Deconstructing Coverage Technologies
This war is different because of the technologies covering it.
The military's open access model for mass media organizations, particularly by embedding journalists within the armed forces has significantly changed TV coverage. There is so much rich media information that wasn't available before that it saturates coverage. The realization of Al Franken's spoof on war journalists with satellite dishes strapped to their head covering the inch-by-inch movements of heavy machinery and the ready access to human interest stories of troops -- keeps the focus abroad. Domestic issues and protests simply are not getting past this filler. Particularly because local news broadcasts are pre-empted.
Weblogs are engaging more people in open analysis and the Internet is providing a mass form of alternative news. Contrast to TV coverage, alternative paths around this filler are allowing protests and domestic issue Daypop to the top of interest. Google News is providing a less biased global view an perhaps the most immeadiate source if something big hits.
TV coverage is still ideal for that big shock and awe moment we are all waiting for. It is also leveraging cutting edge simulation systems from such defense contractors as Evans & Sutherland for the first time to provide views of the terrain with superimposed guesses on troop movements.
It is hard to imagine the average person not being enthralled by TV coverage in the coming days because technology is providing greater access to the battlefield. Of course, that doesn't lead to substantive debate on the issues of war or consideration beyond the awe of military technology.
Related: Scott Rosenberg on CNN and the Denial of Death