January 07, 2005

Five Embedded Reporters Sent Packing

Five embedded broadcasters have been sent packing from Iraq due to a breech in security, most likely involving showing something the enemy could use against the United States and Coallition forces.

NEW YORK As Iraq moves closer to its first democratic elections later this month, the number of news organizations requesting embedded slots with military units there is on the rise, according to officials. But those new embeds better watch their step. E&P has learned that five journalists have been kicked out of embed slots in the past three months for reporting secure information.

"They were all for operational security reasons, (revealing) something that would have been of use to the enemy," Maj. Kris Meyle, who runs the embed program, told E&P from Baghdad this morning. "Generally, it gets done very quickly. Usually it was something that was not done intentionally by the reporter."

There can be a fine line between reporting what can be considered comprimising coverage versus not newsworty coverage. It is strictly a judgement call and one these five journalists aparently made wrong, though it is extremely doubtful it was on purpose.

With the five covering the Baghdad area, there should have been plenty of action and plenty of stories any one of them could cover that would not comprimise security. What about covering the hopes and dreams of the Iraqis? There has still yet to be a solid news story on how the lives of Iraqis have changed since the topple of Saddam Hussein other than the normal lack of electricity and anti-occupation route. I would be willing to bet even those who haven't had electricity in days and hate American soldiers have new found hopes for their own lives they would love to share.

As I've stated before on this site, one journalistic staple is that interviewees, just like everyone else, love to talk about themselves. A reporter interviewing an Iraqi citizen to find out what new hopes and dreams that he or she has now would in no way be a security concern or breech.

One of the more famous cases of an embedded reporter jeopardizing U.S. soldiers during the war in Iraq was that of Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera who drew a diagram of sorts in the sand with exact troop positions. Rivera was not asked to leave the country or the embedded program therefore what these five did might have been worse.

I would still maintain whatever these five did was better than this reporter, who just "happened" to be at the scene of an execution.

Hat tip: Captain's Quarters

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 02:12 PM | Comments |