The 24/7 news coverage of the Iraq war is often riveting television, but it is not necessarily good journalism. The journalists embedded with coalition forces can’t do what journalists usually do: make sure they get the story correct before they go with it, and set the facts in a larger context. When embedded reporters comment on the action unfolding before their eyes, their reporting seems highly realistic, but it is in fact highly distorted—it shows only a very narrow slice of the war, told from a very particular angle.
Furthermore, the reporters are dependent upon the military not just for getting the story but for their own safety. “Journalists now eat, sleep and live with the military in order to bond with them and report their triumphs,” said Marc Peyser of Newsweek. “It has been a smashing success for the government—and an utter disaster for the state of American journalism.”