Friday, March 28
Good morrrrrning, Iraq....
Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, March 27, 2003
In fact, it's taken less than a week for American reporters to begin to doubt Pentagon briefers (foreign reporters began in that mode) – a passage that took years in Vietnam – and for the briefers to begin to look like participants in the long ago Saigon press briefings that included the infamous "body counts," mockingly nicknamed by reporters "the Five O'clock Follies." In other words, a week into the war the first cracks in what may become a media "credibility gap" are already showing.
As it turns out, Pentagon policies for controlling the media were quite brilliant, but also dependent on the delivery of the promised war – a brief "cakewalk" of liberation. [...]
Both CBS and ABC last night showed the first lingering shots I've seen of wounded Iraqi children from that Baghdad market, already commonplace shots on global TV sets but not here. Another mainstream first, one week in: shots of "the other side" as fighters, of a Fedayeen jeep with a machine gun mounted on it and of Fedayeen in a trench, guns aimed as if in preparation for an ambush, all taken from Iraqi TV.
Perhaps even more fascinating, one week into the war, most of the late arguments and charges of the Vietnam era have reemerged and the official recriminations are already beginning. [...]