Mac373 Reporting War 2009


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Mac373 Reporting War 2009

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Four forms of reportage: <ul><li>Technical </li></ul><ul><li>Official </li></ul><ul><li>Ideological </li></ul><ul><li>Critical </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1 - Technical <ul><li>Relates to how near or far from the conflict journalists can get </li></ul><ul><li>Portability of equipment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'All the gadgets a reporter needs can be carried in a single suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment of most planes'. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Peter Johnson, 'Media's war footing looks solid', USA Today , 17 February 2003) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>GW1 - drive for ‘newness’ </li></ul><ul><li>GW2 – language/technology of war – ‘smart bombs’, ‘daisy cutters’, night vision, MOABs, Patriots, etc </li></ul>
  4. 4. 2 - Official <ul><li>Journalists and the Task Force to the Falklands </li></ul><ul><li>Thatcher wanted to ‘manage’ journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Influence on type of news produced </li></ul><ul><li>Certain news suppressed </li></ul><ul><li>Misinformation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The BBC had made it clear there were some things it could not reveal. If at the end of the conflict it had to confess to the public that it had deliberately misled it, rather than withheld certain information in the interests of safeguarding life, the BBC’s credibility would be gone.” (Former BBC editor) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. 3 - Ideological <ul><li>Whose side should we be on? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we decide? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When one’s nation is at war, reporting becomes an extension of the war effort” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Max Hastings (former editor of the Telegraph and the Evening Standard ) quoting his TV reporter father’s famous line about WW2 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 4 - Critical <ul><li>Ideals of journalistic objectivity/impartiality – reporting the facts? </li></ul><ul><li>Self reflective? </li></ul>
  7. 7.
  8. 8. <ul><li>WW1: </li></ul><ul><li>DW Griffith’s Hearts of the World , 1918 </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>WW1: </li></ul><ul><li>Frank Hurley </li></ul><ul><li>Australia’s official war photographer </li></ul><ul><li>Melded composites </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Spanish Civil War (1936-39) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Europe tried to stay neutral </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WW2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio reports central </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cecil Beaton images (often staged) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disney/Capra films ( Why We Fight ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Empire Marketing Board film unit </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>1 st televised crisis – Suez, 1956 </li></ul><ul><li>PM Anthony Eden tried to use BBC for propaganda </li></ul><ul><li>Vietnam (1957-1975) – myth of the body bag </li></ul><ul><li>Falklands (1982) – 2 important factors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobby system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pooling system </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Falklands
  13. 13. <ul><li>Glasgow University Media Group: </li></ul><ul><li>“ There is no absolute unity of interest among the media, the government and the military” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1985, War and Peace News </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Many journalists like the idea of being a war reporter - ITN correspondent: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ There was never any danger that this good wonderful war could escalate into anything like The Day After (nuclear war film). It was a good gutsy war but it was a safe gutsy war.’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BBC/ITN/Sky seek to be the nation’s news service, so want to appear to be in tune with national mood. </li></ul><ul><li>Normal news reporting features official sources anyway, so why would broadcasters, journalists change format now? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Gulf War 2 <ul><li>Present attitude towards (mediated) war? </li></ul><ul><li>Civilian deaths? </li></ul><ul><li>Surgical, precise, clean strikes? </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Smart’ bombs? </li></ul><ul><li>Information leakage/flow? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  16. 16. ‘ Always on’ media <ul><li>31st August 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>11th September 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>7th July 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Speculation, commentary and hourly attempt to return to an authoritative summary </li></ul>
  17. 17. Key changes in coverage <ul><li>Increased availability of channels to view news and many of these are not ‘home-grown’ – e.g., Fox News, CNN, BBC World, Al-Jazeera. </li></ul><ul><li>Proliferation of news channels might suggest news is increasingly important but news is expensive and the modern media seek more cost efficient soft news and entertainment (visuals over analysis?) </li></ul>
  18. 18. O ther changes <ul><ul><li>AP & Reuters suffered financially recently – must cover wars adequately but can’t increase subscription costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satellite news channels lose ad revenue because viewers want non-stop coverage & advertisers don’t want to be associated with disasters. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News producers cut back on foreign correspondents (lack reporters) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The attempt to be neutral and balanced can make for boring news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The war has been politicised (Fox News vs Al-Jazeera) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Europe’s anti-war sentiment? (Tumber & Palmer, 2004, point to the lack of space given to anti-war voices). </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Questions to consider <ul><li>To what extent is it possible to separate the fact from the propaganda/spin? </li></ul><ul><li>How complicit are journalists in this process? </li></ul><ul><li>How might the demands for copy impact upon public knowledge? </li></ul>
  20. 20.
