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Is the Press Covering Iraq On the Cheap?

Bruce Kesler of Democracy Project thinks so, and has a timely article published by Editor & Publisher. Just days after the MilBlog Conference 2006, the Vietnam veteran offers Is the Press Covering Iraq On the Cheap?

“I hope we keep out of the post-Vietnam thing that the press lost the war,” Joe Galloway, soon to retire military editor for Knight Ridder, recently told me in an interview. But discrepancies in what’s reported, or an imbalance, are daily highlighted by military bloggers in Iraq and conservative commentators here at home.

If truth is journalism’s goal, cheapness within journalism undermines it. Embedded reporter Paul McLeary wrote in Columbia Journalism Review not long ago, “In Iraq, the untold stories pile up, one by one by one,” because “there just aren’t enough of them [journalists] to give the conflict its due.”

Galloway also notes a resistance toward journalists 'unfriendly' to the military and the war, something military officials have routinely denied. In fact, when the question has arisen regarding journalists' lack of embedding outside the 'Thin Green Line' of Baghdad, this reasoning has never been offered.

Rather, most often either increased danger or costs associated with increased numbers of reporters is cited (apparently suggesting that the media companies cannot function with smaller numbers of journalists within Baghdad and would thus have to increase numbers to directly embed).

For what it's worth, at a 5April06 Reuters event in New York City called Iraq: Is the media telling the real story?, I asked the esteemed panel directly about the lack of embedding outside the 'Thin Green Line', suggesting it is far safer to be among armed Marines and soldiers in the field rather than on the streets amidst frequent and unpredictable car bombings in Baghdad.

Panelists from that event who may be reading this, you may remember the question. It was ignored and went unanswered. Feel free to chime in any time.

The event barely touched upon the self-titled theme, though some finally took it on. But for the most part it was a self-congratulatory media event praising their collective performances under the duress of war.

Forgive a Marine for being rather unimpressed.

Now, go finish reading Bruce Kesler's article.