October 25, 2006

Virtual Reporting: Live from Rear Lines

Michael Fumento, who has embedded as a journalist three times with combat units stationed in Iraq's al Anbar province, launches a scathing attack against the way the mainstream media is covering the war in Iraq:

Would you trust a Hurricane Katrina report datelined "direct from Detroit"? Or coverage of the World Trade Center attack from Chicago? Why then should we believe a Time Magazine investigation of the Haditha killings that was reported not from Haditha but from Baghdad? Or a Los Angeles Times article on a purported Fallujah-like attack on Ramadi reported by four journalists in Baghdad and one in Washington? Yet we do, essentially because we have no choice. A war in a country the size of California is essentially covered from a single city. Plug the name of Iraqi cities other than Baghdad into Google News and you’ll find that time and again the reporters are in Iraq’s capital, nowhere near the scene. Capt. David Gramling, public affairs officer for the unit I’m currently embedded with, puts it nicely: "I think it would be pretty hard to report on Baghdad from out here." Welcome to the not-so-brave new world of Iraq war correspondence.

Vietnam was the first war to give us reporting in virtually real time. Iraq is the first to give us virtual reporting. That doesn’t necessarily make it biased against the war; it does make it biased against the truth.

Put simply, it's hemorrhoid reporting: "if it bleeds it leads," and you only get it from the rear.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 25, 2006 08:34 AM | TrackBack

You mean "If it's American and bleeds, it leads." Remember that Times headline "AL QAEDA ON THE ROPES: 4,000 DEAD AND NOTHING TO SHOW"?

Neither do I.

Posted by: Cover Me, Porkins at October 25, 2006 09:56 AM

Maybe somebody needs to tell it to CENTCOM? I refer to the bureaucracy that refused to approve me for embedding because instead of being "vouched for" by some "news agency," I, with five Vietnam years in my background, was ready to send myself to Iraq and blog the story in--de--pend-ent-ly.

Posted by: gringoman at October 25, 2006 12:41 PM

The citizen/soldier of this republic has a lot more to fear from the journalist than the journalist has to fear from the citizen/soldier.
The great failing of American journalists is that they do not understand this.

Posted by: Daddy at October 25, 2006 01:30 PM