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Media Reflects on Prince Harry's Afghan Secret

March 05, 2008 11:41 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
In a world of Web coverage and instantaneous news, could the British royal ever have kept his Afghan whereabouts under wraps?

30-Second Summary

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Prince Harry has returned home after a media leak revealed his presence on the Afghan front lines. He had been serving in Afghanistan since December.

But with the pervasiveness of the Internet and instantaneous news coverage, the question is whether the British royal’s whereabouts ever stood a chance of remaining confidential.

“Slim chance,” reports The Guardian. “There's no point in criticizing anyone involved in this deluded little charade, because everyone acted from perfectly comprehensible motives.”

Ian Stewart of The Scotsman agrees that a media blackout was a dubious deal from the start because “deliberately withholding information” can damage a paper’s contract with their readers, even when the press understands “that sometimes the greater good is served by delaying publication of certain information.”

It was naïve for the British Ministry of Defense to believe the news wouldn’t surface on foreign websites, Stewart concludes.

Still, says Dan K. Thomasson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the British press should be praised for keeping the secret as long as they did, especially in the Internet news age.

No matter the verdict on whether the press could have stayed quiet about the prince’s deployment, the story is yet another example of how new technology has changed the way current events are reported.

It was 10 years ago that the Drudge Report Web site—one of the first sources to reveal Harry’s presence in Afghanistan—broke the story of the Monica Lewinsky affair, which quickly became a national scandal.

Headline Link: ‘Slim Chance for Harry’s Secret War in Web Age’

Opinions & Analysis: Did the press act predictably, or honorably?

Related Topics: ‘Citizen journalism’ and the power of the Web

The Lewinsky scandal, 10 years later

Background: Prince returns from Afghanistan deployment

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