Embedded journalism

Urhin

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Australia
#1
After reading about the lies put forth by this journalist Brian Williams (read here) I'm beginning to wonder whether embedded journalism really is such a good idea after all. Embedded journalism is basically the practice of attaching journalists to soldiers at the war front. The idea is to gain the most accurate war time reporting from first hand experience rather than relying on the army to disseminate the information.

The main advantage of this: the army can't hide anything from the public. The journalist will be able to see and hear what really goes on and report back to the people. If the army is losing the war, the government can't spin it and say that they are actually winning. If the army is committing war crimes, coverups will be so much more difficult.

But there are also several disadvantages.
1) It prevents soldiers from doing their job properly because now they have to look after a civilian on top of fighting the enemy.
2) Embedded journalists tend to sympathize with the people they spend a lot of time with, and may end up reporting the story from the soldier's point of view. Neutrality then becomes difficult to maintain.
3) Journalists remain restricted by the units they may be attached to. The army can still exercise some gatekeeping by only permitting journalists in certain units which they are confident will generate good publicity. This defeats the purpose of embedded journalism.