Frederic A. Moritz
photo by Joan Diamond
a view of war from the movie "Cold Mountain"
Live on YouTube featuring Elvis Costello
in the Pamlico/Neuse
region of historic North Carolina
New Bern history and slide show
BIO | PUBLICATIONS | HUMAN RIGHTS JOURNALISM | ORAL HISTORY SERVICES
CIVILIAN DEATHS: AFGHAN AND IRAQ WARS | MY LAI, MEDIA, AND IRAQ | "NAZI THING"
TEACHING UNITY COLLEGE | TEACHING UNIV. OF MAINE | TEACHING NCAT | TEACHING ECU
MORITZ KAYAK | NEW BERN BEGINS CIVIL WAR'S END | BLOGGING CIVIL WAR GHOSTS
"TIME TRAVEL:" SCOUTING THE CIVIL WAR BY CELL PHONE
WAL-MART AND THE AMERICAN DREAM | HYPING A MEDIA STORM
REMEMBER 9/11: WHEN FEAR GOES ON THE ATTACK
HOW BURMA'S DARKNESS ESCAPED MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
HOPE AND DESPAIR IN THE HEALTH CARE JUNGLE
When "COLD MOUNTAIN" Meets AFGHANISTAN
War: the biggest gamble
"Jack of diamonds (jack of diamonds)
jack of diamonds (jack of diamonds)
I know you, from old
you've robbed my poor pockets
of my silver and my gold"
The Cuckoo Clarence Ashley on YouTube,
lyrics from the movie Cold Mountain;
The Cuckoo, in an Irish pub on YouTube
of the Irish in the Civil War
YouTube: Tim Eriksen "Hick's Farewell"
YouTube: Tim Eriksen "I Wish the Wars Were All Over"
YouTube: "I Wish My Baby Was Born:" Warm Panorama from "Cold Mountain")
YouTube: "I Wish My Baby Was Born:" Dark Prelude to Movie Massacre
YouTube: "Awake My Soul:" Shape Note Singing in the South
You Tube: "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee, who were driven out of North Carolina
YouTube: "Cold Mountain:" Tim Eriksen, Cassie Franklin: "Am I Born to Die?"
Classic Mountain Murder Ballad: Pretty Polly: Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley
YouTube: "John Hardy," murdering martyr, sung by the Carter Family
Music as Journalism: True North Carolina Story: How "Little Omie" Met Her End
YouTube: "Omie Wise:"Frogs, Fretless Banjo Drive Home Murder Most Foul
YouTube: A Rich Clawhammer Banjo Takes on "Little Omie:" Ballads Spread the "News"
YouTube: North Carolina's Doc Watson's "Little Omie:" Weeping the Grief Gently
YouTube: Screaming the Grief over "Little Omie's" Murder
YouTube: Modern "Little Omie" with "Old Timey" song of Murder Most Foul
YouTube: "Little Omie:" Dancing the Grief Away
YouTube: From Murder to Love; Doc Watson Sings "Shady Grove"
YouTube: From Murder to Love: the Chieftains' Spin on "Shady Grove"
Frederic A. Moritz is an independent writer who has taught and practiced journalism since 1971.
Moritz also has an interest in "oral histories."
His own "oral history," based partly on "interviewing himself," is This Journalist Becomes Part of the Story: Predicting Surprise Attack -- Is it Negligence or an Impossible Task? The essay deals with his reporting of China's 1979 invasion of Vietnam, as well as intelligence analysis and the 9/11 attacks.
Moritz was trained as historian, political scientist, and journalist at Oberlin College, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His experience includes an "interdisciplinary background" in teaching, interviewing, and practicing journalism both in the United States and overseas.
He left a Ph.D. program in political science at age 28 to begin his journalism career by serving snacks and delivering mail as a newsroom "copyboy" at The Christian Science Monitor in 1971. He spent 13 years with The Monitor in Boston, California, and Asia. To view a sample of his articles in The Monitor going back to 1980, click here, choose category "advanced search" and enter "Frederic A. Moritz."
Since 1988 he has been researching the history and methods of American foreign correspondence focusing on how human rights reporting can act as an international "watchdog," sometimes powerfully impacting US public opinion in crises areas such as Bosnia and Iraq.
