Kurt Pitzer on The Chief Responsibility of Journalists

Kurt Pitzer is a former commercial longline fisherman and relief worker who has reported from many of the world's turbulent regions, including the Balkans, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He was embedded with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq, then jumped his embed as Baghdad fell. He met Dr. Mahdi Obeidi soon afterward and helped him go public with Saddam Hussein's remaining nuclear secrets. He and Obeidi cowrote The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind, which was published in paperback in September 2005.

  • Transcript


Pitzer:    I think journalists, if there’s one thing that we should be doing, is to surprise people a little bit.  I think so often we have ideas about the world that are seem fully formed, and too often the media, such as this just reinforces those things partly out of habit and partly out of laziness, I think.  I think the role of the person, the farthest filler out there which is the journalist in the field is to challenge assumptions and [there] to provoke questions about those assumptions that Iraqis are like this or Afghanis are like or we’re engaged in such and such a conflict for this or that reason, and to try to break through some of that.