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[] The Military and the Media's Experience During Operation Iraqi Freedom,

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Reporters on the Ground: 
The Military and the Media's Experience During Operation Iraqi Freedom

[John Rendon on embedded reporters: 

... As one proponent of the technique, I think the embeds were able to
provide people with a unique perspective on a "war in progress." I note
that the phrase "war in progress" is of great consequence. The embedded
reporters revealed bits and pieces, or "slices," of the war as it
happened. These slices presented only a tactical view of the war. 

It was relatively easy for some to forget that the slices didn't show us
the big picture. This factor led to some misunderstanding about, and
criticism of, the war plan, primarily during the first week or 10 days
of the war. As we watched coalition forces race across the western Iraqi
desert in the early days of the war, the "success stories" emanating
from the embeds proved to Western viewers that coalition forces were
rapidly meeting their objectives, and suggested that the war would be
ended in days.if not hours. 

Later, however, when the advancing forces slowed their progress, the
impressions supplied by the embeds was that the war was bogged down.
Interestingly enough, this impression came as a result of the embeds
"making air". Those "making air" were disproportionately the embeds that
were "hung-up". Better television, the worse the accuracy. ...]


Topic(s) Matched: Army Issues, Coalitions/Multinational Operations,
Interagency Operations, Joint Issues, National Security Strategy, Policy
Issues, Strategic Leadership and Command, Strategy, Campaign Planning,

Title: Reporters on the Ground: The Military and the Media's Experience
During Operation Iraqi Freedom

Published: October, 2003

Author(s): PROF Michael Pasquarett

US Army War College 

Executive Summary: During the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
the Department of Defense (DoD) developed an embedded media program that
planned for large numbers of embedded reporters throughout military
units. Unlike Vietnam in the 1970s, this program resulted in television
reporting from within Iraq, especially from those reporters embedded
with front lines units, almost instantaneously. The speed that these
reports made it on the air often outpaced the military's communication
channels. Although it gave the American citizens an immediate close up
report of what their armed forces were doing, it handicapped media
analysts and stateside reporters in their ability to put the raw
reporting from the field into a larger context. Conversely those TV
journalists supplying these spectacular reports and engrossing pictures
from the front line were also handicapped in that they were reporting in
a vacuum, unable themselves to obtain any kind of perspective or

Paper: Reporters on the Ground: The Military and the Media's Experience
During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Reporters on the Ground: The Military and the Media's Experience During
Operation Iraqi Freedom

... Some thought that the "soda straw" approach to embedded reports
missed the big picture. Others felt that the challenge of the big
picture needed to be met at higher levels where editors who were seeing
the entire war could compensate for their embeds restricted view of the
war. ...

... Military leaders were very candid in detailing how they used the
media present to help dominant the information battle. A number of media
players accepted this as a reality in modern warfare. There was a great
deal of debate at the operational level concerning whether the media's
presence at the tactical level influenced the behavior and actions of
those front line units. ...

... In the future all media, whether embedded or unilateral, will need
their own transportation and communications systems. Transportation for
reporters should be armored and communications secure. Technology will
drive military battlefield transformation and media coverage will need
to acquire similar capabilities quickly. ...

... War is incredibly complex and has always tested the limits of human
endurance for those under fire and in battle. The embedded media program
placed journalists, soldiers, and marines together in the same
environment. Under such circumstances whether reporters can or cannot be
objective may be irrelevant. What is important is the trust and
confidence built between those embattled soldiers and the embedded media
that accompany and report on them and their actions. This unique kind of
war reporting appears to have won the trust and confidence of the
American public. Such success increases the burden on both the military
and the media to ensure continued integrity of the reporting within a
program that has heightened the expectations of the American public. ...

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