Friday, March 21, 2003

Nation at war: Media Whores

Today it happened. Today the media got their promised “shock and awe.” Finally, they can sleep soundly.

If ever there was an example as to why I left journalism, it’s this.

Although I don’t approve of the war, I do approve of how they are fighting this war. The Bush administration decided to try a surgical strike to “decapitate” the leadership of Iraq from the soldiers below. Two days of light bombing, causing little damage and advancing forward with little resistance showed that this could be a somewhat bloodless war. And the media was not happy.

“The white house promised us a bombardment of “shock and awe” said Lester holt on Tuesday. “Still, no sign of Operation: Shock and Awe,” Said a disappointed Wolf Blitzer.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, and it’s America’s news networks. All the networks see this as their chance to have a CNN moment. If you remember from '91, during Gulf War 1.0, CNN was a struggling 24 hour news network. The world events during that time brought the network to be the premier news source with it’s 24 hour coverage, and reporters right beside the targets of the bombs. It made CNN what it is.

The sad fact is that diplomacy is boring. You just don’t get good b-roll showing Hans Blix talking to a table of diplomats. It’s not good imagery to show security council debates. They want action.

And today, action they got. From the foreplay of the B-52’s taking off from bases in England, to the Wargasm of this afternoon’s events, Lester Holt and crew got what they wanted, live feeds of death and chaos.

It doesn’t stop there. MSNBC’s embedded reporter, David Bloom is riding around Iraq on a glorified tow truck. He has learned a buzz word: “Bradley.” If he doesn’t know what the piece of military hardware is, he calls it a Bradley. The sand is covering his hair, he’s wearing fatigues and a flak jacket, and you can almost see the discust his 3rd mech. Inf. “hosts” have for him.

The reporter for the 3rd marine Expeditionary Unit actually came under fire. In his next report, he referred to the marines as his “brothers in arms” and that they have to watch out for each other. Somehow I think I reporter and cameraman isn’t going to do much to cover a marine in a foxhole.

And, just now, on NBC Nightly news, they closed with a “In their own words” piece from the mother of the helicopter pilot that was killed last night. She said that all the new technology is great, but it’s important to remember that there are mothers and wives watching, and it’s killing them to see this. Tom Brokaw, sucking up the Pathos, closed with: “As the marines say, Semper Fi.”

Semper Fi, indeed.

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