They’re Dropping Bombs Out Here

In March, 2003 the United States Armed Forces lead the war against Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), officially capturing Saddam Hussein and ending his regime that was reported throughout the world through news outlets and personally recorded experiences by both service members and journalists unlike the first Gulf war, Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

In today’s generation, news can be accessed 24/7 through social media and internet by simply being mobile. We’re even able to report the world around us in real-time without having to rely on news reports or our government, subjecting ourselves to possible censorship.

This wasn’t the case in 1990. Let alone the thought of a 24-hours news agency to report breaking news from around the world seemed unrealistic and to compete with “The Big Three” American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for news coverage was impossible.

Created in 1980, Cable News Network (CNN) was the only American 24-hour basic cable and satellite news channel owned by Turner Broadcasting System. CNN was the first all news channel to provide 24-hour coverage unlike other networks.

In order to keep people informed and the government held accountable, journalist should not be restricted in how, when and where news is reported. Especially when it involves the lives of men, women and children, even those who serve in the U.S. Armed forces serving both stateside and overseas during peacetime and war. No one news agency should have exclusivity to report just because they are a major corporation, nor should journalism should be restricted to what the government says.

In the Home Box Office (HBO) movie, “Live From Baghdad,” 2002 the initial invasion of Operation Desert Storm is exclusively reported by CNN. CNN was the only news channel to have a four-wire, a two way communication device installed in their hotel room at the Al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad. This allowed them to have direct uncensored communication to CNN Headquarters in Atlanta to report to the world with permission by the Iraqi Government.

Iraqi officials initial intention was for CNN to report news after it was censored by them. However, for CNN journalist, their main focus was to report to the world everything they could report on about Iraq and out do the other news agencies by landing an interview with Saddam Hussein. Also, limiting how the American Government reports war as they did during the Vietnam war that resulted in the death of 58,220 American service members. CNN journalist didn’t want to be lied to and have the American Government dictate the war.

In  “Live From Baghdad,” we see how both the American Government and Iraqi Government wanted news to be reported in their favor. For the Iraqi Government, they wanted to select the stories being told. For the American Government, they would rather report the news in press briefs according to what military intelligence had gathered.

On January, 16, 1991 during the initial U.S. lead airstrikes on Bagdad. While at the Al-Rasheed Hotel CNN reporters were able to broadcast the bombing in real-time to the world unrestricted and uncensored as reporters from other news agencies seeked shelter in the basement of the hotel. For CNN, they brought the world to see war as it unfolded in real time for the first time.

If it wasn’t for CNN’s news team to have a journalistic duties to report the initial bombing then both the American and Iraqi Government would have had their way in what was reported.

War is nothing new and wars has been fought many times between the same governments. To better understand the relationship between government and war, we need to know that journalism can be trusted and factual even if we don’t agree or believe what is going on. To better understand journalism and dedication the movie, “Live From Baghdad” is a must if you want to know about hard work to keep people informed of what’s going on in real-time, putting yourself in harms ways. Through journalism , we were also able to see the cruelty and humanism of this world.