Skip to comments.Whose Side Is The Press On?
Posted on 03/28/2003 8:12:19 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
No one can accuse me of having any heartfelt admiration for the press. As for the elite and dominant media, it would be more accurate to say that I hold it in contempt. Whether one is inclined to acknowledge their obvious leftward philosophical tilt or not, their tendencies to omit vital information, to ignore history, to sensationalize and actively create drama is not debatable. One week they might whip up hysteria over child abductions, though there has been no increased occurrence. Another they could dub a summer "the season of the shark", in spite of attacks remaining steady, but regardless of the angle of the moment, the willful creation of the news by those tasked with simply reporting it is perpetual.
At a time when the world is faced with global terrorist organizations, their alliances with outlaw regimes, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, clashing cultures, the meltdown of yet another purported "world government", and the aligning of one-time allies with genocidal enemies of the United States, one would think that there is plenty to report, and drama in boatloads. Throw into the mix, a major land battle against a sadistic regime, in an area of the world replete with sadistic regimes, and embellishment and contrived worries are just a bit superfluous. With the morale of our troops in the field and that of the public at home on the line, distorting the facts is more than reckless, it's treasonous.
It's clear that Al-Jazeera and other state-controlled media outlets in the Middle East would like nothing more than to see the United States defeated, militarily or politically, and retreating with its tail between its legs. Their European counterparts, who both reflect and foment irrational anti-Americanism, savor the thought as well. But exactly whose side is the American media on?
An objective view of the war in Iraq thus far would reveal a coalition force, American and British mainly, that has moved hundreds of miles into enemy territory in a few days, the fastest advance in military history. It has total control of the air with open and bustling lines of communication. They have effectively nullified the ability of the Iraqi regime to attack its neighbors, thus diminishing considerably the risk of regional escalation. The much-valued oilfields have been, by-and-large, secured intact. It is closing in on Baghdad from three sides and the forces of Saddam Hussein are ineffectual, cut off, and taking approximately 100 casualties for every one they inflict. At the time of this composition, coalition troops killed in combat numbered 24. That's right, 24 combat deaths in an invasion of a country of 23 million people! When factoring in accidents, friendly fire and disgruntled soldiers killing their comrades, the number is still under 50. While each death is tragic, this is unimaginably low. Looking at the American Media, however, we would see a force that is in disarray, with a war plan that should be abandoned and leaders who should be sacked.
Five days into the war the LA Times ran an article under the headline "A Battle Plan Ambushed?" and spoke of "deadly ambushes, helicopters falling to earth and American POWs being paraded on Iraqi television". It then asked, "Has the U.S. battle plan come unraveled? Was it misconceived from the start?" To that point, exactly one coalition helicopter had fallen to earth as the result of enemy fire and there had been one ambush resulting in sizable losses. The word "sizable" is valid in relation to this conflict, and virtually no other. And while unfortunate, it altered the overall situation on the ground not a bit.
A Washington Post piece from the same day, "Shock, Awe and Overconfidence", said a coalition victory was inevitable, but declared, "this will happen despite serious strategic miscalculations". USA Today stated the Bush Administration had become a victim of "its own wishful thinking". The New York Times described the offensive as "bogged down". And a CBS News website column asked "Are We Winning?" and answered, "Not That Cut-And-Dry".
During an interview on 48 Hour's, Secretary of State, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell was lectured on military tactics by CBS's Lesley Stahl, who claimed U.S. and British forces had been left "exposed" and that supply lines had been cut. NBC's Andrea Mitchell faulted the Bush administration with "broad miscalculations" and with building "unreasonable expectations". Newsweek's chief political correspondent Howard Fineman, in a radio interview, said the engagement in Iraq, barely a week old, had the look of "Vietnam". Mr. Fineman, sounded giddy as he admitted he was already "looking for cracks" in the president's support in Washington and for the emergence of antiwar voices saying "enough". And most poignant of late have been the flurry of questions and condemnations over Iraqi civilian deaths.
