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Rather expresses doubts about war coverage plans

February 14, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — CBS News anchor Dan Rather says he hopes that embedding journalists among U.S. troops if there's a war with Iraq will help coverage, but he has doubts.

Rather is cautious because of experiences during the Gulf War, when much of the material gathered by journalists traveling with the military was not allowed to be printed or aired until long after the war was over.

"There's a pretty fine line between being embedded and being entombed," Rather said Thursday at a news conference at which CBS outlined war preparation plans.

At least eight CBS News teams, one including White House reporter John Roberts, are being trained to go along with the military, the network said.

"I have trepidations," Rather said. "I hope it works. I think it can work. We'll see."

Roberts said he believes there's a greater understanding in the military of the need to have journalists doing their job in wartime. If Saddam Hussein unleashes chemical weapons, it would help to have the media recording it, he said.

"There's no better way to put the lie to Saddam's statements than to have the eyes and ears of the U.S. media there," he said.

Other networks are making similar plans for battle if war happens.

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