Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Commentary: How the media changed
UPI ^ | 4/8/3 | Martin Walker

Posted on 04/08/2003 3:24:11 PM PDT by What Is Ain't

BASRA, Iraq, April 8 (UPI) -- Something fundamental has happened to the British and U.S. media during this war. Those who have spent time on the front lines with the coalition troops, whether embedded with individual units or traveling independently through liberated Iraq, have learned to love the military.

Time after time, they saved our necks. They put our soft-skinned vehicles behind their armor when the shells came in. They told us when to duck and when it was safe to move. They shared their food and water with us, and were embarrassingly grateful when we let them use our satellite phones to call home. We were embarrassed that it was all we could for them.

We saw how hard they tried to avoid civilian casualties, and the risks they took by their self-restraint. We began to understand their quiet pride in their skills, and the plain decency of the men and women who follow the profession of arms.

When we got lost, U.S. Marines went out of their way to put us right, and British officers sketched "safe" areas on a map. They are kind to one another, and considerate to civilians like us.

"Thank God for the British army," said a grinning UPI photographer Chris Corder (an American) as we tucked in behind the comforting bulk of a Warrior armored infantry vehicle of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards one night outside Basra, and were offered a cup of tea.

Above all, they are no longer "the military." They have become individuals that we have got to know, like little Robert, who to his regret is too short to stand guard outside Buckingham Palace, and has to remain behind doing stores duty.

There is Paul from Northern Ireland who is genuinely upset at the poverty of the Iraqi people he sees and fills his pockets with biscuits and candy to give to the children. There is Sarge, who grumbles that this war is all about oil and is far from sure he likes it. There is Chris, a volunteer from Zimbabwe, whose dream is to play his bagpipes for the Queen, and who hesitantly asks if we can find out if Manchester Union won its match.

With the British troops and the U.S. 3rd Division, with the 101st Airborne and the Marines, with the gunners and the medics and the Air Force and aboard ships, there are hundreds of journalists learning the same lessons, getting to know the same kinds of troops, and realizing that we in the media had better rethink the way we do our work.

One of the consequences of the way the British and Americans have dropped conscription and now use professional armies is that the media and the broader population have become disconnected from their troops.

The military have become a private club, and one that has learned to distrust most of the media, who know little of the people who fight in their country's name. The legacy of wars in dubious causes like Vietnam or some of the British colonial wars has widened the gulf of mutual ignorance and mistrust.

This still happens. At one of the daily briefings at Coalition Command headquarters in Qatar (about 300 miles behind the lines), a large and skeptical media corps became restive at what they saw as military stonewalling or weasel words about responsibility for civilian casualties in the Baghdad bombing.

Journalists on the front lines took a very different view of the need for operational security. We did not even complain when we were ordered to turn off our satellite phones because the Iraqi guns seemed to be able to zero on their transmissions, or when we were asked not to report something.

"Screw the nut on it, mate," a British SAS Special Forces trooper told me when I came across him questioning one of his Iraqi agents inside Basra. "No photos, and not a word until Basra falls -- all right?"

Of course it was alright. Forget journalistic objectivity. There were armed men across the road trying to kill me, and my protection depended on these British troops, many of whom I knew by their first names. There was no question which side I was on.

In the same way, those of us in the field knew that those gloomy armchair pundit accounts from London and Washington of setbacks and "pauses" were missing the point.

We learned to understand the painstaking way the British were gathering intelligence in Basra and steadily separating the Saddam loyalists from the bulk of the population -- so the place finally fell like a house of cards.

Air Marshal Brian Burridge, the British commander, suggests that the hundreds of journalists who have learned a new understanding of the military could change the way the media covers war. It is about time.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: ccrm; embeddedreport; embeds; iraqifreedom; military; newnormal; reporting; respect
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-50 last
To: What Is Ain't
Awesome article. Thanks.
41 posted on 04/08/2003 6:17:45 PM PDT by Jaded (Close the BORDERS and the CHECKBOOK!! (schpelin iz opshenul))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: What Is Ain't
This guy has a future as far as I'm concerned. He's absolutely right, the embedded media will come away from all of this with a whole new understanding of our military. Hopefully, that will come in handy at some future date. The liberal media is going down the drain quickly, and there will rise a new media that is objective and doesn't automatically hate America.
42 posted on 04/08/2003 6:19:50 PM PDT by McGavin999
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheLion
mandatory sterilization of liberals? just a thought :)
43 posted on 04/08/2003 8:42:50 PM PDT by thedugal (The leftists will eat crow til they sh!t feathers!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Mulliner; scholar; joanie-f; Mudboy Slim; sultan88; FBD; conservativemusician; Happygal; ...
This guy -- a "jouranlist" no less -- is actually speaking honestly & from the heart.
An excellent piece & a sight for some very sore eyes.