With all due respect, which isn't much at all, what in G-d's name are these people talking about? I've asked the question of media talking heads before, but never has it been more richly deserved than now. Charges that "the plan" has failed are of no worth whatsoever, because the details are not publicly known. If it has indeed failed, here's hoping that it keeps right on failing, because under it we have made huge progress in a very short amount of time, with losses that can only rationally be described as tiny. As it stands, the Iraqis are monumentally outmatched and have been outfought in every way that can be measured. To the extent that progress has been slow, it is not due to any ineptitude on the part of our military or its leadership, or formidability on the part of the Iraqis. Instead it is due to the stringent standards that have been applied to our conduct of the war, designed to safeguard civilians.
Charges that the Bush administration "misled" the American people, with the promise of a "cakewalk" are unfounded and have been totally unsupported in the barrage of criticism. There were no such guarantees nor rosy predictions, but rather words of caution about the "struggle ahead" against a "brutal dictator" with "no regard for human life".
If unreasonable expectations exist they are largely the result of a media that, lacking any foundation, believes war (real war) can be waged in less than a week, without soldiers or civilians dieing. They believe that war should be quick, but bloodless. The problem is that the quicker it is the bloodier it is going to be. They believe that U.S. military casualties are unacceptable, but so too are Iraqi civilians casualties. Minimizing the risk to our soldiers requires the broadest and most thorough use of force. But that, by definition, would kill more noncombatants. The more restraints placed on the application of force, the higher the risks to our military personnel.
Even more egregious than the irrational, and often mutually exclusive, demands on our conduct of the war, is the degree to which our leaders are made to answer for the deaths of noncombatants. If there is anything known about the regime of Saddam Hussein it is that they have the means and the will to kill Iraqi civilians, cruelly and in mass. Giving credence to their charges places undeserved faith in thugs who are known to torture children, who feed live prisoners to dogs, and who kill entire families on the slightest whim. Rather than doing civilians any good at all, the sight of coalition generals and political leaders being interrogated by the press, can do nothing but encourage Hussein's followers to produce as many dead women and children as possible.
Vietnam established quite clearly that patriotism has no place in polite media culture. Free from this distasteful notion, the press can remain "impartial" in a struggle between our democratic republic, and a brutal dictatorship. They can be "unbiased" when considering the positions of those who willfully destroy innocent life and those who incur expense and accept risks to spare it. And they can sap morale with misleading and nonsensical reporting weakening our ability to fight, without regard for the danger it brings.
Whose side is the press on? Unknown. But they can't possibly be on the side of the United States. That would be unprofessional.
Can Dust Storms, Chemical Weapons And Lying Media Reports Threaten Operation Iraqi Freedom?
Source: Toogood Reports; Published: March 28, 2003; Authro: Mary Mostert
Is The Mainstream Press Watching The Same War The Rest Of Us Are?
Source: Toogood Reports; Published: March 28, 2003; Authro: Perry Drake
They like to say "Neither, just reporting the facts"... but they distort them to go against the USA.
THIS JUST IN: "Americans who only watch ABCNNBCBS and only read the Compost, NY Slimes, La Slimes, Reuters or AP, are at risk for developing depression, shingles, and other DSM V symptoms and signs.
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I think this war has really taken off the cover to reveal exactly where everyone stands, and it is telling to me to see how so many of the press are standing on the wrong side of the line.
Journalism is the profession of using the PR power of high-speed printing, radio, and TV for commercial profit. One of the central tenents of that profession is to avoid flame wars with your competitors. Journalists are conformists.Free from this distasteful notion, the press can remain "impartial" in a struggle between our democratic republic, and a brutal dictatorship. They can be "unbiased" when considering the positions of those who willfully destroy innocent life and those who incur expense and accept risks to spare it. And they can sap morale with misleading and nonsensical reporting weakening our ability to fight, without regard for the danger it brings.
They do it because it is profitable--and they enter the business only because they are willing, nay eager, to profit in that way.
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