Reporting war (ethics class 2014)


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  • Not covered by The Guardian? More likely Gaddafi propaganda? Uploaded here first: pro-Gaddafi site:
  • Reporting war (ethics class 2014)

    1. 1. 1
    2. 2. 2
    3. 3. Kate Adie • Adopted by a Sunderland couple as a baby • Libya (1986) • Shot in arm at Tiananmen Square (1989) • Gulf War 1 (1991) • Bosnia (1992-1995) • Rwanda (1994) • Sierra Leone (2000) 3
    4. 4. Four forms of reportage: 1. Technical 2. Official 3. Ideological 4. Critical 4
    5. 5. 1 - Technical • Relates to how near or far from the conflict journalists can get • Portability of equipment: – 'All the gadgets a reporter needs can be carried in a single suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment of most planes'. • (Peter Johnson, 'Media's war footing looks solid', USA Today, 17 February 2003) • GW1 - drive for ‘newness’ • GW2 – language/technology of war – ‘smart bombs’, ‘daisy cutters’, night vision, MOABs, Patriots, etc 5
    6. 6. 2 - Official • Journalists and the Task Force to the Falklands • Thatcher wanted to ‘manage’ journalists • Influence on type of news produced • Certain news suppressed • Misinformation? – “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) 6
    7. 7. 3 - Ideological • Whose side should we be on? • How do we decide? – “When one’s nation is at war, reporting becomes an extension of the war effort” • Max Hastings (former editor of the Telegraph and the Evening Standard) quoting his TV reporter father’s famous line about WW2 7
    8. 8. 4 - Critical • Ideals of journalistic objectivity/impartiality – reporting the facts? • Self reflective? 8
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. • WW1: • DW Griffith’s Hearts of the World, 1918 10
    11. 11. • WW1: • Frank Hurley • Australia’s official war photographer • Melded composites 11
    12. 12. • WW2 – Radio reports central – Cecil Beaton images (often staged) – Disney/Capra films (Why We Fight) – The Empire Marketing Board film unit 12
    13. 13. Propaganda? • 1st televised crisis – Suez, 1956 • PM Anthony Eden tried to use BBC for propaganda • Vietnam (1957-1975) – myth of the body bag • Falklands (1982) – 2 important factors: – Lobby system – Pooling system 13
    14. 14. Falklands 14
    15. 15. • Glasgow University Media Group: • “There is no absolute unity of interest among the media, the government and the military” – 1985, War and Peace News 15
    16. 16. 1. Many journalists like the idea of being a war reporter - ITN correspondent:  ‘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.’ 1. BBC/ITN/Sky seek to be the nation’s news service, so want to appear to be in tune with national mood. 2. Normal news reporting features official sources anyway, so why would broadcasters, journalists change format now? 16
    17. 17. Gulf War 2 • Present attitude towards (mediated) war? • Civilian deaths? • Surgical, precise, clean strikes? • ‘Smart’ bombs? • Information leakage/flow? • 17
    18. 18. ‘Always on’ media • 31st August 1997 • 11th September 2001 • 7th July 2005 • Speculation, commentary and hourly attempt to return to an authoritative summary 18
    19. 19. Key changes in coverage 1. Increased availability of channels to view news and many of these are not ‘home-grown’ – e.g., Fox News, CNN, BBC World, Al-Jazeera. 2. 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?) 19
    20. 20. Other changes – AP & Reuters have financial constraints – must cover wars adequately but can’t increase subscription costs – Satellite news channels lose ad revenue because viewers want non-stop coverage & advertisers don’t want to be associated with disasters. – News producers cut back on foreign correspondents (lack reporters) – The attempt to be neutral and balanced can make for boring news (Fox News vs Al-Jazeera) – Europe’s anti-war sentiment? (Tumber & Palmer, 2004, point to the lack of space given to anti-war voices). 20
    21. 21. 21
    22. 22. Questions to consider • To what extent is it possible to separate the fact from the propaganda/spin? • How complicit are journalists in this process? • How might the demands for copy impact upon public knowledge? 22
    23. 23. • Ray Heibert (1991) Public Relations Review • Public relations and public communications would play an increasingly significant role in warfare • The battle for public opinion would be as important as the engagement of soldiers on the front 23
    24. 24. • Ray Heibert (2003) Public Relations Review • We don’t think about facts but about the way those facts are framed • Framing an issue becomes THE most powerful way to control our response to something. 24
    25. 25. 25
    26. 26. 26
    27. 27. 27
    28. 28. • See Lakoff (2003) • Classic narratives: – Self-defense story – Rescue story 28
    29. 29. • Global audience = occasional language slip-ups • “Crusade” • “Axis of Evil” • “Operation Enduring Freedom” • “Coalition of the Willing” • “Saddam’s Fedayeen” 29
