Thursday, September 03, 2009

The MoD and Yon


I mean, WHAT?

Michael Yon has been providing despatches from embeds with UK troops, offering a standard of writing and insight - and just plain information - we get nowhere in the conventional media. His embed just ended abruptly. Why?

The specific problem for me was that MoD cut off the embed with zero warning and no chance for me to prepare. … MoD is giving the reason that my long stay is prompting uproar among journalists who cannot get embed slots. I’ve embedded longer in Iraq with combat troops, for instance, than any journalist of any sort. I don’t buy their backpedalling now that this is public, but even if they are being truthful the truth itself is lame reason to stop me embed. There is no journalist in the U.K. or the U.S. who spends more time in combat. It’s silly to lump me in with the war-tourist sorts who come here for a month or two (usually a week or two). Among those who do come, most rarely if ever go on true combat missions to see what our lads are dealing with.
That's a fact. This unique voice has now moved over to work with American troops.

1 comment:

A.N said...

Hi Peter

No he hasn't. He has moved out on his own into Afghanistan.

The MOD blogs and websites had been running Yon's posts each and every time he put them up. It stuck me as a little strange he would try to level this one at their feet easy as that would be of course. He hinted at something it wasn't then backpeddled when they made it clear they had not ended his embed:

Media Ops Blog:
Michael Yon’s embed with British forces was not cancelled.

Far from it, his embed was extended from three weeks to five weeks and the reports have been excellent - not only have I helped Michael broaden his audience, so has the MOD by publishing his reports on the MOD Afghanistan Blog.

No doubt sometime in the future we will host Mike again"

The fact is there IS a big old queue of journos waiting for embeds. It makes nothing but sense that there would be. And as someone who has experience of journos and the stink they kick up it is quite likely that having extended his embed as long as they had it was causing the MOD heaps of issues. Especially around the elections and with the ramped up hype around Afghanistan. They are of course all chomping at the bit to ensure this war receives the kind of negative slant required for it to go the way of Iraq in terms of public support. But whatever - they cannot limit reporting to Yon.

The idea that Yon should be the only person allowed to report is silly and that he should claim to be is nothing but pure ego.

And that's from someone who would far rather he reports the war than some gimp in the Guardian.

In the end it wound up sounding like a bit of sleep deprived toy throwing.