The Media and the War on Terrorism Review

The Media and the War on Terrorism
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The Media and the War on Terrorism ReviewThis is a superb collection of essays, first-person observations, and recollections of so-called embedded reporters and photographic journalists, edited jointly by Marvin Kalb, a former CBS reporter turned Harvard resident scholar, and Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the prestigious Brookings Institution. Written in the first person, each of the collected essays takes the reader up-close and personal and shows how difficult it is to know the degree to which such observations are typical or representative of what is going on the overall conflict in which they are embedded. And therein lies the rub, for to some extent it is apparent that even embedded reporter can be manipulated and co-opted by the military, and in several cases that is apparently the case for the individual reporters recounting their war tales.
The pieces are both candid and raw; in the sense they somehow manage to catch the very essence of the intricate dance between accurate reporting and the tension with the host army to whom they owe their sustenance and their safety. This tension between the ostensibly objective reporters, on the one hand, and the very partisan military representatives overseeing them, on the other, is what drives the considerable insight the correspondents manage to extricate from the madness of the ongoing battle they cover. This is especially true for electronic media journalists, whose products are almost immediately available to the general public, and who still find themselves both physically and existentially with the troops.
The latest tendency to meaningfully embed reporters with elements of the shock troops racing across Iraq, seen in context, is just another of many such attempts by the military to deftly manage the reporting from the front, and indeed, to prejudice the reporters by forcing them to live alongside the often valiant and sometimes suffering soldiers, whose personalities and sacrifices do indeed win the reporters over to see the war through their eyes. The experience in Iraq, upon reflection, will likely show that reporters and journalists were kept "on the reservation" by sequestering them into small groups seeing only limited actions, and seldom allowing them to see aspects of the conflict not consistent with military goals and objectives. Once again, the omnipresent tension between the needs for security on the one hand, and the rights of the citizens of a free society to know what is being done in their names, on the other, is all too apparent here. Enjoy!The Media and the War on Terrorism Overview

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