If you're here from seeing the "On the Story" program on CNN, thank you for stopping by...for all of you regulars, thank you for doing what you do to help our troops (and thank you for supporting Soldiers' Angels).
The "On the Story" segment that I participated in was about the coverage of the IED attack and ambush that injured ABC newsman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt.
First, I hope and pray for a complete and speedy recovery of the people injured by the attack. Second, I don't bear any ill will towards Woodruff or Vogt. Both are among the best in their profession. Woodruff didn't get the anchor job because he uses the best hair gel. His resume is impressive by anyone's standards.
That said, I do think that the coverage, the uber-coverage, has been more than excessive. For example, while we continually hear liberal politician soundbites that the Iraqi Army has only one effective battalion, Woodruff and Vogt were saved by Iraqis. Their interpreter and the soldiers that they were with fought for and saved their lives. The Americans had a lot to do with their saving as well and I would expect a story about the amazing medics and doctors that helped the ABC news team. But what about the Iraqi sacrifices?
Maybe the headlines should have read "Iraqis save Woodruff!" - maybe that would have been more accurate?
You can go back and read what I wrote about seeing Katie Couric display her emotions about her colleague. I was angry and frustrated. Frustrated that the news media values Woodruff more than the soldiers. Frustrated that the terrorists do not have nearly as much criticism directed at them as we do. Frustrated that the terrorists lie and are not checked. Frustrated that the local ABC news affiliate in Washington DC used footage of exploding vehicles provided by the terrorists to open their segment about Woodruff and Vogt.
The US Military will NOT lose this war. We can lose only if the country loses it's will to fight. And the media plays a very large role in the will of our country.
I wasn't able to say everything that I wanted to say "On the Story". I think that I was asked two questions, and it went by quickly. I did say that while Iraqi school openings weren't exactly newsworthy, the heroism of our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines IS NEWSWORTHY.
I believe that I didn't get much of a response. I had a long list that I didn't have time to present - starting with Rick Rescorla, then Jason Dunham, Zach Wobler, Kenneth Conde, Hoby Bradfield...You can read more about military people that you should know here and more about our fallen heroes here.
Until the media stops celebrating it's own celebrity and starts focusing on people that are real heroes, we stand to lose. When Sean Penn's words matter more than Corporal Jeff Starr's, we stand to lose. And when the media does pay attention to the words of a Jeff Starr, they select only the words that serve their own agenda. What other conclusion is there other than much of the media wants us to lose the will to fight the war.
And that's a big reason why the MilBloggers are popular right now. And why I started Blackfive. I'll never forget sitting across from COL (ret.) Austin Bay at breakfast one morning last summer. We were talking about a lot of things - some of the successes and some of the mistakes the government, military, and media had made during this war. Naturally, the topic turned to milblogs and our role in this war. Austin, leaned across the table, intensely said, "Matt...I. Just. Want. Us. To. Win."
Damn right, Sir. Charlie Mike.
We are pro-victory.
If you want to read more from/about more milbloggers, start here for a brief history and you can go here to see some of my favorites (a somewhat outdated list). And you can buy the MilBlog Book when it is available for pre-sale in a few short months.
Finally, to some of you (friends) who will not be happy that I was on the network that gave in to demands from Saddam, predicted our invasion to fail, and claimed the military was targeting journalists...In my defense, I would mention that there ARE journalists who are working on having our words read and our voices heard, and, if I can tell thousands of people about milblogs, I'm going to take the opportunity to do so.
Update 2: Carrie points out this really great commentary about combat reporting from LtCol (ret) Oliver North at Townhall.