March 26, 2003

Give that man a star…

It seems Jack Shafer agrees with me about the concept of embedding. He says:

The coverage, so far, has depicted U.S. soldiers as brave, enthusiastic, and conscientious warriors who, as they bomb and shoot their way to Baghdad, uphold the highest professional standards of the art of war. These dispatches are believable, even though the video cameras and reporters’ notebooks glean only slivers from the front line.

But, he warns:

The true test of the embed program will come when–and if–those video notes reveal something the Pentagon would rather you not see: an advancing Marine unit greased by an artillery shell; a bloody friendly-fire incident; or, knock on wood, a Geneva Convention violation by U.S. troops. All these examples are possible, and some are likely. The propaganda tide could shift and cause the Pentagon to rue the day they heard the word “embed.”

UPDATE (12:00 p.m.): It’s not all fun and games for “unilateral” journalists, as this article in Editor & Publisher demonstrates. “Embedded” journalists, however, appear to be having “great fun.”

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