NBC Reporter Waves the White Flag: ‘Time to Start Leaving’ Afghanistan

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on October 14, 2009

In 2006, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz found that NBC correspondent Richard Engel had strong…feelings: “I think war should be illegal…I’m basically a pacifist.” That pacifist opinion is still surfacing, Kurtz reported Monday…:

Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, has kicked up a fuss with some decidedly pessimistic comments on the war in Afghanistan.

“I honestly think it’s probably time to start leaving the country. I really don’t see how this is going to end in anything but tears,” Engel said last week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He added: “The idea of going in to nation-build and win hearts and minds, I think, over the long term is kind of a loser.”

That sounds awfully opinionated for a working reporter, but Engel says in an interview that he wasn’t “taking sides. If it came across that I was giving my opinion or advocating one particular policy or another, I was just trying to reflect what I’m seeing on the ground….A lot of Afghans tell me that over the long term there can’t be a military solution to this.”

But if a reporter is a pacifist, does he really need to take an unscientific survey of the locals to declare there are no military solutions? There’s more:

Engel, who recently returned from Kabul and is going back Tuesday, says he’s “not a military commander” and that it is probably necessary to beef up U.S. forces in the short term. But, he says, “the idea of sending in more troops for a population that isn’t asking for protection just seems problematic.”

Jon Banner, executive producer of ABC’s “World News,” takes issue with Engel’s remarks: “The audience has to be convinced that our reporters are objective and unbiased, and I’d be concerned that expressing a personal opinion dilutes that, or worse.”

Read the original post at Newsbusters.org.