Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pentagon seeking fans to cover its wars

      News that the Pentagon is examining recent work by reporters seeking to be embedded in U.S. troops raises an interesting question. Although the Pentagon denies it ever denies access based on a writer's work, journalists should always be skeptical.  The question in my mind is: why would newspapers, which would never allow an entertainment figure to ban critics based on their favorable coverage, allow the military to do the same.

     I remember shortly after Kim Carnes hit it big with the song "Betty Davis Eyes" when her representative called me (I was entertainment editor at The Milwaukee Journal) seeking advance publicity for a concern. "Kim will talk with your reporter," she said, "but only if the reporter is a fan. She doesn't talk to non-fans."  Needless to say, we didn't interview her since I'd never assign a fan to an interview, and her career tanked shortly afterward.

     Yes, I realize the media is filled with fanboys and unethical hangerson, but I can't imagine journalists allowing anyone to dictate their coverage.

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