    30. 30. • The essential strategy for becoming the standard of truth when no one believes you is to open your operations to the kind of risk that no one would take if he were planning to lie. Spin is out of the question. Good or bad, the story is there for the reporter to see. In a company criticized for, say, global labor practices, this would mean opening overseas factories to unscheduled media visits. In this war, it means embedded reporters” – Clark S Judge, 2003, 30
    31. 31. 31
    32. 32. • CentCom (Qatar) • $1.5m briefing centre • Plasma screens, mini studious, phone banks • Designed by Hollywood set designer, George Allison • Platform for truth (US General Tommy Franks) • Seating arrangements reflected pecking order 32
    33. 33. • “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.” – Suzy DeFrances, President Bush’s deputy assistant for communications cited in Douglas Quenqua, March 24th 2003, PR Week 33
    34. 34. 34
    35. 35. 35
    36. 36. • “Photos of sleek fighter jets, rescued POWs, and smiling Iraqis cheering the arrival of U.S. troops are easy to find among Combat Camera’s public images. Photos of bombed-out Baghdad neighborhoods and so-called ‘collateral damage’ are not.” – cited in Heibert, 2003: 252 36
    37. 37. 37
    38. 38. 38
    39. 39. 39
    40. 40. • [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 "here at CentCom", we knew that we were being held at arm's length. 40
    41. 41. • 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. – Paul Adams, 2003, ‘Reporters’ log: final thoughts’ 41
    42. 42. • Iraq: – 2000-2500 reporters – 600-700 embedded (500 US journalists) • Embeds – officially placed with military units • Unilaterals – roving, independent journalists without military support taking huge risks to get access to stories 42
    43. 43. • “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…” 43
    44. 44. • “…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?” – Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian 44
    45. 45. Dangers facing unilaterals? • “Two weeks into this war, the constraints are tightening. Previously slack border points are now closed. Those unilateral journalists entering Iraq "illegally" do so at higher risk, with no expectation of any assistance from a coalition army warned away from them” – Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian 45
    46. 46. • Death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd • Palestine Hotel attack (Reuters) • In The Line of Fire (BBC) 46
    47. 47. • “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.” – Robert Menard, secretary–general of Paris–based Reporters Without Borders. Cited in Ciar Bryne, April 9 2003, 47
    48. 48. • “There’s nothing sacrosanct about a hotel with a bunch of journalists in it.” – (Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, reported by Washington Post, April 9) 48
    49. 49. • “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’” – (Air Marshall Burridge, Daily Telegraph, April 7 2003) 49
    50. 50. • ‘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: "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.”’ – Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian 50
    51. 51. • Sometimes the urge to identify subsumes gender. A report by Sarah Oliver in the Mail on Sunday opened with the arresting line: "We rode at dawn, the men of the 1st Royal Irish," before going on to describe how "our column thundered through the Rumailah oilfield" and closed with the news that "Last night we were holding 37 officers, 277 men and expecting another 200".’ – Lucy Mangan, April 7 2003, The Guardian 51
    52. 52. The ‘fog’ of war • The Guardian: April 11, 2003 • See this link for claims and denials at the time – 52
    53. 53. How should journalists show the reality of warfare? • Clip from C4 show “Iraq: The Hidden Story” • 2008 53
    54. 54. 54
    55. 55. Questions to consider • To what extent is it possible to separate the fact from the propaganda during conflicts? • How complicit are journalists in this process? • How might the demands for copy impact upon public knowledge? • Can embedded journalism ever be balanced? 55
    56. 56. Questions? 1. So we have ‘nowness’, we have immediate coverage, we have words and images but what do we know about war? 2. Should war reporting be for information or an extension of the war effort? 3. 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)? 4. 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? 5. How long did our interest in Iraq last? Are we concerned with it today? Should we be? 56
    57. 57. • How does the press cover war today? 57
    58. 58. Additional resources • David Leigh, 2003, ‘False Witness’- examples of military disinformation and the media. Available at –,2763,92931 • Report of faked war report from Sky News. Actual footage available at: – 58
