Embedded reporter catches flak

A journalist embedded in Baghdad with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) writes in Editor and Publisher about the two wars fought in Iraq: one he witnessed and wrote about and one Fox News covered. While Fox showed celebrating Iraqis tearing down statues of Saddam, Ron Martz witnessed and reported on "bloody street fighting in Baghdad." Many of the countless letters Martz received from readers questioned his patriotism, ancestry, and sexual orientation--and one woman suggested he tune into Fox News to get unbiased news coverage!
The criticism was not limited to me. They even criticized soldiers for doing what all soldiers do - complain. When I voiced complaints from soldiers about lack of mail, water, and spare parts, they were called "whiners" and "crybabies." And when I quoted one soldier who had been under fire almost daily for four weeks complaining about faulty intelligence, one reader suggested he be stripped of his uniform and sent home in disgrace.

A friend recently told me she believes TV has significantly "dumbed down" the American public and lowered the collective IQ. After seeing and hearing the public reaction to this war, I am beginning to believe she is right.

I thought embedded print journalists were doing the public a service by giving them a close-up, personal view of the war without it being filtered through military minders and censors. Apparently, the public, at least that part of the public that prefers to get its news from TV, does not want that. What they seemed to want from this war was for the coverage to fit their own biases and preconceived notions. No other views were tolerated. And TV seems in large part to have given them exactly what they wanted.
(Thanks, Andy.)

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