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April 9, 2005
Crossing the Line? Media and The Public's Right to KnowBy Greyhawk
For those who might as yet be unaware, a CBS cameraman has been wounded and captured by US forces in Iraq, and is suspected of working for the "insurgency."
In a statement released Friday, CBS News said the man had worked as a freelancer for CBS for three months and that he was videotaping for the network when he was shot.Televised reports indicated the suspect's camera contained at least four different videos of roadside bombings.
It?s beginning to look as if that means that the news networks may in fact not just be reporting the news but are also aligning themselves with one side in an armed conflict. And in this case, that side appears to be the side that is blowing up schools and shops, killing Iraqi police and attacking U.S. soldiers.I'd go a step further. It seems likely that CBS and perhaps other organizations are paying those with close access to terrorists in Iraq to obtain video of terrorist activities. (Those who are squeamish on such issues, by all means substitute "insurgents" for "terrorist" throughout this post.) In CBS-speak: "It is common practice in Iraq for Western news organizations to hire local cameramen in places considered too dangerous for Westerners to work effectively. The very nature of their work often puts them in the middle of very volatile situations". With that in mind, I re-pose several questions from Mudville's recent post on the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographs - an eerily similar story. Let's substitute 'CBS' for 'AP', and 'video' for 'photos':
How much would exclusive photos of "insurgents" beheading an aid worker be worth to the AP?
How about a series where the "insurgents" plant a roadside bomb, wait for an American food convoy, and detonate it? Maybe with an ensuing gun battle as bonus. How much for photos of that?
Everything has a price, as they say. Would pictures like the ones I've described be worth more or less than those of Muslims killing Muslims?
How about a planned "demonstration" at a polling place on election day in Baghdad? If that same photographer was invited by the same group to a "demonstration" there, how much would he "earn" for his pictures?
The media defense of their actions generally takes some form of the argument that the public has a right to know all sides of the story. Here at Mudville we couldn't agree more with that sentiment. We don't shy away from covering all aspects of the War on Terror. With that in mind, we believe the public has the right to know:
How much does CBS pay it's cameraman? Do they pay a set salary or per video provided? Or only if the video is usable by CBS?
Were any American soldiers or Iraqi citizens hurt or killed in any of the attacks videotaped by CBS' cameraman?
Does he in turn pay the terrorists - or is he simply one of them? If so, how do the surviving family members feel about CBS funding the attacks on their sons, daughters, husbands, or wives?
If not, how do the surviving family members feel about CBS paying for video of attacks on their sons, daughters, husbands, or wives?
How do CBS' advertisers feel about their money supporting this effort?
Let's hope we get some answers.
Update - A few more questions CBS should have answers to: The cameraman was injured. Where was he treated? Who paid for treatment of those injuries? An Iraqi hospital? The US military? And will CBS reimburse for those expenses? Has CBS ensured their cameraman is receiving the best possible medical care? If I were in senior management at the network I'd want those answers on my desk immediately.
Of course, they've already asked those questions, haven't they?
Posted by Greyhawk / April 9, 2005 3:32 PM | Permalink
Mudville Gazette has More on the CBS cameraman who was "embedded" with the insurgency. Quote: The media defense of their actions generally takes some form of the argument that the public has a right to know all sides of the story. Here at Mudville... Read More
Mudville Gazette How much does CBS pay it's cameraman? Do they pay a set salary or per video provided? Or only if the video is usable by CBS? Were any American soldiers or Iraqi citizens hurt or killed in any... Read More
More evidence of which side the MSM has taken in the GWOT is summed rather nicely in this post from Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette. It is bad enough that we have to endure biased coverage that misrepresents what is happening on the ground in Iraq. ... Read More
I haven't posted about the CBS cameraman/insurgent propaganda specialist because I've been very upset about it. Read More
Iraqi blog explosion, frontline photos, more photos, progress in Falujah, women-owned companies get contracts, reconstruction highlights, Iraqi government moves forward, British exit plan talks, Poland and Ukraine withdrawing, attacks on heels of Runsf... Read More
and I usually don't do too much that is overly serious on Saturdays BUT.....well I'm not real happy/content/pleased with a situation and I wanna talk about it. Ever since Greyhawk posted on the CBS cameraman issue I've flipped back and... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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