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wagener

wagener

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Leidy WagenerCase study paperJour 48121 September 2010Journalists have been covering wars since before the Mexican War in 1846
1
 when five reporters were embedded with U.S. army units. They used horses,steamboats, and railroads to send in dispatches; a very slow process that lead toseveral editors being arrested by the army who accused them of trying to createtheir own postal service. During the Civil War, reporters from New York newspapers dressed as soldiers to secretly embed in military units during the Battleof Antietam in 1862.
2
Reporters used military telegraphs to send in theirdispatches, which was still a slow process, as they had to wait for a time when themilitary wasnt using their communication equipment.The development of video changed combat journalism; during World War II,which was before television, people would go to the movie theatre to watchnewsreel previews that included updates of the previous week of the war. It wasdifficult, dangerous and discouraged to get reports from the front lines; and it was slow.
3
Vietnam was the first televised war, but information was still not sent in quickly; film was usually sent to Tokyo to be processed. Information from theopening of the First Gulf War was received in the U.S. by telephone. The current Iraq War is the first war to see the full impact of technology on combat journalism.News stories are presented live in real time thanks to satellites; it is the most immediate view of war that civilians back home have ever had.
4
 The Iraq War was the first to officially define the term embedded journalist.An embedded journalist is a news reporter who is attached to a military unit 
1
 
³The U.S.-Mexican War.´
 PBS 
. KERA, 14 Mar 2006. Web. 21 Sep 2010<http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/index_flash.html>.
2
 
³Antietam National Battlefield.´
U.
. National 
 P 
ark 
Se
rvic
e
.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 21 Sep 2010 <http://www.nps.gov/anti>.
 
3
 
³History of War Journalism
 N 
 PR:
All Things Consid 
e
e
d.
Web. 21 Sep 2010. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1211831>.
4
Ibid
 
 
involved in an armed conflict; also called embed
5
or a war reporter who officiallyaccompanies an active military unit and is able to report any information that doesnot endanger national security.
6
But should journalists be given unlimited accessto the front lines, or submit to government restrictions for the sake of our military'ssecurity?
7
While being embedded in military units gives journalists an opportunityto view war from the military perspective, there are many ways in which that experience could distort the view of war portrayed by embedded journalists (orembeds).One question that arises about the perspective of embeds is whether they canbe unbiased toward the military. This question is posed in many ways. Firstly, areembeds just tools to portray war in the way the government wants? Embeds arerequired to sign a contract with the military allowing the government to decidewhether material will be published or not. The U.S. Coalition Forces LandComponent Command in Kuwait used their authority over a photo published by theVirginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginian. Two embedded journalists lost theircredentials because the military deemed the photo inappropriate.
8
 Embeds could also be seen as biased toward the military because they arewiththeir military unit all day, every day. They are risking their lives next to thesoldiers and while closeness can breed understanding, journalists must remainobjective and not write about we or our, but about they.
9
This could cause ajournalist to look at situations more subjectively and thus report them differentlythan a unilateral journalist who had no personal ties with the military.
5
"Embedded journalist." Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon. Dictionary.com, LLC. 21 Sep. 2010.<Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/embedded journalist>.
6
"Embed" MediaDictionary.com. WebFinance, Inc. September 21, 2010<http://www.mediadictionary.com/definition/embed.html>.
 
7
Zentz, David. "History of Combat Journalism."
Combat Journalism
:
An Onlin
e
Guid 
e
. Interactive MediaLab: University of Florida, 17 Apr 2003. Web. 21 Sep 2010.<http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring03/Zentz/history%20page.htm>.
8
"Embedded Journalism."
 Acad 
e
mic Dictionari
e
 s and Encyclop
e
dias
. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sep 2010.<http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/940078>.
9
"NewsHour Extra: Pros and Cons of Embedded Journalism."
 N 
ew
 sHour 
w
ith Jim L
e
hr 
e
. PBS, 27 Mar 2003. Web. 21 Sep 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june03/embed_3-27.html>.
 
The development of live news from the front lines has also created issueswith the accuracy of embeds reports. "Back in the Middle Ages when I coveredwars you had reflection time -- you weren't winging it. Now, suddenly you're on,and you have to say something. You can only describe what you can see in the very,very narrow field of vision that you have. They have a hell of a lot more peoplecovering these live wars than we had. But we had time to check things out," saidMorley Safer of CBS's '60 Minutes,' who covered the Israeli-Egyptian conflict in Suezin 1956 and the Vietnam War in the 1960's.
10
In 2003, embeds from severaldifferent publications reported seeing a mass troop movement leaving Basra, asouthern city in Iraq, only to be contradicted by the British Military the next daywhen a spokesperson said that the 120 reported tanks actually only numbered 14.
11
 Does the necessity to have live, breaking news diminish reporters ability to fact check? Embedded journalism is also creating a new kind of relationship withinterview sources and hardships for unilateral journalists. Many soldiers, mainlythose of U.S. and Israeli militaries, will now only talk to embedded journalists.
12
 This could be creating a one-sided view of war from solely the U.S. perspective.Associate Editor for The Washington Post, David Ignatius who was embedded inIraq and Afghanistan said, When you see my byline from Kandahar or Kabul orBasra, you should not think that I am out among ordinary people, asking questionsof all sides. I am usually inside an American military bubble. That vantage point hasvalue, but it is hardly a full picture.
13
The problem that Ignatius sees arising fromthis phenomenon is that many consumers of news seem to trust the new
10
Salamon, Julie. "A Nation at War: The News Media; New Tools for Reporters Make War Images InstantBut Coverage No Simpler."
Th
e
ew
York Tim
e
 s
(2003): n. pag. Web. 21 Sep 2010.<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/06/us/nation-war-media-new-tools-for-reporters-make-war-images-instant-but-coverage-no.html?pagewanted=1>.
11
 
"NewsHour Extra: Pros and Cons of Embedded Journalism."
 N 
ew
 sHour 
w
ith Jim L
e
hr 
e
. PBS, 27 Mar 2003. Web. 21 Sep 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june03/embed_3-27.html>.
12
 
G
ordon-Lennox,
G
eorge. "Panel on protection of journalists in armed conflict."
 Re
 port 
e
rs Without 
 B
ord 
e
rs
. Reporters Sans Frontières, 4 Jun 2010. Web. 21 Sep 2010. <http://en.rsf.org/panel-on-protection-of-journalists-04-06-2010,37670.html>.
13
 
Ignatius, David. "The Dangers of Embedded Journalism, in War and Politics."
Th
e
Washington
 P 
ost 
02May 2010: n. pag. Web. 21 Sep 2010.
 
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/30/AR2010043001100.html>.
 

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