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The BBC understands why Operation Swarmer received “high-profile publicity.” Jim Muir files this report, titled “How US assault grabbed global attention,” from Baghdad:
“So how and why did this latest apparently routine combing operation, yielding a few arms caches and netting some low-grade suspects, manage to win stop-press coverage around the world?
The use of the phrase ‘the largest air assault operation’ was clearly crucial, raising visions of a massive bombing campaign.
In fact, all the phrase meant is that more helicopters were deployed to airlift the troops into the area than in previous such operations.
…But the massive press coverage was not just the result of a semantic misunderstanding.
Unusually, high-quality photographs and video footage of the initial deployment were made available to the press towards the end of Day One of what was billed as a campaign that would last several days. Some international media were given unusually swift military embeds to the area…”