The escape of New York Times reporter David Rohde from his Taliban captors, said Robert Stein in The Moderate Voice, "is a rare happy ending in a time when political murder is a public act, and journalists are both the targets and, unwillingly or not, accomplices in the spectacle." The Times and Rohde's family kept quiet about the kidnapping for seven months while trying to arrange his release—even in the "Age of Transparency," sometimes the public's right to know isn't the top priority.
The kidnapping of a journalist is newsworthy, said Joe Strupp in Editor & Publisher, and newspapers are committed to publishing what they know to keep their readers informed. But "news organizations also have an equal obligation to minimize harm." David Rohde's case was unique—but "in almost all cases, the value of a human life outweighs the value of revealing facts in a kidnapping that you would usually report."
That's true, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, which is why "I sat on the story"—as did many news organizations—for months after learning of David Rohde's kidnapping. But it's "pretty hypocritical" of the Times to clam up when the life of its own reporter is on the line, when the newspaper is so willing "to expose highly classified national-security programs that put Americans at greater risk for attack."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood
- Why isn't 'Arkansas' pronounced like 'Kansas'?
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- This 1,600-year-old Viking war game is still awesome
- 10 things you need to know today: August 21, 2014
Subscribe to the Week