It's historic, but it seems like something out of science fiction. Television reporters, "embedded" within state-of-the-art Army tanks and armored vehicles and equipped with videophone cameras, are transmitting accounts of the Iraq war in real time. This is a journalistic and technological breakthrough, and the immediacy of the whole thing is enough to amaze even seasoned anchors.
There was NBC correspondent David Bloom last week, almost jauntily accompanying a U.S. convoy crossing the Iraqi desert. "That's not Interstate 405 headed for Bakersfield," said Tom Brokaw. "That's the 3rd Infantry Division headed for Baghdad."
Walter Rodgers of CNN, traveling in a 20-mile-wide convoy of more than 200 tanks—a "huge wave of steel" he termed it—provided remarkable sights as he rode past several decaying, bombed out enemy tanks from the 1991 conflict.
At one point in the coverage, Rodgers reported that a tank commander had chanced upon a Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert, mistaking it for a possible Scud missile depot. Upon inspection, the soldier discovered that it contained nothing but goats.
When a mother e-mailed CNN's Aaron Brown to thank the network for showing her son's tank platoon in live action, the anchor choked back tears. Tears of empathy, maybe tears of pride.