Sep 1 2003

The ‘Sheer Genius’ of Embedded Reporting

Pentagon press policy follows a PR script

In the wars of the 1980s and ’90s, military planners placed consider­able emphasis on controlling the information that reached the American public. Journalists were excluded from the wars in Grenada and Panama until the fighting was already concluded. This in turn led to com­plaints from journalists, and in the 1990 war in Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Storm, the Pentagon adopted a “pool system” through which a hand­picked group of reporters was allowed to travel with soldiers under tightly con­trolled conditions. Between August 1990 and January 1991 only the “com­bat pools”—about 23 groups of reporters —were allowed access to military units […]

May 1 2003

When Journalists Attack

The Boston Herald's loose cannon

Boston Herald correspondent Jules Crittenden, who covered the Iraq War as an embedded journalist, is a writer whose blunt prose deals in absolutes: good vs. evil, life and death. But there’s one dichotomy that Crittenden doesn’t draw so clearly: reporter vs. participant. Frequently drawing comparisons between “embeds” such as himself and the troops with whom they travel, Crittenden seemed to have crossed the line and effectively became a combatant in the war he was assigned to cover. In a column Crittenden wrote for the Poynter Institute (Poynter Online, 4/11/03), he admitted that while the unit he was following was on […]