Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blogging from the Theater...

Michael Fay - Combat artist. Art work for the USMC.

CAPT Z. - Company commander in Afghanistan. Handled PSD in Iraq.

Bill Roggio is a blogger going to embed in Iraq. He is former Army, embedded there. Flew from Kuwait to Iraq via C-130.

Fred w/In Iraq for 365 - PA soldier for Stryker. Thinks the Stryker is the best vehicle there. Lost good friend, SGT David Mitts (sp.?). Wife was pregnant, baby lost to SIDS.

Jeff "Dadmanly" - Asked how he comes up with those names. A 1SGT. Helped get everyone through the training. Did not lose anyone.

Lost a person. Fay with 2nd Platoon, crossed over. Often embeds with the platoon leader. It was direct fire - they went in. 4 dead 11 wounded. Two Navy Crosses could come out of it. Doesn't draw dead Marines. Draws battle scenes. Marines liked him being around.

In Afghanistan. Operate out of FOB. Battalion CO didn't even know about blogging. Troops loved blogging. Lots of donkeys up there. Once a week. Kept mouth shut. Started with No flak. Clear and concise guidelines. Chain of command was informed.

Came in, provided operational and tactical. Got his experience over time - lots of reading. Riggio wants the complete story. Ramadi is still a problem. Get the correct story. The media has fallen down. Not the government's job. Disparate views are more clever.

In Iraq for 365 discusses the thing from the PAO. Army's satellite system can get live feeds to media. Good stories go to the medium-size markets. Toledo, Galveston, etc. Gatekeepers chose not to use it. Why he started blogging. Not just soldiers. Lost an interpreter, Samir. His death only got coverage in the blog. Help the American people feel both the pain and the joy.

(As an aside, David Hunt is hilarious - and he's good for laughs on this topic)

Dadmanly assigned to military intelligence (no comments... yeah, right, and I have a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt - we know what military intelligence is...). Found out about a mortar strike - flipped his wife out. Profiles of his company CO, sergeants, the Combat Service Support soldiers. These were National Guard. Every one was ready.


Next time we go. What is going to happen?

Capt. Z - Safety first. People need to be careful what they ask for... new googles with cameras.

David Hunt: "The press sucks."

Capt. Z - Blogging is not a problem. They have the software and technology. Cell phone and photo phone. They get the embedded reporters. The American people... give them the truth.

Dadmanly - There is waaay too much info out there. Seven messages out there... out of 5 million. Media reports get distorted due to lack of background - and too much data points. What is needed is someone to say what the datapoints mean....

Iraq365 - Does not want live coverage of the battlefield. It can be stopped internally. Not a tech guy.

Roggio wants to know if the Marines approved this? Chain of command knew he was blogging. UCMJ. Is liveblogging appropriate? No rules against it at the time. Reporters cannot do live feeds. Embeds given ground rules about OPSEC. Troops took pics of themselves.

Hunt: Be conscious of things.

Dadmanly - It is BDA for the enemy. You can't have that. Technology is pervasive, and it's getting worse. Control or co-opt. A lot of what he read was too much. Guys will do it any way. Have a skill identifier. Get training in blogging, tech, OPSEC.

Hunt: Senior leadership is needed. *baby cries* "Now that is live blogging."

Iraq365 - Rumors happen in minutes. Insurgents had their own IO. al-Qaeda is very good at it. PAO is putting info out. Live feed out to quell the rumors. Tsunami came, then nobody cared.

Marines did not allow embeds.

Hunt discusses Marines who used the press to promote themselves.

Iraq365 - Some PAO units did well, others don't. Units are not in theater all the time. Meritorious Unit Citation. Press releases out with Iraq365.

Fay - seen drawings in public. On websites (NYT, WSJ) Washington Post. Army has nothing like Fay.

Dadmanly - Army PAO does better. CENTCOM has made numerous efforts. Lots of into - have to know where to look. Information is there... but MSM will not access the info. You'd see Paul Smith, immediate 24-hour cycle. Pages other than A1.

Fay - .mil sites will have info. The military journalists tell the story. MSM and people can't access it - or won't access it.


Media gets its butt roasted again. They deserve it. Media is not trusted, but people can't find it.


Reservist speaking - what bugged him was to watch an event unroll, and then see a little tickertape on CNN or FoxNews. None of the stuff got in the news to help victims of a bomber.

More comments for the media. Fay is discussing the media. Fay says no sense is provided.

Capt. Z - Riots - and a bad image.

Iraq 365 - Describing an attack from a mosque. Media reported they entered a mosque. PAO had to correct record. Yahoo still claimed the Americans entered the mosque.

(Another rant).

PAO speaks - network got the footage of attack from a mosque. Network did not use the footage. The blogs are the watchdog of the media.

Dadmanly - Self-correction is happening. It took a period of time. Drawing power - it will take time. Confirming information.

HUNT: Elephant in the room: American public is not as affected. Until more people get involved, the reaction may not happen. Casualties are miniscule. More participation would be better.


An Iraqi spoke on this... very good point.


Fay - Iraqis are good people, but they need people. If the WV National Guard was here... we'd eventually need to go. Media asks the wrong question.


Iraq365 - We need Iraqis to step up.


Will conference make a difference?

Fay - First conference. If he makes a difference.

Capt. Z - It already has, with turnout.

Roggio - It will make a difference. Good to put faces to names.

Iraq365 - Most substantial victory. CENTCOM representatives figuring out how to bring blogging into the Army. Gives Marines credit (grudgingly).

DadManly - Great thing - helps people get a sense of identity. If they regulate themselves. Technology will explode. Those who do it need to do it right.

Is MSM becoming more biased?

Roggio - In somes cases MSM has become more biased. Some journalists have reached out. Challenging the establishment. Can't blame MSM - look at Rather.

Iraq365 - Good reporters use blogs.

Dadmanly - Proof in the next journalism classes. Journalism 101 by the wayside.

Fay - We're filling a gap. People sense they are not getting the truth. All PAO asks is that they stay in their lane. Just let us know. Share it.


Roggio - Never carried a gun - he wasn't allowed to.


Advertising person.


HUNT: Draft armies. VOLAR because of being smaller. American forces are the best in the world.

DadManly - Doesn't want draftees or people who don' want to be there. If the media fails us, it is neglecting to uphold military service. People would be willing to serve if they got it.

Iraq365 tells of a documentary. NHNG embedded a filmmaker. Virtually embedded, worked with PAO. Mike Moriarty was one of five. Filmn shows up at Tribeca. The War Tapes. June 2 nationwide.


Over There gets raves from Hunt. Iraq365 and Dadmanly hammer it.


Fay promotes Pat Dollar. Young Americans project that he hopes gets put together.

It took four and a half years to get 9/11 films. Iraq365 can't watch this stuff. Never liked Over There.

And Jarhead gets hammered.

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