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Media Blindness in the Military

| 4 Comments | 1 TrackBack

A while back, I wrote Military Blindness in the Media - And Beyond. Here's another facet of the phenomenon, full of solid suggestions from a national journalist who is also in the Army Reserves, and whose understanding of what was really going on prevented TIME from looking as stupid as Newsweek did just before Baghdad fell. Writing in the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine, he says:

"...despite the success of the embed process and the tens of millions of dollars spent on public affairs infrastructure, relations continue to be strained. Military officers constantly lament that most of the successes in Iraq and Afghanistan went unnoticed, while every little setback or problem seemingly received national attention. Many believe national policy is set by the media intent on painting every U.S. military commitment as an unwinnable quagmire.

They are right.

But who is responsible for this state of affairs?"

The problem, he says, does not rest solely with the media. And he has a few very intelligent suggestions aimed at helping to narrow the current gap.

UPDATE: See also Michael Yon's "Al-Sahab: The Cloud" for a very specific example, that names names.

1 TrackBack

Tracked: July 16, 2005 6:19 PM
Dawn Noon Patrol from Mudville Gazette
Excerpt: IRAQ Another Prayer Request.... [Ma Deuce Gunner - in Iraq] My company had another casualty yesterday. Again, I am not going to mention a name, but he lost both legs from an IED attack. Bastards. He was a young, motivated...

4 Comments

I'm just pessimistic that the measures outlined in the article would work.

The media has already decided what is true; that the Iraq War is just like Vietnam, there is no over-arching threat, and the troops are horrible monsters.

Even repeating embeds or reverse embedding PAOs won't change the mindset, particularly since the higher editors and such are convinced the troops are all Lt. Calleys, every action is My Lai, and the terrorists are minutemen.

The military won't ever get a fair shake from the Press, no matter what it does, any more than a Republican won't be detested in the White House.

The only way it will change is if the public just makes it clear that the media will only get readers, viewers, and listeners, if they have a baseline of favorable views of our troops and basic mission.

Why did Time and Newsweek both feel Iraq was a quagmire (and Afghanistan before that) when they were days away from victory? Top Editors and management view everything from Vietnam.

Remember, the media fights the last war too. That one has the myth that they stopped the evil war-mongering US.

I enjoyed reading the article from a military pov. He's right about the military needing to be aggressive in getting 'specific' news stories out about good success. And I think he's dead-on about follow-ups with those previously embedded with the troops.

They should definitely call them back out, get them involved again, show them the success.

But...

Why is it that Art over at http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/ can put out page after page after page of successful missions over and over again and yet the MSM does not pick up on it except a few print media?

It is due to several reasons, #1 being a bias in the media towards leftist idealism and therefore against the war in the first place, #2 media in general loves to show blood, not success, its easier to get bigger ratings or more feedback from a Moma crying over her dead child than an interview with a new Iraqi Soldier who successfully stopped a terrorist from bombing someone in another city.

Tied to all this is the bias, show an upset Iraqi, tie in the shot with someone who says, if we were not there, this would not be happening and then back to the camera saying, 'well Bob, thats it from another victim in the War on Iraq'.

Senseless junk for senseless people really, but thats the way it is.

Truth is, Chrenkoff and others in their online articles and updates are doing a great job getting the news out about our troops victories, the Iraqi and Afghanistan victories. But the MSM is just to lazy, to biased, or to tied to the plot of death and destrution TV to tell the FULL TRUTH.

Yes, James is right, the Military can and must do more to get the media involved from a US Military perspective in winning the war on terror, I agree completely with many of his points.

But, what still irks me is the fact WE HAVE TO GET THE MEDIA ON BOARD IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Sad... sad are the days gone by of large screen actors like John Wayne, Bob Hope and others in Hollywood who really stood for our troops, that could get notice of TV journalist and even have faith in our country for doing the right thing. Long gone are the days when a major journalist on major Broadcast TV would openly support our country and our troops against tyranny.

So, now its up to the Bloggers, like this windsofchange.net who put up an excellent flash for all to see.

Soon, the blogger will not just have text and type, but media at their control as the expense of broadcasting gets less and less and the media for broadcasting merges into PC/TV. Then will whole new broadcasting companies begin to make a new impact. New players, new actors I dare say and new people to make an impact just like the bloggers are now.

What victories. Iraq was planning to use the Iranian army to train its troops. That doesn't sound like victory to me. Face it the media is spinning the story to look as good as it can be they have to conform with reality.

Tied to all this is the bias, show an upset Iraqi, tie in the shot with someone who says, if we were not there, this would not be happening and then back to the camera saying, 'well Bob, thats it from another victim in the War on Iraq'.

Have you this on tape because this sounds like something that didn't happen.

Good stuff. I have a few quibles, but all in all a good article.
I would say that the distance between reporters and the military is too far apart, and needs to get closer, but as they say at the dances "leave a little room for Jesus". I say this because, contrary to his arguement, many people do feel crime beat reporters are too close to the cops and that the WHPress Corps gets too wrapped up in the admin of the day (last few days are an aberation due to the WHPC preceived personal slight from the press secretary- that is one thing they cannot stand- you can lie to the american public, but not to them is the vague groundrule).
But the military has a lot of work to do. It is hard to compete with blood and gore shots, as people, not just print and TV producers/editors love that stuff. Even though I find it mind numbing, the american public seems to eat this stuff up, car chases, OJ, death and destruction in general. A new school opening in Mosul can hardly compete.
And the military feeding stories? Not a good road to go down. Most people swallowed the Jessica Lynch story, and I am not disparaging her or her saviors, but everyone knew it didn't go down the way the military tried to sell (successfully for a few weeks) the story.
I am not going to even touch on thier handling of the Pat Tillman story.
The military should concentrate on its primary goal of killing as many of the enemy and making sure our young soldiers are safe, leave the spin and stories to others.
But I do hope a few of them take this article to heart- it would help broaden the american publics knoledge and viewpoint.

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