This Girl's Voice

Friday, March 21, 2003  

•• embedded -- in bed with -- the Pentagon** ••

Stockholm Syndrome is a survival mechanism. it takes root in conditions where an individual or individuals are isolated in captivity with only themselves and their captors in conditions where their lives are at risk, resulting in an emotional bond that develops between the captors and the captives.

i am not suggesting that embedded journalists are being held hostage against their will by whichever infantry division they've been "embedded" within. They are there by their own free will. However, as Toronto Star foreign editor Bill Schiller told Toronto Star Media Critic Antonia Zerbisias in her column from last week: "If anyone thinks that the Pentagon is engaging in this embedding project for any other reason than to help improve its image before the U.S. public, they are being incredibly naive."

And when you're half way around the world in the middle of the desert, headed for combat, destination Iraq, travelling in a caravan of humvees and tanks where you've been hunkered down for days in tight proximity with the only people who hold your life in their hands, you just might lose your perspective, and your ability to separate the imperative of your own objectives from those of your "protectors".

Meet CNN's Walter Rodgers. the worst offender.
for the past 4 days, he's been "embedded" with the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry Division.

A reporter, who seems to have lost his raison d'etre, and has been swallowed whole, into the belly of the U.S. Pentagon propaganda machine, absorbed fully into it's surging arteries, processed, pumped and purged of any impurities, and finally, belched out for mass public viewer comsumption.

Here now, in his own words, from his most recent dispatch this morning, he proclaims with glorious Klingon-like awe:

"Imagine a giant wave of steel sweeping across the southern Iraqi desert, and imagine that almost hourly the wave grows in strength and numbers.

As we ride through this desert, we can see the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division's heavy mechanized units have moved up. This giant wave of steel that grows every hour is ever pushing northward, ever pushing toward the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The goal, is to intimidate the Iraqis and pressure them. If that doesn't work, then they can smash* the Iraqi regime, so powerful is this force that is building out here in the desert."

Note that reporter/journalist Walter Rogers has been so successfully embedded, that he's taken to using the collective "we". and indeed, all for one, one for all.

Pentagon 1, American media, 0.

*(my italics: note that he has editorialized by using the word "smash", which pre-determines the outcome -- and, does so in a way that says that the outcome has only one possibity: utter destruction and victory)

**(the phrase from this post's title is attributed to Norman Soloman, Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and Associate of the mediawatch group FAIR.)

posted by voxpopgirl | 3/21/2003