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November 20, 2003

Wrong Side Of The Embed

Remember back seven or eight months ago when everybody was smiling for the camera, and the Iraq campaign was one big photo op? (Actually, Z Magazine had a great image in a recent issue showing a wide angle shot of the square as Saddam’s statue came down. From the longer view, it’s apparent there were hardly any Iraqi’s on hand.)

Since then, either things have gotten uglier, the Pentagon has been losing it’s touch with the p.r. campaign, or a combination of both. As a result, there has been a steadily rising number of incidents in which troops have had run-ins with journalists and photographers. In some cases, media people have been detained. In other instances, disks and equipment have been confiscated. Of course, these acts are all in violation of the Pentagon’s own guidelines.

The Defense Department, of course, is keeping on its game face. When asked for comment, a defense official appropriately responded: “We will take appropriate action when appropriate.” What the spokesman should have said is: if you’re a journalist in Iraq, you can either get embed or not get out of bed.

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