Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Media AWOL from Iraq 
Paul McLeary, a recently embedded reporter in Iraq, writes this analysis in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Five years into the war, news organizations have understandably cut back a bit, given the immense cost of maintaining a Baghdad bureau. From life insurance for reporters to guards, armored cars (which not all bureaus have), and fortified houses outside of the Green Zone, reporting from Iraq is an incredibly expensive proposition.

But embedding with infantry units is free. Flights to Kuwait, where the Army public affairs team picks you up and puts you on a military aircraft to Iraq, and insurance still cost, but once you’re embedded, your expenses end. And that’s why I can’t understand why every major news organization doesn’t have one reporter embedded with a combat unit at all times. They won’t always be able to file stories, but they can contribute a steady stream of material about the fight—and the ground-level diplomacy—being waged by young American captains, lieutenants, and sergeants. The fact that I spent four weeks in Iraq and only ran into one stringer working for an American newspaper is testament to how few reporters are out in the field. Of course, there are reporters in Iraq, and my time bouncing between combat outposts constitutes an official census; but it is significant that in every unit I was with, I was the first reporter they had seen. It was the same story back in 2006, with I embedded with the 2nd Marine Division in Fallujah.

Keep that in mind the next time some MSM cretin tries to reach some conclusion based on their "analysis" of the war as reported by the media.

The resources to embed are there. And even modest sized media outlets can afford to embed a reporter.

But they'd rather spend their precious and scarce resources assigning another reporter to cover Britney Spears. Or fully staffing the Home and Design sections of the paper.

Splash, out


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Not a surprise. As a Vietnam vet, I recall that in Pleiku, at Camp Schmidt, there was a nice press camp. Never saw ANYONE there. Seemed that most of the film, etc., from II Corps area was from ChiNat or Japanese film crews who then provided film to US TV bureaus. But then what would I know. I was only there. (RVN tours 67-68, 70-71).
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