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News media luvvies & war reporting

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News media luvvies & war reporting

Old 19th Mar 2003, 14:18
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Devil News media luvvies & war reporting

I wonder if I just saw someone pulling the plug on Sky News a few minutes ago. I tend to flick between all the 24 hour news channels (BBC24, Sky News, CNN, ITN24 and occasionally Fox News ) and the frenzied packaging of their news now that war is going ahead is becoming increasingly irritating.

All morning Sky have been giving us live pictures from Fairford and bases in Kuwait with their resident 'waepons' analyst explaining what was being loaded on the various a/c. The B52s at Fairford were being focused on and the analyst was pointing out that the bombers have now been fitted with their underwing weapons dispensers and that they were probably going to be loaded with ALCMs when the signal to Sky News was cut abruptly.

Now, I know that it is speculation by the resident 'experts' (we all know how often the media get it right ) but giving away every element of what our forces are doing in preparation for the upcoming fight would appear to me to be extremely insensitive and giving vital information to the Iraqis which could affect our own forces. The live broadcasts from Kuwait were showing what armaments our Tornados were carrying on that particualr mission.

Do any of you who are following this crisis think that the news luvvies with their incessant urge to be framed with an appropriate backdrop of sandy wastes, military hardware or their own fetishes of wearing military garb, are just taking things a bit too far. I have visions of the backroom producers and directors of these media circuses masturbating themselves into a frenzy with all the crappy videolink input they are getting. You can imagine them climaxing every few minutes as one of their junior reporters sends back a 'package' with more pictures of jet fighters or tanks and wondering how many times they will be able to show it.

Why do the 'anchors' feel the need to bring us the main nightly 'terrestial TV' news from Kuwait City? They are only anchoring the news and the backdrop can be painted behind them anyway.

So, back to my point, are our news media luvvies being irresponsible by allowing the enemy to see live reports showing what ordanance our aircraft are carrying, giving them information that may be of use to them? Historical reports after any action are fine but live pictures, focussed on the ordanance for a particular mission would seem to me to be plain stupidity.
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 14:45
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A poll perhaps Master?
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 15:22
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Danny mein herr

Those of us on the fence are in total agreement, the old saying "careless talk costs lives" is as true now as it was then and the constatnt anchoring of bullitins from places like Baghdad is pointless in the extreme.

That said a few bombs falling on the McDonald's (Trevor not Ronald) and Bashir's of this world would be comically ironic methinks.
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 15:31
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true, thought the RAF seemed quite keen to show off its Storm Shadow missiles.
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 15:36
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News media luvvies & war reporting
I wonder if I just saw someone pulling the plug on Sky News a few minutes ago. I tend to flick between all the 24 hour news channels (BBC24, Sky News, CNN, ITN24 and occasionally Fox News ) and the frenzied packaging of their news now that war is going ahead is becoming increasingly irritating.

You must be very bored and should watch out for RSI and or DVT
The Sat. Uplink went down - or as we say the "bird crashed"

Now, I know that it is speculation by the resident 'experts' (we all know how often the media get it right ) but giving away every element of what our forces are doing in preparation for the upcoming fight would appear to me to be extremely insensitive and giving vital information to the Iraqis which could affect our own forces. The live broadcasts from Kuwait were showing what armaments our Tornados were carrying on that particualr mission.

The MOD Press officers are very careful that they place crews in camera positions where no "secrets" will be compromised.
In the up coming Gulf War the MOD have been keen to have the news crews "inbedded" in Army/Navy/RAF units so they are under direct control as to what they can access. A crew is onboard the Ark Royal for instance. The MOD do not want any Wild Cards roaming the region with "videophones"

Do any of you who are following this crisis think that the news luvvies with their incessant urge to be framed with an appropriate backdrop of sandy wastes, military hardware or their own fetishes of wearing military garb, are just taking things a bit too far. I have visions of the backroom producers and directors of these media circuses masturbating themselves into a frenzy with all the crappy videolink input they are getting. You can imagine them climaxing every few minutes as one of their junior reporters sends back a 'package' with more pictures of jet fighters or tanks and wondering how many times they will be able to show it.

All the News organisations are investing millions of dollars & pounds setting up in the Gulf and want their moneysworth.
Dispite what you think there is a large viewing audience.

Why do the 'anchors' feel the need to bring us the main nightly 'terrestial TV' news from Kuwait City? They are only anchoring the news and the backdrop can be painted behind them anyway.