    59. 59. The DA-Notice system • 59
    60. 60. Non-voluntary alternatives • Criminal law Official Secrets Act(s) Terrorism Act 2000/2006 Prosecution follows publication 60
    61. 61. • Tension between free speech and national security/media and government • DA-Notice system is voluntary and extra legal • Arrangement between government and media not to publish certain information 61
    62. 62. Free Speech • Various theories justifying free speech – ‘free speech as an argument from democracy’ most relevant here • Not an absolute right – national security is a legitimate reason for limiting free speech 62
    63. 63. DA-Notices: Still Useful? • No the internet has increasingly changed the way the public accesses news and information increased information available in the ‘public domain’ (international news, war bloggers, • Yes System still useful for old technology – hard copy print media, radio & television (also have internet platforms that need policing) Represents an alterative conciliatory approach 63
    64. 64. 64
    65. 65. Princely PR • Caroline Gammell, March 1 2008, The Telegraph, ‘How the Prince Harry blackout was broken’ blackout-was-broken.html • Non attributed, March 2, 2008, The Independent, ‘The people's prince: with Harry in Afghanistan. Dog of war or PR pawn?’ harry-in-afghanistan-dog-of-war-or-pr-pawn-790323.html • Peter McKay, March 2 2008, Mail, ‘Prince Harry in Afghanistan: Oh! What a lovely PR stunt’ 524341/Prince-Harry-Afghanistan-Oh-What-lovely-PR-stunt.html • Peter Wilby, March 3 2008, The Guardian, ‘'Harry's war' - it's just a blatant PR stunt’ publishing 65
    66. 66. 66
    67. 67. Madrid 2004 67
    68. 68. Madrid 2004 • Guardian changes colour 68
    69. 69. Madrid 2004 • The Times airbrushes 69
    70. 70. Madrid 2004 • The Telegraph airbrushes 70
    71. 71. 71
    72. 72. 72
    73. 73. What can the news actually show us? 73
    74. 74. 74
    75. 75. 75
    76. 76. Sodomized with a knife? 76
    77. 77. 77
    78. 78. What can the news actually show us? 78
    79. 79. 79
    80. 80. Ahmed Chalabi • Interim oil minister in Iraq April-May 2005 and December- January 2006 • Deputy prime minister from May 2005 until May 2006. • Pre-2003 invasion, under his guidance the Iraqi National Congress, supported by lobbyists BKSH & Associates, provided substantial info on which U.S. Intelligence based its condemnation of Saddam Hussein, including reports of weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to al-Qaeda 80
    81. 81. Useful material Control Room (2004, Jehane Noujaim) WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception (2004, Danny Schechter) Panorama Special: In The Line of Fire (21st Nov 2004, BBC) Al- Jazeera on war coverage Al- Jazeera discusses the PoWs 81
    82. 82. 82
    83. 83. Restrepo (2010, S. Junger & T. Hetherington ) 83
    84. 84. Restrepo • The Korengal Valley • Embedded with Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army 84
    85. 85. ‘Grunt documentaries’ • ‘by privileging personal experience over historical awareness, these accounts construct a version of the war in which it becomes impossible to apprehend such atrocities as Haditha, Ramadi, Abu Ghraib’ – Tony Grajeda 2007 85
    86. 86. Misrata, Libya - 20 April 2011 86
    87. 87. Homs, Syria - 21 February 2012 87
    88. 88. Homs, Syria - 22 February 2012 • Marie Colvin • Remi Ochlik 88
    89. 89. 89
    90. 90. Ofcom: Section 1 • Violence and dangerous behaviour • 1.11 Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed … and must also be justified by the context. • 1.12 Violence, whether verbal or physical, that is easily imitable by children in a manner that is harmful or dangerous: – must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification; – must not be broadcast before the … unless there is editorial justification. • 1.13 Dangerous behaviour, or the portrayal of dangerous behaviour, that is likely to be easily imitable by children in a manner that is harmful: – must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification; – must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television) … unless there is editorial justification. 90
    91. 91. Ofcom: Section 2 • Harm and Offence • 2.4 Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programmes taken together) which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour. • 2.5 Methods of suicide and self-harm must not be included in programmes except where they are editorially justified and are also justified by the context. 91
    92. 92. Questions to consider • Why do some journalists risk their lives to get stories? • What can the mainstream media show us? Should there be limits? Why/not? • To what extent is it possible to separate fact from propaganda/spin? • How complicit are journalists in this process during wartime? • How might the demands for copy/footage/stories impact upon public knowledge? 92