March 22, 2003
Having a Blast

"This is fun!" -- Walter Rodgers, a CNN embed riding with the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division reporting live tonight on CNN.

The administration's embedding policy is a stroke of genius, since apparently it takes the pesky objectivity problem out of journalism. Rodgers' reports from the frontline (and pretty much every other embed I've seen) are basically blowjobs to his new army buddies and his fellow CNN crewmembers. The only "balance" I've seen in the coverage so far was an Iraqi Parliament member who ABC somehow got on the phone with Peter Jennings and in his 2 minutes of airtime, answered Jennings' silly question about "are you happy or scared about the bombing that's going on around you?" with an incredulous laugh, and then proceeded to launch into the parallels with the British occupation pre-WWII, in which the Brits used Iraq as a huge gas station, after which he was abruptly cut off for a commercial break.

Posted by tmonkey at March 22, 2003 01:48 AM

Non-American reporting is a wee better...

Posted by: tmonkey on March 22, 2003 08:53 AM

My favorite media moment happened yesterday during the wave of bomb and missile attacks on baghdad. The ABC reporter in Baghdad, shooting live from his hotel, said "It's absolutely amazing. It appears they've blown up half of Baghdad!"

Brokaw back home cut him off and said, "Take a deep breath. Just breathe. And let's remind our viewers that though it may appear that way from the point of view that [reporter] has from the hotel, we are assured by the military that these are smart bombs with very specific targets, and it is not, in fact, half of Baghdad that's been blown up."

So the role of the on-site reporter, then, is to broadcast what they see right in front of them; the role of the home bureau is to broadcast the truth. Because these are evidently at odds.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on March 22, 2003 12:11 PM
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