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Iraq

Desperate Iraqi Yazidis Rush Toward Relief Chopper, With CNN Correspondent on Board

IvanIraqCNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson accompanied an Iraqi Air Force helicopter emergency aid delivery in northern Iraq today. Two Kurdish Peshmerga machine gunners began opening fire on suspected targets as they flew over ISIS positions toward Mt. Sinjar where Iraqi Yazidis remain trapped.

Watson told Wolf Blitzer that as they approached, they could see the Yazidi waving makeshift white flags. Once the aircraft landed, dozens of them rushed toward the chopper. But they weren’t after the diapers, condensed milk, water, shoes and food on board. Instead, they began throwing themselves into the helicopter. In all, about 20 civilians were rescued.

“I’ve been doing this job for more than 10 years, Watson told Blitzer. “I have never seen a situation as desperate as this, as emotionally charged as this, and I’ve never seen a rescue mission as ad hoc and improvised as this.”

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Mediabistro Course

Podcasting

PodcastingLearn to develop, create, and launch your own podcast! Starting October 23, Steve Belaner, the host of the weekly podcast The Gamut, will teach you how to determine the goals of your podcast, perfect your concept, contact and book guests, market your podcast, and get your show up and running in just a few weeks. Register now! 
 

Airstrikes in Iraq


Just before 9amET, the Pentagon announced U.S. military aircraft conducted a strike on ISIS artillery in Northern Iraq.

CBS News began a special report promptly at 9amET anchored by Norah O’Donnell and Maurice Dubois — who had just finished anchoring the live edition of “CBS This Morning.” David Martin was at the Pentagon for CBS. ABC News began a special report at 9:03amET, interrupting the start of “Good Morning America” in the mountain time zone. Dan Harris anchored along with Martha Raddatz in Washington. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie broke into programming at 9:04amET, again interrupting the mountain time zone editions of “Today,” with Kristen Welker at the White House.

CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on the strike at 8:54am from the White House. The cable news networks then went into rolling coverage. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, who had planned to devote today’s “Daily Rundown” to the 40th anniversary of Watergate, instead has been covering the president’s announcement of humanitarian airdrops and that start of targeted military strikes.

Developing…

NBC News Story on ISIS Militants Uses Months-Old Footage

LiveLeakNBCRichard Engel‘s “NBC Nightly News” story Tuesday night from Iraq highlighted video from LiveLeak showing the deadly march of the Sunni militant group ISIS. Unfortunately, the video is 10-months-old, according to TrackingTerrorism.org.

Engel was careful to note the video had not been verified by NBC News, but he was also not clear about when it was shot, leaving the impression with viewers that it could have been more recent than it was.

“Although our experts verified the authenticity of the video and the actions depicted in it, translated the conversation, and identified the ISIS militant involved, unfortunately we were not able to determine the date this footage was shot,” an NBC News spokesperson tells us.

After TVNewser brought this issue to light, the network added this language to the video captions online: “Note: Video in this report of ISIS militants stopping trucks is undated and may have been released several months ago.”

Back to Baghdad for TV News Crews

clarissawardForeign network news correspondents continue to make their way into Iraq as terror group ISIS marches toward Baghdad.

ABC’s Terry Moran and NBC’s Richard Engel reported from Erbil for Friday’s evening newscasts, while CBS News had two corespondents in-country, and the only broadcast with a correspondent in Baghdad. Holly Williams is reporting from Erbil while Clarissa Ward is in the Iraqi capital.

“Having covered Iraq for many years during the worst of the sectarian violence, it’s very sad to be back here under such troubling circumstances,” Ward told TVNewser during a break from reporting today. “The Iraqi people are clearly quite terrified of what lies ahead of them and they’ve already suffered so much.” From 2003-2007, Ward was an assignment editor, field producer and later a correspondent for Fox News Channel. In 2007 she joined ABC News as a foreign correspondent before jumping to CBS in 2011.

Ten years in the field has taught Ward that sometimes you have to improvise. Because much of the crew’s gear was confiscated at the airport, the lighting for her live shot on “Evening News” was by way of a flashlight. The low light was also a way to keep a low profile. Ward says the Iraqi capital is on edge at the moment, making the situation perilous for residents and the media.

“Baghdad is an extremely tense and difficult place to operate at the moment and so one has to be extremely cautious.”

Anchors Reflect On 10 Years Of War In Iraq

As we reported this week the war in Iraq turned 10 this week. TV news anchors and correspondents who were there have been reflecting on the coverage.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recalls retreating to a bunker with a gas mask during a scare:

ABC’s Martha Raddatz talks to the “PBS Newshour” about her coverage:
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The Iraq War: 10 Years Later

10 years ago, “Shock and Awe” kicked off the Iraq War. It was a made-for-TV war, with explosions rocking the skies above Baghdad, and correspondents reporting live on cable news from their hotel balconies.

