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thedrifter
07-07-04, 08:45 AM
Jim Carey: Is The News Media Biased Against The U.S. Military?

July 6, 2004

Let me begin by saying that not everyone in the news media is guilty of reporting and writing news articles that are obviously skewed against U.S. policy and the U.S. Armed Forces. Only a large majority of them. Nor am I suggesting that their reporting is always biased so as to depict events involving the U.S. or our military in a negative, obviously slanted view that purposely leaves out any positive accomplishments or beneficial achievements. Only most of the time. At least that's how it all too often appears to me.

While the media continues its steady drumbeat claiming that they regularly report both sides and are "fair and balanced" or only reporting the facts, I submit that it is all just more media BS and opinion. The truth is that the majority of them are NOT fair and NOT balanced, and they do NOT only report the facts as they say they do-rather, most of the time what they call "the facts" seem to be carefully chosen items that support their own premise or theme. Thus, the majority of the time, they only report the facts that make the USA and the U.S. Military and the performance of our armed forces appear in the most negative of lights and with the most negative connotations, thus resulting in the most negative conclusions by their readers and viewers. In my view, it is obviously neither fair and balanced nor accurate to say "we report, you decide" if only the negative is reported. What possible "you decide" conclusions can the reader draw other than that things are going lousy or that we are fielding ill-trained troops when THE TRUE FACTS clearly show that nothing could be further from the truth.

What makes the news media do this? What makes them slant the news by reporting only those facts that support their own views in their story [and all too often, their own OPINIONS disguised as facts] and then constantly and continually, ad nauseum, tell us that they're reporting both sides and all the facts. To every grunt in the field and every American guy and gal that's ever been in-theater anywhere, all you need to do is read a single American newspaper or see a single U.S. TV Newscast to know firsthand that what the press is often reporting is pure, unadulterated, mostly baloney, constantly and continually slanted towards singular negative incidents when there are hundreds and thousands of real, accurate, readily-available positive accomplishments and achievements happening all around them every day? These negatives are put out by reporters who, with a straight face, slant their reporting [which is interspersed with a few facts in case anyone checks out the accuracy of their data] as though what is being reported is a true and accurate portrayal of what's really going on throughout that theater or that country. What makes them do this? I've watched this go on for the past 40 years of my adult life, so believe me, it's nothing new. But what I don't understand is why?

I smell a rat here. It seems all too clear to me that if the news WAS NOT slanted and biased, it wouldn't always be so far away from the facts that are known to be true by people in our armed forces that are actually serving on the scene. In fact, the only one point in time when the reporting seemed to me to be right on target-with actual facts being reported as they were happening-was when the USA and Coalition Forces went into Iraq last year and the units had imbedded reporters right there with them. No matter which TV channel you tuned into, they were all reporting the same things, which seemed to me to say "must be right since they're right there on scene, and I can also see on TV what they're reporting about so they can't slant what's going on this time." Come to think of it, there were even attempts back then to slant things towards the negative-each time the tanks or APV's would stop, some reporter would begin to question whether we were now "bogged down" and "is this turning into another Vietnam quagmire?" I have to admit that I truly enjoyed one report where an exasperated tank commander who was answering these kinds of dumb questions had to resort to a "single-syllable logistics 101" reply to a bone-headed reporter by saying, "No, we're not bogged down. We're stopping because we need to put gas in the gas tanks, the troops haven't eaten in 18 hours, and some of them have to go to the bathroom on occasion."

But that's all changed now. The embedded reporters seem to be gone from Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars were won in hours and days, not months or years, and the mop-up and stabilization was not as clean and perfect as the news media thought it should be [is anything, ever?]. But lots of very VERY GOOD THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. Iraqis that didn't have electricity before the war now have it. Iraqis that didn't have clean water before the war now have it. Iraqis have now taken over management of their government and are moving towards free elections. Saddam and his sadistic sons are no longer free to throw people off buildings to their death, nor able to chop off hands or heads at will, nor able to rape and violate women and children at their whim. Truly HUGE accomplishments have been made to the Iraqi man, woman and child on the street in Baghdad. But while some of these positive accomplishments that will benefit the Iraqi people have occasionally been reported, the vast focus of the reporting seems to have been on almost anything and everything that is anti-U.S. or seemingly even favoring the enemy. To paraphrase Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean Kirkpatrick, "The blame-America-first crowd is alive and well" and in my view, as in the past, many if not most of them seem to be working in the American, British and Arab press.

Don't believe me? Then just pick up a newspaper or watch any TV news channel, and take the time to mentally note the number of negative articles and negative comments compared to those that say anything at all positive, or that report any of the good that has been accomplished by our American troops or the American effort in Iraq [or Afghanistan, or anywhere]. My experience has been that there is a HUGE SLANT towards the negative, which is hardly fair and balanced reporting. I will admit that it does usually include a few facts, but is also interlaced with mostly opinion and bias. The media phrase "we report, you decide" is then to a degree only partially accurate, but if these facts reported are mixed throughout with bias and opinion or are "facts" carefully and slantedly chosen by either the reporter or the news editors to only favor their own views, then almost every reader and every viewer cannot help but make the wrong decision or come to the wrong conclusion because the reporting was not at all fair and balanced and the opinions slanted in the direction of the political views of the reporters and their bosses. Pray tell, how is someone living in East Cupcake, USA going to ever come to an accurate conclusion if they have to depend upon these nonfactual observations and carefully chosen biased film segments and sound bites of a media [both reporters and editorial policy setters] that, as I recall from reading about it, regularly and admittedly in a vast majority vote for the most liberal candidates and generally support a left-leaning anti-military point of view? As my Dad used to say "ya can't get there from here."

