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Commander and Analyst Speaks on Media in Iraq

By Brian Bohl

Fox News Military Analyst and former Lt. Col. Scott Rutter gave a lecture, sponsored by the Young Americans Foundation and the College Republicans, on his experiences covering the war in Iraq and his time as military leader.

Rutter was in command of over 850 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division during the early stages of operation "Iraqi Freedom." He retired from active duty in November 2003 after a distinguished military career in which he received numerous awards, including both the Silver Star and Bronze Star for valor.

Rutter said the mainstream media has done a poor job on accurately depicting the situation in Iraq. He claimed non-embedded reporters are too concerned with chasing the glamour story than on reporting the actual news.

"I saw the success of the embedded press during the initial stages of the war and then I saw the failure of the actual press after the embedded press left," Rutter said. "Accidents do happen and if there was one accident the press would be all over it and really sensationalized civilian deaths."

The fact that many positive stories go unreported can also be blamed on the government's reluctance to provide the press with those accounts. Often the media is not privy to certain information, Rutter said.

"There are many good news stories of doctors coming in and helping the Iraqi people. The government could have done a better job of selling it to the public," he said.

The former Lt. Col. was adamant the problem with the press in Iraq now is the reluctance of the reporters to go out in the field. He said the reporters currently in Iraq came after the fall of Saddam Hussein and stay in hotels instead of forming a professional relationship with the troops.

"No one in the media right now wants to go out on patrol," Rutter said. "The reporters, they have now got off what I call the 'happy bus.'" How can they make a judgment as to what the Marines and the Army are going through when they are not even experiencing it?"

Rutter spoke positively on current military operations in Iraq.

"The Army has stability operations taking place that will hopefully end the cycle of violence. There are other success stories, like the success of the Iraqi national guard, that are not getting the press it deserves."

Hearing a first hand account of the situation in Iraq and an informed opinion about the media and wartime coverage made an impact with many of the assembled crowd that attended the event.

"I thought the lecture was pretty interesting. Mr. Rutter did a good job of explaining what he experienced in Iraq," said freshman Rich Adragna, a print journalism major.

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