White House press secretary Jay Carney, speaking to reporters on Air Force One Friday, praised the work of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, who died in Syria yesterday, apparently from an asthma attack.
“All of us, from the President on down, are greatly saddened by the news that Anthony Shadid had died while reporting in Syria,” Carney said. “Anthony Shadid was one of the best, perhaps the finest, foreign correspondent working today, in my opinion — for what it’s worth. And it’s a tragic loss to journalism, to The New York Times, most importantly to his family. And our thoughts and prayers, the President’s thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.”
Carney, a former reporter for TIME Magazine, said that he didn’t know Shadid, but “was a great admirer of his work. And the most important thing is that he took extraordinary risks in order to give voice to the popular movements within the Arab world, within the region. And it was because of some of the risks he took that leaders around the world were aware of things that were happening and changes that were taking place in the region.”
That Shadid was in Syria “speaks exactly to that, where were it not for Anthony or reporters like him, we would know a lot less about the absolute brutality of the Assad regime and the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. It’s a great, great loss.”