Monday, April 23, 2007

Soldiers and the Media

A Soldier expresses his feelings toward an AP photographer (AP via BLACKFIVE)

Some days a reporter can't catch a break. He's out there actually going into battle or at least on patrol alongside some American soldiers he takes a picture and they reward him with the bird. Now why would they do something like that?

Perhaps THIS might help explain.

For those that will actually read and understand what they have read, you'll see that there is a lot more to what is going on in Iraq than CNN or FOX or any of the others care to tell or have time to tell you about. At first I was willing to think that the fact that all these "news" organizations chose to report about were the VBIDs, dead soldiers and other assorted atrocities was a product of the business of news. If it bleeds it leads. People want to hear about the latest fantastical train wreck of a story...if it doesn't have a bite then the viewer doesn't want to see it. In some ways I feel that is true, but at what point do those organizations have a responsibility to provide context and a sence of the overall picture?

Many, many people will tell you that what you see on TV or read about in the papers is not the entire picture of what is occurring in Iraq. So why does the common perception differ so much from what I see with my own eyes? Why do they contribute continually to the cause of their country's enemies on the field of battle? I suppose their reasons will differ from news room to editors desk, but the end result is the same. The media has become a de-facto propaganda machine for the AIF and either the majority of Americans will have to see though this and demand change or we can continue this half assed approach to war that magnifies our mistakes, minimizes the enemies savagery, encourages the enemy to fight on, and in the end strings out the conflict and extends the misery of all parties involved.

To be sure there have been some reporters come over here and report favorably about what is occurring. And while I am sure the guys in charge of this thing would like 100% favorable coverage, I am also pretty sure that right now they would just settle for fair.

The military is by no means free from blame is this situation. The miss-steps of PAOs and the difficulties that people wishing to embed has been well documented by Michael Yon and others.

It's just really sad that we end up not only fighting a fanatical enemy, we also battle rhetorically our own countrymen who refuse to even consider that what we are doing here might just be the right thing at the right time. I'm sorry we aren't completing our business to your timetable folks but no one EVER said it would be easy...at least one one that actually knew what they were talking about.


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