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Apr-01-2008 18:23printcomments

Salem-News.com Iraq Coverage Put in Holding Pattern

"Hurry up and wait!" is a term we have learned to understand very literally.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Tim King in Kabul, Afghanistan in November, 2006. Photo by Lt. Janet Arencibia, U.S. Navy

(SALEM, Ore.) - We've been doing everything possible to prepare for our coverage of Oregon Guard soldiers in Iraq that was due to begin this week, but now our reporter, Tim King, has been placed in a holding pattern due to an unforeseen snag with regard to a federal government form that apparently was missed.

This is a temporary delay, of up to 30 days.

Otherwise, the plans are all in order, and Tim's overseas embed with the Oregon Guard has been fully approved with the commands in both Kuwait and Iraq, with travel orders waiting his arrival.

The problem that prevents Tim's departure this week for Kuwait, and ultimately Iraq, involves a government form that has to be filled out to enter Kuwait called an "in-country theater clearance."

"We were hoping nothing would pop up at the last minute that we had neglected to do. Unfortunately, here it is!" said Bonnie King, Salem-News.com Publisher.

"We want to make sure every 'T' is crossed though, so we'll just persevere and get Tim there ASAP. He may also be required to take a course in "Terrorist Training" with the U.S. government. When he went to cover the war in Afghanistan, training was waived as he is a former U.S. Marine, but he may have to complete the training before visiting Iraq."

"Tim's reports mean some of the only up close and personal video news coverage the Oregon soldiers in a number of units based in Iraq would receive during their time there. We hope Tim can still get in within the next 30 days after meeting the additional needs of the government."

Our coverage in Afghanistan last winter lasted for two months and was seen by Internet visitors all over the world and also on the Portland, Oregon FOX station's 10:00 News through Tim's news reports and in two half hour documentaries that aired after Tim's return.

The Oregon Guard has also extended another opportunity for Tim to go with them to Iraq in August. That particular deployment would be a movement of several Oregon National Guard soldiers and Tim would accompany them into Iraq after undergoing 6 days of training at an Army base in Georgia.

Tim's coverage of Oregon Guard activities in Afghanistan was well-received as fair and positive, and concentrated on the mission of the soldiers and their day to day life.

We are genuinely sorry for this delay and we look forward to getting Tim into place and of course we will update you on when the coverage will begin, here.

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Henry Clay Ruark April 22, 2008 11:25 am (Pacific time)

To all: It is all too true that our own government is too deeply involved in distorting much media coverage for its own internal political interests, but never forget the ongoing indomitable, intense dissent we get from many still open sources like this one...the saving grace we must continue at all costs.

Henry Clay Ruark April 22, 2008 11:25 am (Pacific time)

To all: It is all too true that our own government is too deeply involved in distorting much media coverage for its own internal political interests, but never forget the ongoing indomitable, intense dissent we get from many still open sources like this one...the saving grace we must continue at all costs.

Samson April 6, 2008 9:45 am (Pacific time)

I do not feel bad for what I experienced or did while in Vietnam, other than our military pulling out at a critical time that allowed for such a horrible bloodbath that is still happening now all over Southeast Asia. I also know many Vietnam veterans who are serving today, including several with the Oregon National Guard. In fact I exchange email with a number of close friends over there on a weekly basis. Hopefully you will run into these people and hear their stories of observable success in Iraq. As you know you can get many different opinions. For example you can ask someone say in Ashland about their viewpoint on a topic and get just the opposite opinion from someone in Keizer. Ditto for our military. Kind of like buying a house: location, location, location, except also add: experience, experience, experience. It's been my observation that the majority who are in combat infantry units over there feel good things are happening in most all of Iraq, except for a few places. Not unlike what we have here in the states, some places are very unsafe to go to, day or night. I would also say that people like Brian DePalma and Mark Cuban are probably not their favorite film-makers. Maybe that's why "Redacted" did so poorly at the box office? Military personnel are much better informed today than we were in Vietnam, whether that is a good thing, I really don't know. In fact I am discussing that issue today with a friend currently in Iraq who is also a Vietnam vet.

Tim King April 5, 2008 1:59 pm (Pacific time)

Samson, thanks for adding that valuable and interesting insight. That is exactly what I am talking about. When you leave a firebase you are already in the area where anything can happen. I'm sorry for what you guys went through in Vietnam and I have major, serious respect for your service. There are still guys serving today who were in Vietnam too, not too many but it really is recent history.

Samson April 5, 2008 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

I recall several journalists in Vietnam that would frequently go on different missions/patrols/ambushes with us. One time we did not get back to our firebase for nearly 3 weeks, and there was no way to fly him (Barney) out because of our stealth status. The reporter with us essentially became an infantryman, he wanted to survive, and he was pretty glad by the time we got back. Had he been active duty he would have received a purple heart and several awards for heroism. He was a Korean War veteran so combat was nothing new for him, but it just goes to show that it's best to be prepared for anything in a combat situation. Things can go south in a hurry, and you want to make sure you have a good honest working relationship with those you interact with.

Tim King April 5, 2008 11:53 am (Pacific time)

No, I understand what you are saying Vic and the embed thing is different from wars prior to these Middle East conflicts. In Vietnam press was allowed plenty of freedom but they could live in Saigon and other places in relative safety. That ends up being a big piece of it from our perspective; that being able to get in and get out in one piece is most important. I know Brian De palma expressed surprise when a former embedded reporter said that he had a large degree of freedom in what he reported from Iraq, and I know that is the perception. I took exception to David's Goebbels analogy, that's all. Comparing the work program I take part in with the Nazi propaganda minister is pretty far off track. I think in the near future I will write a piece about this and go over some of the "requirements" that are placed on reporters. Some of those are not showing the faces of POW's (something that only benefits the people we are fighting) not to jump the gun by announcing any casualties before their family has been notified, etc. It did not seem very sinister at the time and even somewhat reasonable. When you look at the history of war photography, starting with Matthew Brady and moving up to my heroes Robert Capa and Dickey Chapelle, you see that most of the great images are from people hanging out at least, with American troops. To me it is better to get the images than not, and I am personally glad for the embed program as it allows an option. In a perfect world I would not embed, but even then I would want to spend times around our military forces.

Vic April 5, 2008 10:12 am (Pacific time)

Cant speak for David, but I interpreted him as saying basically the same thing I did....that our govt controls the press tightly for the reason of keeping honest reporters sidelined and controlling what the public hear. Maybe I'm wrong...

Tim King April 4, 2008 4:10 pm (Pacific time)

David, I can't say I understand your post to mean anything other than the fact that you are not familiar with my work. Our drive is honesty and we strive hard and make a lot of sacrifices in order to present it here regularly. So, for the record as an embedded reporter I have had major access to things in the war theater, I do speak from experience. You put "story" in quotes and that clarifies everything from your POV, because there aren't thousands, there are millions of stories waiting to be told. Wouldn't you rather see someone covering it the best that they can, rather than nobody at all?

Vic April 3, 2008 8:58 am (Pacific time)

Maybe the DOD realizes that Tim is not just another "parrot the official line" reporter. In that case, he may never get in.

David Crosby April 3, 2008 2:15 am (Pacific time)

Isn't it a little odd how much it takes for a person to get to Iraq and report the "story". An embedded press is a bought and controlled press ! Goebbels couldn't have been prouder.

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