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Listen, as MikeSmith talks with SMSU Mass Media Professor Joel Persky, and Vietnam War correspondent Joe Galloway about the coverage of the war in Iraq.
As the war in Iraq continues, so does the debate over the role the media has been given (or has taken) to report it. (Audio: Joel Persky saying the war in Iraq is not a reality series)
Joel Persky is a Professor of Mass Media at SMSU. He says similar to the reports from Vietnam on the evening news during the 1960's and 70's, the live real time reports from Iraq on the cable news networks will have a negative effect on the public and the White House: (Audio: Joel Persky)
As we have learned over the past few weeks, it doesn't only have to be live images from the battlefield or of fallen soldiers to cause the Pentagon concern. FOX News correspondent Heraldo Reveria angered the military when, for a live camera shot, drew a map in the sand showing where the troops he was with were positioned, where there headed, and told his audience when they planned to move. A 3 star Army General angered War planners when he told reporters the Iraqi's were putting up more of a fight than coalition forces had "war gamed for". Peter Arnett was fired by NBC after he went on Iraqi TV to suggest the coalition war plan had failed. Here too, are the words of another desert war correspondent: (Audio: Voice says'"Officers who have been here a couple of days are astonished by the difference between what they thought the situation was, and what it actually is. They say the people at home think the desert campaign is a walk away and will be over quickly. If you think that, it is because we newsmen here have failed at getting the finer points over to you")
Inflammatory and un-patriotic some would say today, but there was no public outcry when those words were written in Algeria by WWII correspondent Ernie Pyle in 1944.
But as Joel Persky points out, Ernie Pyle's columns and the news reels shown in movie theaters during the war were presented to the public long after the actual events:
(Audio: Joel Persky)
It is of course technology that has enabled the war correspondent to file his or her reports instantaneously and no one knows that better than Joe Galloway. The co-author of "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" covered the Vietnam War for United Press International. He also reported from Iraq during Operation Desert Storm:
(Audio: Joe Galloway on the changes in equipment and the time it took to file reports)
Joe Galloway, like any reporter, had his editors to please, but there were others for whom he wanted to get the story right: (Audio: Galloway on having to go out in the field with the same soldiers he reported on)
Back when the war in Iraq was just a few days old, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of respondents thought the war was going very well. 3 days later that figure dropped to 38 perccent and a lot of people thought the media's coverage of the was why. Reporting for KSMU News, I'm Mike Smith.