Moritz maintains a longtime interest is the relationship between journalism and intelligence analysis. His foreign correspondence covered the Asian origins of the "Second Cold War," detailed in his account of how in late 1978 he broke the the story of China's coming invasion of Vietnam.
He used Chinese sources, his knowledge of Chinese history, and in-depth linguistic analysis of China's diplomatic warnings to report the military and diplomatic planning which Beijing set into motion for its February 17, 1979 invasion.
As many as 40,000 Chinese and Vietnamese died in the lightning 29 day Chinese assault across Vietnam's northern frontier. China sought to punish Soviet-backed Vietnam for invading Cambodia and to warn the Soviet Union not to intervene in China's back yard.
The invasion cemented a strengthened strategic alliance between China and the United States aimed at containing the Soviet Union. It opened the way for the "Second Cold War" fought out by "proxy wars" in Indochina, Afghanistan, and Central America. In the end the Soviet "empire" collapsed.
The research studies on the site, American Human Rights Reporting as a Global Watchdog, can be downloaded as "electronic books" in .pdf files. This is not an "advocacy site" but an effort to "bridge" a variety of perspectives by seeking to:
*Develop an overall framework for better understanding the economic, cultural and technological conditions under which American media spotlight overseas abuses in a way which impacts American attitudes, politics, and policies.
*Spotlight the sometimes fine line between distorted sensationalism producing stereotypes and propaganda about overseas events and insightful exposure of overseas brutality in a way which encourages constructive action by governments and peoples in America and elsewhere.
*Explore the inherent selectivity of American human rights journalism, as shaped by technology, politics, culture, and the logic of history.
*Explore the way in which American human rights reporting can act as a "gateway" to produce or justify war.
*Illuminate the circumstances under which American journalists have ignored or papered over massive abuse - such as in the cases of Hitler and Stalin.
*Examine the impact of changing technology of global human rights reporting in media such as television and the Internet. New technologies have cut information barriers, helped human rights advocates gain media attention, and visually dramatized bloody government crackdowns and emaciating famines.
Moritz was associate professor of journalism at Penn State and an adjunct lecturer in Asian Studies at Bucknell University before teaching courses at the University of Maine and Unity College in Maine.
In 2002 he was a visiting lecturer in journalism at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Explore A&T's civil rights history in the Greensboro Sit-In of 1960). He was visiting lecturer in journalism at East Carolina University, Greenville in 2003, 2004, 2005.He returned there in 2008.
As Asia Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor from 1976 to 1981 Moritz covered developments with global implications including the death of Mao Zedong; the transformation of Chinese society under Deng Xiaoping; and the normalization of US - China relations. He traveled to and reported from China, South Korea, the Philippines, Laos, western Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia.
Reporting included the growth of Soviet influence in Vietnam, massive Khmer Rouge repression and human rights abuses in Cambodia, China's growing support for the Khmer Rouge against Vietnam, Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, and the political, cultural and human rights implications of the massive outflow of Indochinese refugees to other parts of Asia and on to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the world.
He also was a California based national correspondent for the Monitor, as well as a Boston-based reporter covering the environment and other issues (1971 to 1976). In California Moritz covered the 1976 trial of kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.
Moritz studied history and government at Oberlin College (BA 1963) and political science at the University of California, Berkeley (MA 1964, CPhil 1968). After completion of course work and preliminary examinations at Berkeley, he advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in political science in 1968 with major field in East Asian politics and minors in American government and international relations.
He taught himself Chinese politics and history while an undergraduate at Oberlin College. He studied Chinese at four universities.
As he later recalled, "I got bored to death with academic life while a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. I finally got the chance to jump ship when I was studying Chinese and teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1968. I dropped out of the Ph.D. program, took another year of Chinese language on Taiwan, then spent a year at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism to earn a MS in journalism in 1971 -- and I haven't regretted it for a minute."
Moritz studied clawhammer banjo with the late Dick Fegy (below) in 1972.
Moritz studied mountain dulcimer for six weeks with Lorraine Lee Hammond in Boston, 1973, then took a 35 year "vacation" to wander the world, before returning to the dulcimer in North Carolina in 2007.
FREDERIC A. MORITZ