Monday, December 01, 2003

The Press is Embedded

The full title of this post should be "The Press is Embedded in Government's Ass."

I'm not typically a fan of Naomi Klein. She's usually too quick to jump to the absolute worst assumption about everything; alarmist would be almost too mild a word. Unfortunately, recent history has given me way too many reasons to believe most of what's in her recent piece in The Guardian.

With the activists recast as dangerous aliens, Miami became eligible for the open tap of public money irrigating the "war on terror". In fact, $8.5m spent on security during the FTAA meeting came out of the $87bn Bush extracted from Congress for Iraq last month.

But more was borrowed from the Iraq war than just money. Miami police also invited reporters to "embed" with them in armoured vehicles and helicopters. As in Iraq, most reporters embraced their role as pseudo soldiers with zeal, suiting up in combat helmets and flak jackets.

The resulting media coverage was the familiar wartime combination of dramatic images and non-information. We know, thanks to an "embed" from the Miami Herald, that Timoney was working so hard hunting down troublemakers that by 3:30pm on Thursday "he had eaten only a banana and a cookie since 6am".
If her predictions come true, we can just kiss the ideals of a free and independent press goodbye.

In Russian, the word pravda means "truth." In the Soviet Union, everyone always said that there's no truth in pravda. Of course it doesn't translate well like that, but think about it.

We should just put most reporters into one big reporting pool and call it Pravda.

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