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March 27, 2003

In-bedded Journalists

Posted by Mike on March 27, 2003 11:43 AM

Editor and Publisher is also disturbed at what's not getting reported and why.

You'd think a former troop would realize that the best place to make sure a reporter can't figure out what's going on is in the thick of the action, but it took me until today to work that one out. But there really is no worse place for anything like truth or accuracy than in a line unit . . . those are the people who don't have time to think about the big picture, and are consequently freed from worrying about it at every opportunity by the people in the rear. Rumors breed among line soldiers like fruit flies, so sticking a reporter in among them then subjecting them to combat is almost, but not quite, as good as just locking the correspondent in a sensory deprivation chamber and delivering press releases in the form of Metallica songs. It gives the appearance of "unprecedented openness," when it's really a way to focus the attention on the immediate and "real-time." If Gulf War I was the "Missile Command" war, this one is the "Quake" war, either way, we're all sitting at home gawking at the spectacle while the military leadership picks when and where to impart strategic information.