Reporters on the Ground: The Military and the Media's Experience During Operation Iraqi Freedom

  • October 15, 2003
  • Prof Michael J Pasquarett

During the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) the Department of Defense (DoD) developed an embedded media program that planned for large numbers of embedded reporters throughout military units. Unlike Vietnam in the 1970s, this program resulted in television reporting from within Iraq, especially from those reporters embedded with front lines units, almost instantaneously. The speed that these reports made it on the air often outpaced the military's communication channels. Although it gave the American citizens an immediate close up report of what their armed forces were doing, it handicapped media analysts and stateside reporters in their ability to put the raw reporting from the field into a larger context. Conversely those TV journalists supplying these spectacular reports and engrossing pictures from the front line were also handicapped in that they were reporting in a vacuum, unable themselves to obtain any kind of perspective or context.