John Cole of BalloonJuice (one of the first blogs I read) is having issues with some things that Hugh Hewitt has said about the media and the military.
Hugh Hewitt's so-called 'support' of the military does it far more harm than it does good.
What is particularly disturbing is how he and others have artificially conflated the Newsweek error and the NY Times story. This is no accident, but an act of intentional and outright propaganda. The Newsweek story may have been inaccurate, but the NY Times story was not. To read Hugh, you would think both were inconsequential and simply the result of a media hostile to the military. "Nothing here- just the military-hating mainstream media."...
Is the media anti-military?
For the record, I don't believe that it's anti-military. While the biases of many journalists lean left, there's nothing to indicate that they are inherently anti-military. There are many positive MSM stories about the military (just maybe not in the big outlets).
However, there are some very left-wing, anti-Bush, people in the media, and they look for anything to make the administration suffer. In their search for Nixons, they also want to uncover "Failure". "Quagmire". Etc. If they have to run over the good work of our military, they will. If they have to highlight for months the scandal created by a clerk and a few MPs, so be it (bear with me a moment). If they foment hatred around the world for Americans, no big deal...
There are some great journalists out there. But the statements made by the management/representatives/editors of the MSM - por ejemplo, Dan Rather, Eason Jordan and Linda Foley - represent slander.
And Newsweek, here and abroad, is stoking the fires of Anti-American sentiment. Why? I don't know, but I suspect it is to sell magazines (and, yes, for me it's personal with Newsweek). I don't so much blame the reporter as I do the management/editors.
Is Newsweek that naive to think that the pictures they put on the cover and the stories that they write won't affect our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or our ability to fight and win the War on Terror?
You might have been able to argue against that statement before the Koran in the toilet fable. But not now.
I want a fair media (just as John Cole does). If the New York Times published one positive Iraq story for every ten Abu Ghraib stories during the Abu Ghraib fever of last year, I would be surprised. So, are there no success stories worth mentioning in the New York Times?
Abu Ghraib was a legitimate story that should have been reported. I've written that many, many times and probably mentioned that in every single interview I've given over the last six to nine months. The soldiers involved in Abu Ghraib should be and are being punished. And Abu Ghraib is being rehashed in the latest assault on the military (they see a pattern in prisoner abuse). However, stop the comparison to My Lai.
Abu Ghraib was no My Lai Massacre.
Not even close.
Yet Abu Ghraib was on the front page of the New York Times over thirty times during the initial run of the story. I don't have issue with the reporting of the story. I take issue with the way it was used and milked dry in order to influence people's opinion of the war, of the military and of the Bush Administration. Those are management and editor decisions - usually not not in the purview of journalists.
I agree that media should be free to report the truth. And I think that the media should be held just as accountable as the troops who commit abuses. If the media commits slander against those troops, they should be taken to task.
So how is the Fourth Estate held accountable? Not by the government.
They are held accountable by us - the consumers.
While we agree on most of my points above, John Cole misses the main point of Hugh Hewitt's post. I believe that Cole reads Hewitt's post, intended to be critical of the media, as Hugh supporting Soldiers who abuse prisoners and calling for the media to cover those abuses up. That's more than a bit of a stretch.
I read the quoted passages and just don't see Hugh calling for the media to not report abuses. I do see Hugh criticizing the media for the way it reports those stories as Watergate-like government cover-ups...the way suppositions are used, intermingling with the facts, to make a story seem more sexy than it is, more damning to the administration than it is (or was). And, now there's a theme in the media about there being a "policy of abuse". [BTW, I just had lunch on Friday with one of the Army's Interrogation trainers from the MI schoolhouse at Fort Huachucha. He wrote the book on how to Interrogate prisoners. If anyone knew of a policy of abuse allowed during interrogations, it would be him. As most of you suspected, there is no such thing.] But the rehash of Abu Ghraib and other cases of abuse at Gitmo will be used to build another conspiracy theory.
Rather, Jordan, Foley, Newsweek - fake stories, forged documents, and baseless accusations - must be addressed and not swept under the rug. And their lies would have continued if not for ordinary Americans looking into their accusations.
Soon, I'll be asking for some help from some of you, as consumers, to counter people like Linda Foley. I'm not calling for censuring the media. I'm calling for the lies to end, the slander to stop.
Our troops deserve better. I'm no wingnut, John, but that's what Hugh is talking about.