  21. 21. <ul><li>CentCom (Qatar) </li></ul><ul><li>$1.5m briefing centre </li></ul><ul><li>Plasma screens, mini studious, phone banks </li></ul><ul><li>Designed by Hollywood set designer, George Allison </li></ul><ul><li>Platform for truth (US General Tommy Franks) </li></ul><ul><li>Seating arrangements reflected pecking order </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>“ When Americans wake up in the morning, they will first hear from the [Persian Gulf] region, maybe from General Tommy Franks, then later in the day, they will hear from the Pentagon, then the State Department, then later on the White House will brief.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Suzy DeFrances, President Bush’s deputy assistant for communications cited in Douglas Quenqua, March 24 th 2003, PR Week </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
  27. 27. <ul><li>[S]ome of us have led a very different existence these past weeks. A daily shuttle, hundreds of miles from the action, from a comfortable hotel to the press centre at the drab as-Sayliyah military base, home to CentCom's forward headquarters. And while we allowed ourselves to say &quot;here at CentCom&quot;, we knew that we were being held at arm's length. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>We were rarely allowed to stray from the spartan warehouse with its hi-tech briefing room and cramped, woefully inadequate work-spaces. The real business of running the war was taking place in other, equally spartan warehouses some distance away in this vast, faceless facility. It is an odd way to cover a war, and some wondered if it was really worth it. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paul Adams, 2003, ‘Reporters’ log: final thoughts’ </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Iraq: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2000-2500 reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>600-700 embedded (500 US journalists) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Embeds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>officially placed with military units </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unilaterals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>roving, independent journalists without military support taking huge risks to get access to stories </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>“ The broadcast networks are complicit. With their embedded teams producing great visuals, what need is there for broader analysis from the battlefield? One British network was instrumental in getting one of its own unilateral reporters kicked out of an embed position for rocking the boat…” </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>“… ITN, Sky and the BBC all belong to an exclusive club: the Forward Transmission Unit, based just inside Iraq and attached to the military, which allows a select few correspondents to package the war. With such extreme limits on access, why jeopardise what you've got?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Dangers facing unilaterals? <ul><li>“ Two weeks into this war, the constraints are tightening. Previously slack border points are now closed. Those unilateral journalists entering Iraq &quot;illegally&quot; do so at higher risk, with no expectation of any assistance from a coalition army warned away from them” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd </li></ul><ul><li>Palestine Hotel attack (Reuters) </li></ul><ul><li>In The Line of Fire ( BBC ) </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>“ US forces must prove that the incident was not a deliberate attack to dissuade or prevent journalists from continuing to report on what is happening in Baghdad.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Robert Menard, secretary–general of Paris–based Reporters Without Borders. Cited in Ciar Bryne, April 9 2003, </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>“ There’s nothing sacrosanct about a hotel with a bunch of journalists in it.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, reported by Washington Post, April 9) </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>“ If you look at what fills newspapers now, it’s the equivalent of reality TV – it’s superficial, there’s very little news reporting, there’s very little analysis, but there’s a lot of conjecture. The media thought they were going to get a one-hour-45-minute Hollywood blockbuster and it’s not like that. War is a dirty, ugly thing, and I worry about it being dignified as ‘infotainment’” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Air Marshall Burridge, Daily Telegraph , April 7 2003) </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>How should journalists show the reality of warfare? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Clip from C4 show “Iraq: The Hidden Story” </li></ul>
