Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview on CBC's Hour

Scott Westerson is from Portland, and used to own a contracting business building gardening structures. Suddenly, he quit his job, and became a citizen embedded journalist with both American and Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Initially, he spent a year filming a documentary that will be coming out entitled At War.

Some footage is detailed on the show's blog.

For those Americans back home, George Stroumboulopoulos is a wonderful interviewer, and I wish I knew about him prior to moving to Canada.

When I listened to the interview, I couldn't help but be a philosopher. The interview got me thinking. An embedded journalist is "in the thick of things." By going to the war zone, the journalist attempts to bypass both distance and bureaucracy. These are in direct opposition to learning the truth. We cannot feel for our American or Canadian soldiers if we don't know what they go through. The attraction of the embedded journalist is to make us feel by providing us, as did Scott Westerson, with a "raw" depiction of what our soldiers experience. Somehow, the rawness of embedded journalism is more real, more -- shall we dare say it -- truthful. Is it more truthful though?

I have nothing to offer except some curious skepticism if such embedded journalism does "get to the heart of the matter" in a way that mainstream media does not. Certainly, it is different.

Secondly, consider another point Westerson makes about war. Westerson praises the solidarity he feels for the soldiers manifest in live combat exchange.

Just some thoughts...

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