Friday, July 13, 2007

Is embedded media syndrome coming to Canada?

A very interesting story at examines whether if, with Deceivin’ Steven having failed utterly in building public support for the mission in Afghanistan himself, the government and our military leaders are now using our soldiers to sell the war.

As the Rideau Institute's Steven Staples sees it, this is very much part of a concerted effort by the military. He points to a departmental communications strategy, produced by National Defence and released via Access to Information that foretold such a strategy.

"They felt that soldiers were held in much higher esteem by the public and would be much better salespeople for the war than politicians," he says. "Politicians are reluctant to debate anyone who isn't also a politician, especially someone in uniform."
In addition to the new strategy of forcing opponents of the conflict to appear as if they’re “against the troops” the article also suggests the media are falling for the strategy, and instead of questioning the spin are starting to fall into line with government policy much like the American media abdicated its responsibility before and during the invasion of Iraq:

Of course, no matter how meticulously planned a p.r. strategy, its ultimate success - or failure - depends on whether the media accepts the message. And, at the moment, it's safe to say military officials elicit a far less confrontational response from reporters (at least when compared to the rough ride politicians tend to receive).
"I've seen many journalists fall head over heels for soldiers in uniform and it absolutely colours their view of the war," Staples said. "Canadian journalists used to chide their American colleagues for their coverage and now they're almost worse."
An interesting hypothesis. They’re treading a dangerous line. Canadians do have the utmost respect for our military members. And part of that respect means reacting harshly if we sense they’re being used as political pawns.

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