|Local & National Journalists Travel With Troops For Wartime Coverage|
As WRAL-TV Reporter Julia Lewis & Photographer Chad Flowers hunker down in Kuwait with the 82nd Airborne, CBS National Anchor Dan Rather and his colleagues at the network spoke out about the role of journalists in the impending war.
In a news conference on Thursday, February 13, 2003, Rather said, “We want to be fast off the mark, because in journalism, as in the military, the first strike is half the battle.”
He reminded the audience of the importance of CNN’s cameras in Baghdad the night that bombs began dropping in the Gulf War.
CBS White House Reporter John Roberts said, “There’s no better way to put the lie to Saddam’s statements than to have the eyes and ears of the U.S. media there.” Roberts also said that he believes the military has a greater understanding of the need for media in wartime. The media can record what actually goes on in Iraq.
Americans will have a “front row seat” to war in Iraq expected to begin in the next few weeks. Journalists have been in embedded in the troops, like Lewis & Flowers with the 82nd Airborne.
“In many ways this is going to be historic,” said Deputy Defense Department Spokesman Brian Whitman. In D-Day during World War II, he stated, that only 30 or 40 journalists were with the invading American forces. During Vietnam, reporters visited forward bases and went on operations but were not assigned to specific troops.
The Pentagon has opened the doors for journalists to be connected with divisions or groups of the military, thus possibly changing the face of wartime journalism.