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Christopher Paul

Christopher Paul of the RAND Corp., author of the new book, "Reporters on the Battlefield," a historical study of embedding journalists with units of the US military, was Tuesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On embedding reporters vs. other approaches to war coverage:

"Considered from the perspectives of the press, the military, and the public... the embedded press consistently provides better results than the alternatives."

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On whether the practice has flaws:

"Some better system could be invented, and it is not that it is perfect in all aspects.... Operational security [for military units] is a real vulnerability."

On why embedding would be more difficult if the US fought a technically sophisticated enemy:

"If the military were fighting a peer or near-peer ... one could imagine the embedded press would result in several negative outcomes. One would be [that the enemy] might have sufficiently sophisticated electronic equipment to take advantage of the live broadcast by pinpointing a reporter's equipment ... and were thus able to call some indirect fire on that location."

On the media's need to prepare reporters better for covering future wars:

"It is reasonably likely that the press will once again send underprepared reporters into the field as embedded reporters.... I think [that] is unfortunate. I don't have any easy solutions."