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Embedding Journalists in Iraq

            When a country is at war, the general population's main sources for breaking news are the government and the media, which are sometimes one in the same. In conflicts since the Vietnam War, the amount of first-hand reporting has diminished. As a consequence, the government became the source for much of the war-related information. However this has changed during Operation Iraqi Freedom with the "embedding- of journalists and also with the increased number of independent reporters. Some questions we must ask then are: "How do reporters go about reporting the details of the war responsibly?- and "Do these reporters, by reporting these details, put ours and our Allies' troops at risk?-. In regards to the information which the government provides (such as reasons for going to war, Sadam's military capabilities, and developments during the war), the issues of "How do reporters determine if this information is credible?- and "Who was the source of this information and could that person(s) have any ulterior motives in making that information known to the public?-. .
             Deciding on what to report and how to report it poses an ethical dilemma for journalists covering the war. One aspect of this is how journalists report on the casualties and if they should actually show pictures of dead soldiers. Respected journalist Ted Koppel, who is reporting from Iraq, does not believe that broadcast journalists should be "notifying the next of kin through images of the dead soldiers- (Kurtz). However, he does say, "But I think you do show bodies, shooting them in as responsible a fashion as possible."" He goes on to say "In time of war we don't want to soft-pedal what is going on here. That would be contrary to the whole purpose of our being here. One thing you cannot do is leave people with the impression that war is not a terrible thing."" (Kurtz). Aly Colon, Diversity Program Director and member of the Ethics Committee at the Poynter Institute, presents a set of questions to help journalists decide what pictures of casualties to show, if any.

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