You might be able to fly a 737 but what do you know about CK
and matt. There is a difference from being an "anchor" and "reporter" - If there is a load of misinformed crap spoken by reporters its because they need to fill the allotted slot time or access the the "bird" - if they have no hard info, they have to invent "The danger is speculating about stuff you cant see"

So, back to my point, are our news media luvvies being irresponsible by allowing the enemy to see live reports showing what ordanance our aircraft are carrying, giving them information that may be of use to them? Historical reports after any action are fine but live pictures, focussed on the ordanance for a particular mission would seem to me to be plain stupidity.

The Media "luvies" have all been through intensive training against gas attacks etc. they have it no better than the troops.
As in other areas of the forum discussions e.g. Bagram etc.
Its better to have someone around to spot what the good and bad guys are up to, the "lovies" serve a good purpose of restaint in front of live cameras....
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 15:48
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Yeh I saw that myself and was a bit supprised, the guy was describing what was loaded on each Pylon as the GR4'sTaxied past, we now know that apparently Storm Shadow cruise missiles and Raptor Recon pods have been deployed.
(whatever they are)
Chaps will hardly be able to move for media luuvies in savil row flack jackets and gucci desert boots anyway.
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 19:04
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I suspect that the mil planners are quite happy to let the world (and by implication the Iraqis), see the 'rolling stock' just as long as they keep the timetable and precise destinations a secret.
 
Old 19th Mar 2003, 19:18
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And Sally Taylor, who's a bit of a favourite on BBC South TV News, was beside herself with excitement as this evening she invited her colleague in Kuwait to give us a briefing on "Troops' Deployment"! (Her words, not mine)

He didn't, of course.
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 19:18
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Grrr I REALLY hope its OK

CNN has just show footage of Tomcats and F18s, announcing that "this was secret film of F 117 Stealth Bombers about to go into action" (quote). I really hope that all concerned in the US, and I mean ALL CONCERENED really know what they are doing.

Regards to all SOPS
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 20:25
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Devil

Is there an echo in here? Vizsla, no need to paraphrase everything I wrote. Most of us can follow a reply if you take care to phrase it sensibly. Sorry if I touched a raw nerve. You must be in the industry then.

I may not know much about CK and matt but I do know that when I see a news anchor linking all the stories from Kuwait City, I still can't figure out why he or she has to be at that location instead of in their regular studio.

With reference to "having to invent something", it's nice to have it confirmed by someone who appears to be in the industry that our cynicism is well founded!

In my past, when I was a soldier and saw real action, I remember one time when we took out a series of trenches and almost shot the journalists who had been 'attached' to the terrorists we were attacking. They were French and soiled themselves quite badly. Not surprising because we gave their positions a 10 minute, continuous artillery shower with 155mm HE before we went in to mop up. They were very lucky and sensibly cowered in the deepest bunker throughout the operation. At least they got to report what it was like on the receiving end of an anti terrorist operation.

We all know how sensible Press Officers and the MOD can be don't we? If they place a camera crew and a reporter transmitting 'LIVE' and give a commentary about what every bit of hardware is that is dangling off the Tornados as they taxi past on their way to a sortie, then I am sure that the Iraqi intelligence services are likely to use that information. They may not know for sure which location exactly is being reported from but they don't have to do too much sussing out. Together with with their own informers or electronic intelligence they have the ability to prepare their defences appropriately.

I know that there is some mileage in showing the size of the forces ready to be unleashed against the Iraqis but the detail that the reporters were going into on 'LIVE' transmissions about the armament on the Tornados did make me feel uncomfortable.

Of course, with all the security we as pilots go through 'just in case we are compromised' doesn't apply to some of the technicians in the news factories. I mean, no one could be holding hostage the family of someone who does know where the reports are being transmitted from, could they?

Finally, why would I get DVT or RSI because I have the TV on while I'm PPRuNeing?
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 20:39
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At least in their ignorance it is difficult for them to reveal important information ...
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 20:46
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With the unfortunate adjunct:-

"At least in their ignorance it is easy for them to reveal important information ..."
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 20:49
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I'm with you all the way Danny, but maybe for reasons in addition to yours. This "instant replay" war coverage, while certainly being good for ratings, has far reaching personal consequences.
If an RAF aircraft was caught on camera getting a SAM up the chuff on landing, who would decide if that footage could be used? Some overpaid luvvie pontificating on the consequences of war, and instead of the CO and the Padre on the doorstep, Mrs Bootscooter SEEs my demise! nice. Hypothetical of course...touches wood....crosses fingers...rubs rabbits foot etc.....
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 21:17
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The media can only film what the Press Officers and Media Ops put them in front of.

The mass TV media can usually only give the detail they've been spoon fed. If the Sky bloke said "Ooh look, Storm Shadow" it will be because someone fed him the info, not because he knows what one looks like.

