Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Journalist Back from Iraqi Front Lines Calls Embedded Strategy "Unparalleled Success"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Journalist Back from Iraqi Front Lines Calls Embedded Strategy "Unparalleled Success"

Article excerpt

Oregon native Peter Sleeth addressed the World Affairs Council of Oregon's Monthly Headline Forum May 22. Sleeth, a reporter with the Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper, covered the Iraq war as an "embedded" journalist with the 82nd Airborne Division, an outfit he described as "elite"-which, he said, "put him on the front lines immediately."

Introduced as a former logger, carpenter and construction worker with a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oregon, Sleeth showed slides depicting U.S. troops' life on the ground in Iraq. In his opening remarks on the Pentagon's policy of embedding journalists, Sleeth said, "I think it was an unparalleled success and that the American public was served. And the military liked it because they felt mistreated by the press."

Sleeth, who has also written for the Denver Post and the Salem, OR Statesman Journal, described his experience in Iraq as his "best assignment ever," and said he would gladly go back. The Oregonian and hundreds of other news agencies, he explained, had participated in a nationwide lottery for the chance to place "embedded" journalists with U.S. troops. The cost for each journalist embedded on the ground was $25,000, he said.

While mainstream sources touted the advantages to the public of having embedded journalists with the U.S. military in Iraq, a minority has judged the plan as part of the Pentagon's pro-war propaganda campaign. One critic of the practice compared the reporting to calling a football game. …

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