Thursday, August 5, 2010

Told Ya

Looks like I was right.

Michael Hastings' embed with the Army has been pulled. He also refused to comply with an IG inspection into the Gen McChrystal incident.

Well, can you blame the Army? I can't.

My issue is that it didn't have to happen. We provide embeds not for positive press but for accurate press. There are plenty of balanced pieces out there. There are plenty of negative pieces out there. There are plenty of journalists who understand how the military works.

Giving access provides context. When you allow a reporter behind the scenes and they know it is background for context, they know it isn't for publication. Not everything has to be available for public consumption. I'm not Julian Assange. I don't believe the world needs to know absolutely everything. And these two wars have been open to the press and to the public in a way like no other. It almost isn't fair that soldiers who are fighting can't act like themselves in their downtime.

I do however, believe, that the relationship is a two-way street. When you allow an embed into your unit. The unit must understand that the reporter isn't a unit member. He isn't a pal. If you don't want to see it on the front page or in headline news, don't talk to him about it.

I just hope the only casualty here is Hastings. Other war correspondents and units understand this relationship and it is working out.

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