"What must all of the reporters in Pakistan be thinking?"

"What must all of the reporters in Pakistan be thinking?"

"What must all of the reporters in Pakistan be thinking?"
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 22 2002 11:43 AM

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Dear Dwight,

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What must all of the reporters in Pakistan be thinking now as they sit in hotel bars waiting for the next phone call from a contact? They are not as obviously and physically courageous as firemen, they wear glasses and read biographies instead of kicking around a football in their spare time, but they have ended up in a situation requiring that same kind of courage. I see that picture of Danny Pearl on the cover of the Times holding up a copy of a newspaper called Dawn, and it feels symbolic of something. The failure of words. The limits of understanding and recording and analyzing. Here is someone who went out into a crazy situation to try to make sense of it, and instead of 2,000 words of newsprint, what came out of it was a videotape of him having his neck slit open. And one can't help thinking at this particular moment in time: the sword is mightier than the pen.

Katie

Dwight Garner is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Katie Roiphe is the author of Still She Haunts Me.