2.from Normandy To Grenada

PrintPrintEmailEmail

Some military leaders are learning that popular wars against hated enemies may be an obsolete conception. And the technology of war coverage, involving instantaneous electronic communication, may soon make control of war news almost impossible. The old techniques of field censorship no longer work in conflicts in which journalists from many countries are able to cover the news on both sides, as in Lebanon and Central America today.

Everyone should be worried that some distinguished democratic governments have responded to these new realities by abusing the traditional relationships among the military, the press, and the public. For its part, the press must be more understanding of the hostility it has aroused in the military, more willing to explain its needs and obligations, and less rigid in its arguments about absolute protection under the First Amendment. And governments must realize that a free press is trustworthy. During the hostage crisis in Iran, a number of American journalists, including this correspondent, learned that some American diplomats had escaped to the nearby Canadian Embassy and were hidden there. The story never appeared. Secrecy was assured. The public was told only when the Americans were safe. It can be done.