Dangers await those venturing in to a job in the military. How do journalists on the front lines feel? This Washington Post article gives great insight into the feelings of an embedded journalist. A favorite quote, "We are observing these wars from just one perspective, not seeing them whole. When you see my byline from Kandahar or Kabul or Basra, you should not think that I am out among ordinary people, asking questions of all sides. I am usually inside an American military bubble. That vantage point has value, but it is hardly a full picture," gives great insight in to the problem with embedded journalists.
Embedded journalists are only viewing one side of the story. When The Post writes about a local campus protest, it is not written by someone embedded in the group of protesters. Rather, the article is written by someone that attends the protest and views it from the outside. This gives an objective view of the situation. Objective viewpoints are not the point of journalism in the least.
When media are embedded into the military, they are only going to receive a subjective view of things. It would be very hard to get the 'enemy' opinion on things, as they are dressed in American military clothing. The photo below shows the stark contrast between military journalists and military personnel. These journalists can be easily identified and picked out as different than the normal military personnel.
|Photo via AdWeek|
|Photo via International Business Times|
Further than that, the journalists' independence is mostly taken away by the government. I am certain the government has many protocols and laws they must abide by when reporting on such military issues. In fact, some things are never allowed to be shown to the public. How would it feel to go somewhere to spread public knowledge and only be shut down and told you cannot share your career with others? I think I would feel very discouraged to dedicate my career and risk my life to report on something that would never be shown to the public.
Is it ethical to still send journalists overseas with the military when they will only be able to retrieve half of the news while risking their lives and independence?