Our Government and the News Media
If you’re paying attention to world news you may have heard that Kosovo has declared their independence this weekend. Some of you may even remember that the United States played an important role in the establishment of a safe Kosovo for its mostly muslim population.
I have a slight connection to this topic and thought I’d share a personal story of how our government and news media work together. If you will indulge me, I’d also like to say how very proud I am of our son Christopher Cook’s role with KFOR helping free the people of Kosovo. Click for Photos
I had been working on a project with CBS News in 1999 when I received a call telling me it was urgent that we launch the project “tomorrow!”. So, before the sun came up I was on Amtrak heading for CBS News in NYC.
When I arrived in the news room the doors were locked behind me. I was told I was there for the day and won’t be allowed to leave until later that afternoon. OK, so I asked how come? “We’re bombing Serbian military targets today but President Clinton isn’t going to announce it until quarter after two”.
“Huh?” Maybe I was naive but I never realized that our government gave the news media leads on what our military plans were. Sure enough as I worked toward my 2:15 PM deadline I watched a wall of monitors showing our jets taking off from aircraft carriers.
It wasn’t a big surprise that we were entering the war but it did surprise me to learn how closely our government and news media works together. Being an optimist I’ll accept this as a good thing. Still it has always made me wonder what the requirements are to get this privileged access? What happens if the news media pisses off someone in the government who controls gets this early information? What do you think?