By: Joe Strupp
Fewer than 200 journalists are still embedded with U.S. military units in and around Iraq, according to military officials, who told E&P Wednesday that the vast majority of embeds have left since troops took over Baghdad two weeks ago. At one point, some 775 reporters, photographers, and other journalists were traveling with U.S. forces.
“The numbers have dropped tremendously,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Fanto, who spoke by phone from the U.S. Central Command in Qatar, which has taken oversight of the embed program from the Pentagon. “A lot of individuals have either gone on as ‘unilaterals’ or just gone into Iraq on their own.”
The exact number of embedded journalists as of Wednesday morning was 185, according to Fanto. He said three of those were with air units, and the remaining 182 with land-based units. No journalists are embedded any longer with Navy units or special operations forces.
Despite the drop in the number of participating journalists, Pentagon officials said the embed program will continue with no date set to end it. In fact, some new embeds are still arriving with new U.S. troops. Blair said he is still getting requests from media organizations for embed slots, but does not plan to add any more openings.
See E&P‘s complete coverage of Iraq and the Press.
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