Because even leaving the hotel to pursue a story is so dangerous, Hughes says that now the safest way to get a good story is to be embedded with U.S. troops. “Generally, all it takes is one email to some lieutenant,” he says. “A few days later, you’re in a sardine can bumping along Highway 1.”
Hughes joins John Burns of The New York Times, photographer Jason Howe and Reuters photographer Alastair MacDonald all on an embed in an area called “the triangle of death.” They first receive an hour-long military Power Point presentation. “You have to remember you are only getting one side of the story, and it’s a very convincing narrative,” MacDonald says.
Hughes then meets up with Jackie Spinner, a reporter from The Washington Post, who is hunkered down beside a concrete wall, trying to file a story by satellite. She laments her dependence upon Iraqi stringers and the military for information. “I can’t be my own eyes and ears anywhere,” she says.