...simply excellent.

44 posted on 04/09/2003 5:54:43 AM PDT by Landru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Landru
"very sore eyes."

You didn't say anything about that...did that dude Blacken yer eyes?!


45 posted on 04/09/2003 6:01:52 AM PDT by Mudboy Slim (Let's Jist Add William Jefferson Clinton to Dubyuh's Axis of Evil and Git It Over With!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Cyber-Band; Ligeia; Coop; hchutch; sauropod; kristinn; tgslTakoma; Pippin; jla
(To be sung to Hank Williams, Jr.'s version of his daddy's song, "KAW-LIGA!!")

McAuliffe is a two-bit minion grovellin' fer RAT's Whores!!
He sold his Soul to Ol' Slick Willie...sold Chi-Coms OUR Guns of War!!
MAC-AULIFFE!! OOOOOOOOOHHH!! Grinnin' there as if Right doesn't know...
FReepers demand gotta go!!

T-Mac always wore his pin-striped suits and pissed good folks off a lot...
That Traitor stole from Union folks and smoked way too much pot!!
MAC-AULIFFE!!! OOOOOOOHHH!!! Too corrupt to ever do what's Right...
Because yer heart is stained from constant lyin'!!

IN-DICT McAuliffe...Equal Justice demands this!!
CON-VICT McAuliffe...'Tis in Prison he shall live!!
Is it any wonder that Slick's face is red...
McAuliffe, yer Party's good as dead!!

McAuliffe is a lowly minion...Sheeple just don't care.
His fate is fixed to the Clinton Traitors but the Voters ain't aware!!
MAC-AULIFFE!!! OOOOOOOOOOHHH!! In yer trial evidence'll grow...
Right'll make sure, then, the Sheeple know.

Then one day that Winnick shyster bought the Indian maid
And took her, oh, so far away, but young McAuliffe stayed
MAC-AULIFFE!! OOOOOOOOOHHH!! Punk stole from Winnick's Global Crossing...
And wishes he was still McLowlife's Scheme.

IN-DICT MAC-AULIFFE!! Equal Justice demands this!!
CON-VICT MAC-AULIFFE!! In a prison cell he shall live!!
Is it any wonder that Left's face is red...
MAC-AULIFFE...RAT Party's good as dead!!!

Mudboy Slim

Me and the Missuz were married nine years ago today [7/31/02] at the St. John's Church on Church Hill in Richmond, VA...the same church wherein Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech. Any role that this thread can play in the Inevitable Indictment of DNC Chairman Terrence "The Punk" McAuliffe is dedicated to my partner-fer-life.

Anybody else out there got Terry McAuliffe's Home Address on their Rolodex?!

Let's Roll...MUD

1 posted on 07/31/2002 2:03 AM EDT by Mudboy Slim
46 posted on 04/09/2003 6:04:46 AM PDT by Mudboy Slim (Let's Jist Add William Jefferson Clinton to Dubyuh's Axis of Evil and Git It Over With!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Mudboy Slim
"You didn't say anything about that...did that dude Blacken yer eyes?!"

Yea, & what about the article?

...shoddy, shameless, shilling. :o)

47 posted on 04/09/2003 6:08:11 AM PDT by Landru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Mudboy Slim
Good article! Thanks for the bump, and a very Happy Anniversary to you and your better half.

I must say I'm not particularly impressed with her taste in men. :-p

48 posted on 04/09/2003 6:44:20 AM PDT by Coop (God bless our troops!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: What Is Ain't
Another Must-Read BTTT.
49 posted on 04/09/2003 4:32:56 PM PDT by Cordova Belle ("I love it when a plan comes together!!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GretchenEE
zot, The Shrew, this is very interesting in light of our discussion on the same subject the other day.

Yes. It does have implications for the future of journalism.

From personal observation, this reporter decided: "There was no question which side I was on."

And from personal observation, I and others have decided: "There is no question which side Peter Jennings is on."
50 posted on 04/17/2003 7:34:43 PM PDT by zot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-50 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson