Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Pretty Piss-Poor Job

From StrategyPage:

Few of the troops understand that the news business is driven by dramatic events, not the tedious kind of process the troops go through every day to defeat the terrorists. To the troops, the war is being won. They see bad guys killed in large numbers, and few Americans getting hurt (it’s fairly common for their to be about twenty enemy dead for each American loss). The troops see tangible evidence, every day, of Iraqis having a better life. The troops cannot understand why that is not news, and why journalists always seem to be looking for a negative angle. To the average G.I., the attitude is, “what are these reporters looking for?” They are looking for a story, and bad news is a story. Good news is not. As a result of this clash of cultures, reporters are increasingly seen as a potentially dangerous enemy. For the troops, this is already accepted as true for many Arab journalists. Some of those have been arrested for hostile activity, or later revealed as al Qaeda agents. European journalists are seen as particularly clueless, so wrapped up in their anti-American fantasies, that communication is nearly impossible. But after watching a CNN clip on the net, or viewing an online story from the New York Times or Washington Post, it’s hard to view U.S. journalists as fellow Americans.

If few of the troops understand that the news business is driven by dramatic events, then almost none of the journalists reporting the war or commenting on the war understand anything about military culture. Nor do they appreciate even the slightest aspect of military strategy, tactics and planning.

These same journalists who have been indoctrinated in the multicultural ethos of academia and who wouldn't dream of being "insensitive" to the most primitive of the world's cultures (who are we to judge, after all?), have no problem at all continually insulting the dedication and committment of our troops; their efforts and their honor.

And, it is even in most cases, far worse than that. These "fair and neutral" observers who call themselves journalists don't even bother to try to learn anything about their subject matter. For the representatives of the media, the troops are tried and convicted of crimes against humanity and must fit into the "oppressor" template that these closet marxists carry around in their head.

Let's try this analogy.

A journalist is assigned to write a report on a very complicated surgical procedure. He has no idea about what the usual techniques that surgeons use for this procedure; nor does he know what the instruments are. Perhaps he feels that knowing too much might prejudice him unduly for the surgeon, when he would like to be an advocate for the patient.

He appears at the surgical operating room at the start of the operation. Many confusing thoughts go through his mind. What is all this special clothing? Why do they do these seemingly endless hand washings. Oh my god! They have that poor patient naked on the table. Why are they sticking that big tube down the naked man's throat? It's cold in here. They're cutting him! The blood gushing out. This is terrible! A bloody mess. Unbelievable! The surgeon and all the assistants have blood on their hands! It's on their clothing, too. That surgeon is a monster! He is unconcerned about the incredible damage he is inflicting on that poor helpless man.

Why are they taking that vein from his leg? What does that have to do with anything? Obviously they have a sadistic desire to simply inflict needless pain! This man is having heart surgery not leg surgery! What incompetence! Does his superior know what he is doing?

And--what is that? I can't believe it! They are attaching his heart to a machine! The man is now completely dependent for his life on this doctor who doesn't care about spilling the poor man's blood. Who gave that monster the right to perform this atrocity? That poor patient! How he will ever survive the butchering is beyond me......

Yes. If a MSM reporter were on the scene, I'm sure he'd describe the complicated procedure as a medical quagmire conducted by sadistic doctors who enjoy inflicting humiliation and pain on the poor patient. He probably wouldn't stick around to find out how the surgery came out either (it's rather long). Nor would he research the underlying illness that led to such a daring and necessary procedure.

Or would he? Would a decent journalist do the background necessary to be able to intelligently report on this topic? Would he understand the special knowledge possessed by the surgeon and surgical team? Would he appreciate the dedication, stamina, psychological strength and courage it takes to commit yourself to saving a life?

Would that journalist appreciate that the pain the patient will suffer in the next several months is quite bad--but not as bad as the inevitable death he or she once faced before the surgery?

Would that journalist dare to call himself a reporter, if he didn't understand even the most fundamental aspects of what he was reporting on?

There is no reason on earth that soldiers and warriors should have to appreciate the news business or what drives it. Their job is only to risk their lives every day to protect and defend their country and its citizens--even if that leads to their own death. They accept this reality with hardly a second thought. It is their job. It is their duty. It is their honor.

But there is every reason why a competent journalist would need to appreciate and understand the subject matter he is reporting on--that is, the U.S. military forces and their background, mission, rules, strategy, tactics, weapons, and culture.

Because that is what journalist's are supposed to do. Not engage in histrionics or provide commentary free from context and background. That is their duty to the public.

And as a group, they are doing a pretty piss-poor job of it.

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