As long as I'm OK, you're just news
Posted by aogWednesday, 24 November 2004 at 11:38 TrackBack Ping URL

Via The Moderate Voice and Dean’s World, I read an article that basically argues that the Western public is not getting the “full” story from WWIV because there are no reporters embedded with the caliphascists. Now, I don’t remember calls for embedding reporters with enemy forces during previous wars nor complaints about how this lead to unbalanced coverage. However, there are a few interesting points that come up.

Does the Guardian not regard the caliphascists as the enemy?

Perhaps this isn’t such an odd proposition from the point of view of the European chattering classes because they don’t regard the USA and the Coalition as “friendly” nor the caliphascists as the “enemy”. That’s a choice they can make, but it should mean that we should treat them as neutrals or allies of our enemies if so. The language in the article is very suggestive in this regard:

but it’s not appropriate to use words like “enemy” or even “terrorist” and “we” instead of “they” in reference to the military.

That certainly changes once the reporter wants the protection of “their” military, though.

Why does the Guardian expect to be able to embed with the caliphascists?

This is a more interesting question to me. The Coalition forces support embedding because of a general respect for the press and civilized norms. This means that Coalition forces will tolerate embedded reporters even if the reporting is harmful to their cause. The caliphascists don’t adhere to any such restrictions. Why, then, would they (or do, in some cases) allow embeds? It can only be because they view Western reporters as either allies or useful idiots. I’d love to ask the original author which he is.

Now, the author does appear to realize this at some level:

Many viewers appear to think the media still have some kind of conferred neutrality. That the press badge can still act a bit like the Red Crescent. That Ken Bigley’s appalling death could surely not happen to western journalists. Well, those days have well and truly gone.

However, he still thinks that reporters should be embedded with the caliphascists and implies that producing more favorable reporting for their side might enable this. He writes:

Perhaps the men in the masks might change tack. You do not set up elaborate websites to showcase your latest suicide attack complete with graphics and musical effects if you don’t care about PR. Bin Laden’s video diaries are careful constructs. So will al-Qaida in Iraq and indeed the wider resistance tumble to that most potent of Pentagon weapons?

As if most Western media wasn’t anti-Western already! Some one should impact the author with a clue-by-four about how the bin Laden and the other caliphascists have been playing Western media like a lute. And of course, the author doesn’t seem to have a problem with supporting this suicide attack / hostage decapitation PR strategy as long as the reporters aren’t the victims.

Still the question remains — is there yet some lower level to which leading European newspaper can sink? I suspect so and that the clever staff at the Guardian will work out the details.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Dave Sheridan Saturday, 27 November 2004 at 16:14

Is there yet some lower level? Sure: a) wait for the first embed to get the ‘honor’ of recording the next beheading for their Western audience. b) they certainly don’t want to face American, British or Iraqi troops without ‘defensive arms’. Given that the Caliphasists can’t even defend themselves in open combat, it’s only a matter of time until the unthinkable happens.

End of Discussion