This is so reminiscent of the shit in Vietnam, the USAID (read CIA) briefings they'd give at the Rex Hotel in Saigon. Most attended them just for the ham sandwiches they passed out--the only reason to take a note was if you intended to poke fun at something, because the information you got was all shaped, politcal, if not outright fiction. It's also reminiscent of the unpleasantness in El Salvador. Most of the mainstream journalists I was familiar there with practiced "hotel journalism," as described in the New York Review of Books article found here:
I urge you to take a few minutes to read it--it's absolutely the best piece I've read on the subject. Very atmospheric, very affecting.
It seems little has changed--the only difference is that now, due to "embedding" and all else, a journalist is less able to get at the truth and in much more peril.