James Lacey

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James Lacey is a Washington-based writer "focusing on defense and international affairs issues". [1] He has written for Time Magazine and the National Review.

He was embedded with the 101st Airborne during the war in Iraq. In an article published in the journal of the Naval Institute, Proceedings, he bemoaned his poor treatment despite his enthusiasm to write pro-military stories.

Lacey says he "had an agenda that correlated exactly with the military's" but still couldn't get the military to answer his journalistic queries, even though he was desperately trying to write pro-war puff pieces. "If given the right access, I told them, I probably could get the cover of a major newsweekly several times over the course of a couple of months. In addition, I had several national opinion magazines lined up that would publish all I could send them. I also was in conversations with producers of a network TV news magazine, and they were interested in doing a piece along the same positive lines."

But even so, "I still found virtually my every attempt to get information from public affairs officers (PAOs) to be akin to getting water from a stone. Many times I sat looking at the phone in disbelief at some answer or non-answer a PAO had given me. ... Sometimes, I had to sit back and count off the reasons I should not just start writing mean little articles about the military."

He has some advice, though, for ways the military can improve things. For starters, "assign a captain/lieutenant to each of the major media organizations. I like to use the term 'reverse embed.'" Also, "The military would also do well to look into funding various media operations," even though it might "give the appearance of a state-controlled media."

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