So what can you do about all this? In my view, plenty. Here's just a few ideas that I submit that every GI and marine and sailor and airman AND ALL OUR MILITARY VETERAN SHIPMATES AND COMRADES can do to help make sure that all the good that's being accomplished and all the solid professionalism that's being demonstrated daily by every guy and gal in uniform is made known to the American public, as well as the rest of the world.


First, let's celebrate our freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but don't let it be constantly and always used against us. Take the time to write Letters to the Editor taking them to task for false and biased and slanted reporting when you know the truth because you're right there where it's happening. It's your right as an American to speak out [Caution: Don't reveal anything classified], and you're the only on-scene counter to all this biased reporting and slanted news.

Always keep the truth as your ultimate goal. When the news media gets it wrong, let them know about it. Most TV Channels and Newspapers have an Ombudsman or Managing Editor listed on their web site, including their e-mail address, where you can send them an e-mail from in-theater telling them that they're not telling the truth and you know the truth BECAUSE YOU"RE THERE ON-SCENE. Fellow Military Veterans, we need to take on this task when we can for the guys and gals in theater getting shot at who don't have the time or safety or access to focus on an effort like this.

Be sure to register and vote. 2004 is an election year. One of the few remaining ways you can truly make your voice heard is to be a part of electing our national and Congressional leadership that makes the decisions as to where and when our military gets deployed and how well or lousy you get paid. I don't care if you're liberal or conservative or do or don't belong to any political party. But VOTE it's your one chance to make yourself heard in a world where the free press and free media has become so slanted and biased and cynical that your voice or opinion are no longer heard by your fellow American citizens.


continued........

thedrifter
07-07-04, 08:46 AM
Don't forget to include your family and friends and fellow veterans in these efforts. Make sure they know the true facts that you are seeing and experiencing and that they know you consider the false reporting that misrepresents the truth as encouragement to the enemy and all too often places your life in danger. Since so many GI's and Troopers these days have e-mail access, be sure to CC all these folks whenever you send a Letter to the Editor or communicate with a TV Station or their Editors and Ombudsmen. Get everyone involved so that the truth gets published and the rest of America gets to know the truth-if not from the news reporters, then from you.
I just finished watching a TV Talk Show Program that had a bunch of journalists talking about journalists and journalism. They readily confirmed that what I've talked about here is actually going on every day. They were, in fact, agreeing with each other that much reporting today IS NOT FAIR AND BALANCED. They agreed that much of today's news coverage IS SLANTED AND BIASED. They agreed that when one of their fellow journalists gets wounded or killed or beheaded by the enemy, they are very much guilty of giving that massively more coverage than when some brave guy or gal serving their country in the armed forces is wounded or killed. They agreed that coverage of enemy prisoners in Iraq "being frightened by guard dogs" or harassed by prison guards was outrageously given massive coverage for weeks and weeks, while the brutal beheading of Americans by the enemy, including "having their heads sawed off live on the internet while they were still alive" only seemed to merit a few days coverage in the "fair and balanced judgment" of the news media's reporters and editors. I personally find this "making the U.S. look bad sells advertising" conduct by the news media to be outrageous and disgusting, and the fact that they are fully aware of the wrongness of all of this and is readily admitted by their fellow journalists, doesn't seem to faze them or ever cause any corrective action. The attitude seems to be "so what" like a former president said, we do it "because we can do it" and the program then segues to the news program and the negative stories from slanted viewpoints and selected facts and sound bites grinds on. In fact, one of the journalists closing the talk show said words to the effect, "Journalists and journalism today is truly more cynical than ever before in history. It's almost breathtaking and impossible to keep up as press and media cynicism grows daily." Pretty shocking to hear that this is how the news media feels about itself, yet neither they nor anyone else ever seems to take any action, internally or externally, to fix it.

Shipmates and comrades, I hope you're as tired as I am with all this. I urge each of you reading these words to commit to doing something about it. Commit to just 5-10 minutes a day to send one e-mail Letter to the Editor to correct an obvious untrue press statement. If you will do that-if every guy and gal in uniform will do it, if every military veteran in America will do it-possibly, just possibly we will have an impact.

Surely the American people deserve to know that they are getting the truth and the facts from our news media, don't they? Aren't the public airways licensed to present truth and accurate facts to our fellow citizens? Surely it's not too much to ask to require the news media to clearly tell us when they're publishing and broadcasting their own biased opinions and philosophies, and also equally clearly tell us when they're really reporting unbiased facts?

That's not too much to ask, is it?

I don't think it is, when it's our honor, reputation and professionalism as military men and women that are all too often being trashed!!!


Ellie