  38. 38. The ‘fog’ of war <ul><li>The Guardian : April 11, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>See this link for claims and denials at the time </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Questions to consider <ul><li>To what extent is it possible to separate the fact from the propaganda? </li></ul><ul><li>How complicit are journalists in this process? </li></ul><ul><li>How might the demands for copy impact upon public knowledge? </li></ul><ul><li>Can embedded journalism be balanced? </li></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>‘ The most obvious casualty has been the distinction between warrior and correspondent. First-person plural is now the pronoun of choice, whether subconscious or not. Take Mark Franchetti in the Sunday Times : &quot;Back in Kuwait, as we had edged towards the border ready for the advance, we had been dozing in our assault vehicle... [Now] we were racing across the lunar landscape in attack formation...To the occasional stunned shepherds, we invaders must have seemed like ghosts out of a Mad Max movie.”’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>Sometimes the urge to identify subsumes gender. A report by Sarah Oliver in the Mail on Sunday opened with the arresting line: &quot; We rode at dawn, the men of the 1st Royal Irish ,&quot; before going on to describe how &quot;our column thundered through the Rumailah oilfield&quot; and closed with the news that &quot;Last night we were holding 37 officers, 277 men and expecting another 200&quot;.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. Questions? <ul><li>So we have ‘nowness’, we have immediate coverage, we have words and images but what do we know about war? </li></ul><ul><li>Should war reporting be for information or an extension of the war effort? </li></ul><ul><li>As viewers we can watch the news non-stop – does this mean that we understand the news as a construction (as provisional, disputed, happening as journalists speak)? </li></ul><ul><li>Does news become reduced to narrative with points of closure – do we stop viewing when the statue is pulled down? When do we start to watch again, or really listen, or even think? </li></ul><ul><li>How long did our interest in Iraq last? Are we concerned with it today? Should we be? </li></ul>
  43. 43. <ul><li>How does the press cover war today? </li></ul>
  44. 44. Additional resources <ul><li>David Leigh, 2003, ‘False Witness’- examples of military disinformation and the media. Available at </li></ul><ul><ul><li>,2763,929319,00.html </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Report of faked war report from Sky News. Actual footage available at: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45.
  46. 46. The DA-Notice system <ul><li> </li></ul>
  47. 47. Non-voluntary alternatives <ul><li>Criminal law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official Secrets Act(s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terrorism Act 2000/2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prosecution follows publication </li></ul></ul>
  48. 48. <ul><li>Tension between free speech and national security/media and government </li></ul><ul><li>DA-Notice system is voluntary and extra legal </li></ul><ul><li>Arrangement between government and media not to publish certain information </li></ul>
  49. 49. Free Speech <ul><li>Various theories justifying free speech – ‘free speech as an argument from democracy’ most relevant here </li></ul><ul><li>Not an absolute right – national security is a legitimate reason for limiting free speech </li></ul>
  50. 50. DA-Notices: Still Useful? <ul><li>No </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the internet has increasingly changed the way the public accesses news and information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>increased information available in the ‘public domain’ (international news, war bloggers, ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>System still useful for old technology – hard copy print media, radio & television (also have internet platforms that need policing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Represents an alterative conciliatory approach </li></ul></ul>
  51. 51.
  52. 52. Princely PR <ul><li>C a roline Gammell, March 1 2008, The Telegraph , ‘ How the Prince Harry blackout was broken’ </li></ul><ul><li>Non attributed, March 2, 2008, The Independent, ‘ The people's prince: with Harry in Afghanistan. Dog of war or PR pawn?’ </li></ul><ul><li>Peter McKay, March 2 2008, Mail , ‘ Prince Harry in Afghanistan: Oh! What a lovely PR stunt’ </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Wilby, March 3 2008, The Guardian , ‘ 'Harry's war' - it's just a blatant PR stunt’ </li></ul>
  53. 53. Other useful tools for researching stories
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  55. 55.
  56. 56. Sarah Palin’s hacked email account <ul><li>Leaked by hacker group Anonymous via WikiLeaks (Sept 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Is this in the public interest? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>