James Foley – His Secret Life and the CIA ~ Embedded Broadcast Journalists
Embedded Journalists: An Advantage For The Military
During the short invasion of Iraq in 2003, journalists were “embedded” with various Coalition forces. This was an idea born from the public relations industry, and provided media outlets a detailed and fascinating view for their audiences.
For the military, however, it provided a means to control what large audiences would see, to some extent. Independent journalists would be looked upon more suspiciously. In a way, embedded journalists were unwittingly (sometimes knowingly) making a decision to be biased in their reporting, in favor of the Coalition troops. If an embedded journalist was to report unfavorably on coalition forces they were accompanying they would not get any cooperation.
So, in a sense allowing journalists to get closer meant the military had more chance to try and manage the message.
- Embedded journalists allowed the military to maximize imagery while providing minimal insight into the real issues;
- Central Command (where all those military press briefings were held) was the main center from which to:
- Filter, manage and drip-feed journalists with what they wanted to provide;
- Gloss over set-backs, while dwelling on successes;
- Limit the facts and context;
- Even feed lies to journalists;
- Use spin in various ways, such as making it seems as though reports are coming from troops on the ground, which Central Command can then confirm, so as to appear real;
- Carefully plan the range of topics that could be discussed with reporters, and what to avoid.
In summary then, the documentary concluded and implied that the media had successfully been designated a mostly controllable role by the military, which would no doubt improve in the future.
Embedded Broadcast Journalists
Reporting Operation Iraqi Freedom from the Frontline
The notion of embedding reporters with military units is as old as the United States Civil War and was the way most wars were covered through Vietnam. In the spring of 2003, the face of combat reporting changed when the U.S. military implemented a systematic program to identify, and proactively facilitate the embedding of hundreds of reporters with combat units participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unprecedented, broad scope of this initiative included all the armed services, including close combat units fighting Iraqi troops across the desert and through city streets (P. Mitchell, personal communication, November 18, 2003).
Modern-day embedding has its genesis in the aftermath of the invasion of Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury in October 1983 and the invasion of Panama during Operation Just Cause in 1989. News media were completely left out of the planning and execution of these campaigns, and the backlash of their exclusion ripped through the Pentagon. It was the beginning of the end for the military operating in an information vacuum (P. Mitchell, personal communication, November 18, 2003). There was limited embedding during Operation Desert Storm January, 1991 and reporters have banged on the Pentagon’s door ever since (Tomayo, 2003). According to a spokesperson for the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense Public Affair (OASD (PA)) and United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), the most immediate action was taken by Army and Marine Corps units who began to doctrinally embed media on a smaller scale and most often during exercises. Embedding began to appear as part of units’ Standard Operating Procedures (P. Mitchell, personal communication, November 18, 2003).
James Foley was in Sirte with the rebels in Libya as they moved in and captured Qaddafi. This “lone reporter” knows how to get around doesn’t he.
According to NATO figures, coalition aircraft delivered 415 key strikes on the town of Sirte between Sunday 28th August and Thursday 20th October. We have compared this to the bombing of Guernica and other comparisons have been made to the widely condemned levelling of Grozny.
In addition, the rebels, described in NATO circles as a ‘proxy army” were allowed by NATO to indiscriminately shell the town with tank fire, heavy mortar fire and artillery. Here is some footage from the ‘Information Office of the Misrata Mujahid Battalion’ to illustrate the point:
SYRPER EXPOSES FOLEY MURDER AS SPAGHETTI WESTERN
Read more at http://www.syrianperspective.com/2014/08/syrper-exposes-foley-murder-as-spaghetti-western.html#XblM7i2DOeoYBzsq.99
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