12th August 00:33
Pentagon's Media Strategy
Airstrike! The Pentagon simplifies media relations
By John Lettice
Posted: 13/03/2003 at 17:10 GMT
Should war in the Gulf commence, the Pentagon proposes to take radical
new steps in media relations - 'unauthorised' journalists will be shot
at. Speaking on The Sunday Show on Ireland's RTE1 last Sunday veteran
war reporter Kate Adie said she had been warned by a senior Pentagon
official that uplinks, i.e. TV broadcasts or satellite phones, that are
detected by US aircraft are likely to be fired on.
Bush pere's Iraq war featured tight control of the media, but the
current administration intends to go rather further. According to Adie
(who, overseas readers should be aware, is effectively a saint in the
UK), the Pentagon is vetting journalists who propose to cover the war,
and is taking control of their comms equipment. This presumably will
ease the logistics of managing the hacks quite considerably, because if
the US has control of all the gear, then any gear it doesn't know about
that starts broadcasting is presumably a target.
According to Adie the official told her: "There is a 'no' list... they
have been warned." We presume that US forces will not be specifically
trying to kill journalists - that escalation sounds more like the next
war to us. But by warning of the dangers, the US is providing further
discouragement for the few journalists who'll attempt to report from
behind Iraqi lines, or to 'freelance' outside the control of the US
authorities. And should they get one or two while taking out
unidentified communications systems, well, they've covered themselves.
They should however bear in mind that should Saint Adie be in the
slightest bit damaged, no force on earth will be strong enough to save
Tony Blair from the British public.
Adie's remarks came as part of a discussion of war reporting and media
freedom which also involved author Phillip Knightley, New York Times war
correspondent Chris Hedges and former Irish Times editor Connor Brady.
The whole discussion is well worth listening to, and we particularly
liked Hedges' put-down of CNN: "CNN survives from war to war; as soon as
the war starts they become part of the problem." You can find a partial
transcript of Adie's remarks here, and you can get the whole show here..