Here comes the world’s first TikTok war

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be captured in incredible detail by smartphones and social media. This changes everything.

SPECIAL REPORT: A major war has once again broken out. 

And once again we’ll be talking about what we know about the conflict and why we know it. 

Twenty years ago, the US invaded Iraq with the intention of removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government. We watched the war unfold on TV, especially on cable TV outlets like CNN. 

These news outlets got their raw footage and information mostly from three sources. The first was talking heads at Pentagon podiums — Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and their ilk gave us the George W. Bush administration’s official perspective. These presentations were punctuated by vetted footage showing airstrikes and battle victories. 

The second was “embedded” reporters. Journalists who were approved by the pentagon were taken along with US troops and streamed live footage from military vehicles rumbling across the Iraqi dessert — and from the front lines in the war. 

And the third was “Baghdad Bob,” Hussein’s beret-wearing official spokesman, who presented the opposite view from the Americans. When the Pentagon reported that US troops had entered Baghdad, “Baghdad Bob,” whose actual name was Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, said that US troops were nowhere near the capital and were being badly defeated by Iraqi forces. The world was divided over who was telling the truth, and there was no way to tell (until “Baghdad Bob” fled).

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