TV news not only covered the war, but promoted it as well, regularly featuring guests who beat the war drum, and ignoring those that had opposing views. Sometimes, as The Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson notes, it was a vicious circle:

Perhaps the most notorious example of the Washington-media nexus over Iraq came when Dick Cheney appeared on “Meet the Press” in September of 2002. He cited the lead story in that morning’s Times as he talked to Tim Russert (“I want to attribute it to the Times,” he memorably said). The story, by Miller and her colleague Michael Gordon, said that Hussein was busy using aluminum tubes to help build nuclear weapons. The Bush administration had leaked that story to Miller. The circle was complete.

The war has not been forgotten. With the President making his first mideast trip of his second term, cable news is finding time to look back at Iraq. Throughout the week a number of segments about the war are on tap at the “big three” cable news channels, nestled in between the other day’s coverage.

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Christiane Amanpour: My First Big Break

Her first big break was the Iranian Revolution. Her dream was to be a foreign correspondent. In this episode of My First Big Break, Christiane Amanpour talks about how escaping Iran with her family was the first step of a journey that took her from a local NBC station in Rhode Island all the way to the front lines of the first Gulf War as a reporter for CNN.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Pres. Obama’s Oval Office Address: News Notes

President Obama’s second Oval Office address was carried on the four broadcast networks as well as the cable news networks tonight.

On NBC, Brian Williams anchored. On ABC Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos shared the set. Harry Smith anchored on CBS and Shepard Smith on FOX.

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Following the address, FOX and CBS were first out, followed less than 30 seconds later by ABC and finally NBC. Williams had NBC News correspondent Richard Engel on set for a debrief. Engel reported live last week as the final combat convoy left Iraq.

Click continued for cable news notes…

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Cable News Notes: Covering the Final Combat Brigade as it Leaves Iraq

Engel_8.19.jpg• MSNBC remained in rolling coverage all night of the final U.S. military convoy as it made its way out of Iraq and in to Kuwait. For much of the night it was a tri-anchor situation with Keith Olbermann in New York, Chris Matthews in Boston and Rachel Maddow in Baghdad. Incoming primetime anchor Lawrence O’Donnell shared the New York set with Olbermann. The network had, in Olbermann’s words, “a world exclusive” with NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his cameraman Craig White, live, embedded with the final convoy to leave Iraq. White was David Bloom‘s cameraman in April, 2003, when the NBC News anchor died during the U.S.-led invasion. Seven years later, Engel and White used the so-called Bloom mobile to report the final troop departure.

Said Maddow at the top of the 9pmET hour, “The reason no one else in all of TV and all the world is able to bring you the image that we’ve been able to broadcast … and no one else can show you footage like this is because NBC has technology to do this like no one else has.”

This was the Bloom mobile’s first trip to Iraq since the 2003 invasion. It’s been used in the U.S. for everything from hurricane coverage to following political candidates. In the 10pmET hour Engel interviewed a sergeant who’d served two tours in Iraq: the first was during the invasion. Iraq “is a lot better place for the people,” said the sergeant from the 1st Infantry division. “I’m glad that we were able to do something good for them and come around and close it out on a good note.”

• On CNN, John King‘s 7pmET show was in and out of coverage of the convoy departing. Coverage accelerated during Rick Sanchez‘s 8pmET hour, slowed down during “Larry King Live” and picked up again during AC360 with John Roberts filling in. The anchors checked in with CNN correspondents Arwa Damon in Mosul and Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon.

• Fox News first mentioned the troop movements during “Special Report” at 6:10pmET, led with the story and reported it extensively during FOX Report at 7pmET. No mention was made during “The O’Reilly Factor” which is pre-taped earlier in the evening. Shepard Smith anchored a live update at 8:12pmET during “The Factor.” Coverage was sporadic during “Hannity” at 9pmET and “On the Record” at 10pmET.

Broadcast Networks Pulling Full-Time Correspondents From Iraq

As discussed in today’s Media Menu, the New York Times’ Brian Stelter writes about the broadcast news networks redeploying full-time correspondents from Iraq to other regions of the Middle East. Joseph Angotti, a former VP of NBC News, says in the article he “could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces.”

Stelter writes the networks, who would not talk on the record regarding the decision, will “maintain skeleton bureaus in heavily fortified compounds” in Iraq.

But the diminished coverage there means more coverage in other countries. “The television networks are trying to add newspeople in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with expectations that the Obama administration will focus on the conflict there,” he writes.

As for the cablers, “CNN and the Fox News Channel, both cable news channels with 24 hours to fill, each keep one correspondent in Iraq,” writes Stelter.

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