Reading wartime news reports well after the fact can be enlightening. Naturally, the reporters and editors do not have the information that we can have access to many years later. However, it can reveal what they are good at, and what they are not so good at.
Wartime news reporting is exceptionally accurate at reporting the politics of the day. Even during peacetime, reporting is VERY good at this. After all, the information is public knowledge. Reporting also is very talented at political analysis. Almost everything that you see/hear/read has a heavy filter through a political view.
Wartime news reporting is good at reporting friendly losses. Far less information is available to report on in the larger wars. In the smaller conflicts and battles, this information tends to be far more numerous and accurate. Wartime reporting is inconsistent when reporting enemy losses. In low intensity wars, reporting tends to be more accurate. In larger affairs, it is off the mark a great deal more often.
Wartime reporting fails miserably when doing analysis, other than through a political outlook. A classic example is the Washington Post dated October, 15, 1943. The political statements and analysis are first-rate. Militarily speaking, it would appear that although the allied forces were doing well in some areas, the overall situation is not all that bright. I can go into considerable detail here, but at this stage in the war, the allies were so dominate that it is difficult for me to understand how they could have been so far off. Yes, I have much more information that they were denied.
During the Vietnam War, I remember hearing the argument that the
The ‘Tet’ offensive is another good example. In 1968,
Remember the 30 day war between