War reporting: shades of gray

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt examined the case of Times’ reporter Stephen Farrell’s kidnapping in Afghanistan — and his rescue by British soldiers which led to the deaths of interpreter/journalist Sultan Munadi, a British soldier and several Afghan civilians and Taliban. Hoyt refrained from portraying the case in black and white. His conclusion seemed to be, wisely imo, “Even with the best precautions, covering war can exact horrible costs.”

Hoyt left the final word to Farrell, who told him:

“I am distraught that a reporting mission which was intended to find out if avoidable deaths had been caused, led, through a catastrophic series of events, to more deaths … No one can know in advance which calculated risks they take will work out well, and which will go wrong. I will have to live with the consequences of my actions.”

Regan Ray previously posted on J-Source about Farrell’s case and related ethical issues.