I have to admit, I had wondered how this came to be. As Blackfive noted in an e-mail yesterday, this is the same Paul McLeary who had interviewed him for Blog of War. At the same time, however, not much surprises me in terms of old media bias, arrogance, or ignorance about the military, intelligence, or other "esoteric" beats.
Mr. McLeary, you have indeed stepped in it. We all have done so, and probably all have (as noted by others) put out something that did not mean what we said. At the same time, I find myself in agreement with others on continuing problems.
First up, the use of the term "chickenhawk." Baldilocks has written about the idiocy of using the term before, as have others. It's use is intended to stiffle debate and discussion, and it serves no good purpose whatsoever outside of that. It's use is usually a mark of moral and intellectual cowardice (and general lack in those areas), in my opinion. PLEASE SEE UPDATE BELOW.
Second, the good commander has it right when noting that you still appear to remain focused on the messenger, rather than the message. The messenger has nothing to do with the fact that in this case the private was lying and TNR did a bad job of journalism and journalistic integrity. Your rant doesn't help the latter at all, either.
Third, he is also on the mark when you appear to somehow equate Hugh Hewitt and others as springing from the same source as milblogs. As someone who has covered them as extensively as you note, you should know a lot better.
Fourth, while I can't speak for Hewitt, Baldilocks notes that some of your blog targets have left the comfort of their air conditioned offices and made a trip to gather facts. I would add in Confederate Yankee and others to that list.
While your mea culpa is a step in the right direction, the profound problems that underly your original piece remain. I would still fail both missives in a JM 101 course, and I say that as someone who believes in real journalism (not the media) and who is proud to have the words Kappa Tau Alpha associated with his name.
Since there are some profound and troubling issues that remain, let me make an offer. This fat ol' crip is willing to take a leave of absence, or quit my day job if necessary, to take a trip to embed with the troops. As part of that journey, let's you and I go visit the unit in question, and let the people there tell you the problem with the message. Let's visit a few other milbloggers while we are at it, maybe a few other bloggers period, and see if they can help. I'm willing to put it all on the line right now, especially if the money could be raised to cover the process via PMI, and to ensure I still had a lair to which to return. How about it, are you and CJR willing to put your money where your mouth is? I'm willing to put my body and what meager funds I have on the line for this. How about you?
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: I have just had a cordial and positive e-mail exchange with Paul McLeary. There is discussion and dialog underway. That said, I do need to note an error on my part. It is important to note that he did not use the word "chickenhawk" in his original article. I read it in by inference, but he did not use it. The error is mine, and I apologize for it. LW