Thursday, May 19, 2005

"A Deep Anti-Military Bias in The Media"

My post earlier in the week referenced a column in the NYT, in which the writer had a very difficult time explaining the point of the "insurgency" in Iraq and what the terrorists were actually trying to accomplish. In that post I speculated that the source of this misunderstanding, at least in part, was a huge lack of knowledge on behalf of the media when it came to military strategy and operations.

Linked above, is the transcript of an interview that Hugh Hewitt had on his show last night with Terry Moran, ABC's White House correspondent. The substance of the interview was primarily about the Newsweek debacle, and it is a very good read. However, this interesting nugget of information was revealed by Mr. Moran as well:

HH: Let me ask you something. Major K, a major in the Army who is reporting from Iraq on his blog all the time says, all this being said, it is no small wonder that a gulf has opened between journalists and the general public. I think even the most John Q. Sixpacks know when they are being fed a line of blank blank blank. My brother called me a journalist once during a conversation about this blog. I was offended. That is a general impression among the American military about the media, Terry. Where does that come from?

TM: It comes from, I think, a huge gulf of misunderstanding, for which I lay plenty of blame on the media itself. There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing it's job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor.

I agree with Moran that this is a very dangerous situation. In general, I think many reporters do a poor job of trying to understand the business, industry, or policy that they are covering, and as a result, misinform their listeners. This is bad enough when they are covering say the pharmaceutical industry, but as we have seen can be outright deadly when they discuss foreign policy, or military operations.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to hire reporters who have actually spent time working in the areas that they are assigned to cover.

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