After last spring’s Milblogger Conference, I rubbed a few of my fellow bloggers the wrong way when I wrote that milbloggers would never be the ones who got the “real story” out to the masses. While milbloggers are important (even critical) components of the effort to inform the public about what’s really going on, the honest truth is that they simply do not have the reach and the audience to effect real change. The vast majority of those who read blogs are those who already largely agree with what the blogger in question is saying. If you don’t like it, you just find a different blog.
As pathetic as mainstream media is when it comes to covering the military, if they aren’t reporting it, it won’t register on the public’s radar.
We’re all aware that during the early weeks of the campaign in Iraq the American public was solidly behind the invasion, at least according to opinion polls. Much of this has been attributed to the presence of quite a few embedded reporters among the troops. The reports sent back by the likes of Greg Kelly were invaluable to the general populace to glimpse what was going on and to witness our guys in action.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, however, the number of embedded reporters has dwindled to virtually nothing. Sometimes we’ll see reporters from smaller newspapers covering local troops deployed to Iraq, but the overwhelming majority of reports come from reporters tucked away in the hotels of the Green Zone in Baghdad. They get their news from DoD releases (which are generally ignored) and from their army of stringers. The stringers, of course, know what sort of news gets coverage, and no doubt do their best to get it.
As poll results favoring the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq have slumped, we’re left to wonder how much of the support evaporated when the news from embedded reporters on the evening news, cable stations, and major newspapers vanished.
So how many embeds are currently in Iraq? Apparently, the number is nine.
Unbelievable. This means one of two things:
A) Iraq isn’t newsworthy enough to warrant adequate news coverage.
B) It’s easier to tell the story you want to tell when facts are in short supply.
What do you think? A or B? (via Instapundit)