. I heard the newsroom raging that it was unfair not to send women. I saw the candoodling seductive appeals to executive bosses for that rich assignment.

Why on earth would they drop into this lying, faked discrediting of the experience that made their blood rush, their minds electric, their skills honed.

I’m afraid they decided as a group that liking the war experience, even when it included defeat of an enemy trying to kill you, just wasn’t nice. All the women were interviewed in their homes with children running around, and some even preparing dinner in the kitchen for the darling family.

America has taken a stand for more than one decade now not to recognize, name, hate, or do battle with its enemies. And the free press, choking on any word of scorn toward any villain, leads the way.

What better proof than Diane Sawyer asking of her newsdesk fellow when he said the Boston Marathon bomber had been captured, “Uhm, what does that mean, captured?” Diane quiried; and he said, “Uh, well Diane, the police have him. In custody.”

It’s not that Sawyer never heard the word. It’s that she was unable to assimilate the concept of ‘enemy’ being ‘captured’ because this was only a confused kid and she knew he wasn’t even being called a suspect or a terrorist.

I painted this portrait (an invented face) in order to see the truth of a woman journalist just back from the front on her way back home to report what she’d witnessed. A reporter who is bright of eye and bushy of tail and showing it the experience on her visage, on her wounded body, and in the notes she clutches to her bosom. Who is not going to lie.

To deny the content, the effect of a stunning, life-altering, enlightening experience because the content is politically incorrect is one horrific indictment on the whole profession of journalists and writers alike. We may never recover from it.

Artwork Comments

  • billyboy
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