What journos like these are fed is often disinformation.

I didn't see the Sky Broadcast today when Storm Shadow was described, but those I spoke to who did see it saw only Raptor. I know that an interim Storm Shadow capability was the subject of a UOR, but am less convinced that it has resulted in deployable in-theatre weapons, just yet.

If I were an Iraqi planner I wouldn't want to guarantee to my Lords and masters that the RAF didn't have Storm Shadow in the Gulf now, however, and the Sky broadcast might have sowed further doubt in my mind, and might further complicate my bosses' problems in organising the defences.

However, if I were controlling media ops I would insist on no live broadcasts of missions outbound, just as a sensible precaution.

Bootscooter.
In a war MoD has enormous power to decide what goes out and what doesn't, even when the media isn't relying on MoD facilities to transmit material home. Besides, nothing can touch you with that rabbit's foot. (An interesting experiment that, did it come before Dolly the Sheep or after?)
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Old 19th Mar 2003, 21:24
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Last reply edited for being too maudlin.

Come back safe blokes

But why is saddam not in a frenzy of preparation in Baghdad? Where are the troops?

Last edited by solotk; 19th Mar 2003 at 21:40.
 
Old 19th Mar 2003, 21:59
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Jacko, having never crossed swords with you before, please go easy on me....I tend to stay away from the controversial. However, as you yourself said, "If the Sky bloke said "Ooh look, Storm Shadow" it will be because someone fed him the info".

Also, when we lost an Albert a couple of years ago ( time does fly, so it's probably more like 4) I was flying in the area. Mrs B caught a news snippet that an Albert had gone down, and had that confirmed on Ceefax. Sitting up half the night with worry, she noted that the item had been "pulled" by midnight. She went to bed eventually knowing that the knock on the door would wake her, if she ever got to sleep.

IF a TV crew had been in position at that field, how many times would it have been shown before it was "pulled". In these dys of internet, yo can't keep things secret. Just look at the AZIZ story today.......around the world in minutes!

Cheers, Boots
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Old 20th Mar 2003, 00:02
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Snoop

Jacko, the pictures were being fed 'LIVE' into the studio in the UK and the resident 'expert' was giving a running commentary on what he believed was hanging underneath the Tornados. The MoD may have given the media a prime location to 'frame' their background but the commentator was sitting snug in the studio giving his 'expert' opinion on what the weaponry on the a/c taxying past on the way to the runway. I doubt that the MoD man on the spot had any idea what commentary was accompanying the live pictures.

Yes it may be misinformation or even disinformation but I wouldn't trust most reporters as far as I could throw them. I'm not saying that they would willingly give away something that may be useful to the enemy but I certainly wouldn't put it past some of them to inadvertantly do so in their rush to get their scoop on air before the competition. (Visions of the producer awaiting his or her next orgasmic mpeg from the videophone! )
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Old 20th Mar 2003, 00:13
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Danny, hadn't realised that. Though the point remains that someone decided that what was going on was suitable to be filmed, and by an organisation that would be putting the resulting pix out 'live'.

However, small matters like what should be militarily sensitive matter much less to the civil servants who actually run service PR than what might be politically embarrassing. Hopefully, though, someone in the field decided that this footage (eg this mission) was OK to go out live.

Clearly Sky's in-studio expert can't tell a Raptor from a Storm Shadow, though.....

Booter,
The media is not easily controllable in peacetime, but in wartime the Forces can appeal to their sense of patriotism (ineffective) and threaten to cut off access for future opportunities (more effective) in order to exercise control. Any news organisation which broadcast footage of a Tornado crashing in flames on Ali Al Salem would almost certainly find it hard to get further footage of coalition forces in action.
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Old 20th Mar 2003, 00:18
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Danny,

I'm interested in this element to your post:

"In my past, when I was a soldier and saw real action, I remember one time when we took out a series of trenches and almost shot the journalists who had been 'attached' to the terrorists we were attacking. They were French and soiled themselves quite badly. Not surprising because we gave their positions a 10 minute, continuous artillery shower with 155mm HE before we went in to mop up. They were very lucky and sensibly cowered in the deepest bunker throughout the operation. At least they got to report what it was like on the receiving end of an anti terrorist operation. "

I can't remember too many events prior to your joining the flying communtity where such an action might have been carried out by ordinary British Soldiers against terrorists. Care to expand on your comments?
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Old 20th Mar 2003, 03:46
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Osbo

If you check through the archives of PPRuNe you will see that Danny was in the Israeli Defence Force for a number of years and took part in operations against terrorists.

Put the word Israel into the search function and all will be revealed.
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