Gen. Franks a Fan of Embedding

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By: Lucia Moses

Gen. Tommy R. Franks, chief of the Central Command, praised the behavior of embedded journalists in Iraq.

“Embedding will happen again, and I remain a fan,” he said April 28 during an interview with Associated Press President and CEO Louis D. Boccardi that was aired at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual convention here.

Franks likened the experience of embedded reporters to those of soldiers, saying, “The further one gets away from the point of action, the less fidelity one has in terms of what is happening.”

“Journalists were very, very cooperative” when asked not to report sensitive information, Franks said.

In a Boccardi-moderated panel discussion that followed, AP journalists also approved the experiment, saying it gave them an in-depth, accurate look at what the U.S. military did in Iraq, and that they weren’t given restrictions beyond those agreed to beforehand.

“There was nothing that was off-limits,” correspondent Chris Tomlinson said.

Both Franks and the journalists agreed that reporting from the embed perspective has its limits, though.

“It’s also like looking through five or six soda straws at the same time,” Franks said. “For those soda straws to have meaning is the challenge.”

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