St. Petersburg Times
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CNN shows 'steel wave' flowing deep into Iraq

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 22, 2003

ATLANTA -- The pictures were a bit bumpy and had enough sand kicking up at times that TV viewers may have instinctively ducked.

That's probably why those scenes packed such a wallop.

"This is live ... real time," CNN correspondent Walter Rodgers said during one of his frequent reports that began airing Thursday night and continued appearing Friday. "These tanks are racing to Baghdad."

Led by the "steel wave" of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, the Army's 3rd Infantry Division crossed into Iraq on Thursday and began rolling toward the Iraqi capital. And thanks to a combination of positioning and technology, CNN was able to take viewers along.

Rodgers and cameraman Charles Miller are the most forward-deployed "embedded" journalists in Iraq, meaning they are among the first to see the vast swaths of desert being eaten up on this three- to four-day movement. And because they are traveling in their own vehicle, a used Humvee CNN purchased in Kuwait and equipped with a specialized tracking satellite phone antenna, they are able to race right along with the tanks and show it live.

Baghdad expels CNN crew

NEW YORK -- CNN found its experienced correspondents silenced Friday, a day when Baghdad was at the hub of the action in Iraq, after government authorities expelled the channel's four journalists from the city.

The Iraqis expressed "general outrage" over CNN's reporting, said network representatives.

CNN said its team, which includes correspondents Nic Robertson and Rym Brahimi, planned to leave for the Jordanian border at daylight Saturday in Iraq.

CNN has also been expelled in the past because the authorities, who can watch CNN in Iraq, say the reporting is too pro-American.

After its reporters were told to leave, CNN continued to report from Baghdad using a freelancer, May Ying Welsh. The network is also hiring another freelancer.

Fox News routs rivals

NEW YORK -- Fox News Channel scored a key ratings victory over its chief rival, CNN, during the first full day of war coverage, Nielsen Media Research said Friday.

Fox averaged 4.1-million viewers for the full day Thursday, CNN had 3.7-million and MSNBC had 1.6-million, Nielsen said.

Industry observers are closely watching the two lead cable networks to see if first-place Fox's ratings lead hold up during a major story. So far, they have.

For many viewers, CNN made its reputation during the first Persian Gulf War.

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