after the initial “Oh My God–What is this place?–And look what cops have done” reaction; followed by the even bigger “Oh My God–look at all the kids the cops are taking out of there” response, the media then settled into it’s traditional role in this story of being gullible and dumb.
I think I’m the only reporter in the country that didn’t get on to the Ranch in the aftermath of the raid. But hey, if I was that guy, I would not have invited me to their party either. I would have asked questions that would have spoiled the sympathetic love-fest.
As for me, I’ve written and erased about several dozen lines just now, trying and failing to say the things I want to say. I’m sure I’ll keep revising this text. I’ve worked next to Watkiss on several big stories. I think he’s right that tough questions need to be asked, always. There have been many “media campaigns” over the past ten years of the FLDS story, from both sides. The challenge for any journalist is to look at each one, no matter who is pushing it, with a critical view and try to get to the truth of the situation without personal bias. Doing tough reporting while at the same time trying to gain access to sources is a dilemma for journalists everywhere. If you aren’t a skeptical reader/viewer checking in on a variety of media sources…and I guess even if you are…it’s hard to know what’s really going on. Obviously I’m not in Texas right now. I’m watching from home. Do I regret that I’m not there? Of course. I was so involved in covering this story for so long, as much more than a photographer. At least it’s not 106 degrees here at my house. Lots of institutional knowledge sitting here in my office unused, not the least of which is a list of restaurants to avoid in San Angelo. .:. You can follow Lindsay’s twitter feed from the Warren Jeffs trial here: @lwhitehurst