Like many who heavily invest themselves in staying current on national and international news, I can never understand why the traditional media fails to address some serious topics. For example, why do we never hear about Israel and the Peshmerga?
The Peshmerga, for those who have not closely followed reports on Iraq, are a military force of an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Kurdish troops. They make up the defensive structure of northern Iraq, or what some call Kurdistan. They also keep a tight security cap on the region, which is said to be the calmest area of that country.
Online publications such as the BBC News in its Newsnight e-zine wrote about these soldiers extensively on September 20, 2006, reporting “When the former Israeli special forces soldiers were sent to Iraq in 2004 they were told they would be disowned if discovered. Their role there was to train two groups of Kurdish troops.” The report went on to explain that one group of Pershmerga fighters were being trained to secure and defend the new Hawler International Airport near Erbil, while the other group was being trained for “special assignments”.
Writing in Time Magazine for the October 23, 2006 issue, Leslie H. Gelb lamented “To me the relentless mud slide of insurgency and civil war in Iraq is leading to unacceptable strategic disaster for the U.S. There appear to be no viable paths to avoid it.”
This is a common theme used throughout both the print and electronic media today. If the American press were commanding the war in Iraq, we would already have bowed our heads in defeat.
Since that attitude is so prevalent among news outlets and publications, it was refreshing to hear a relatively simple, but thought-provoking suggestion offered on Fox News Live, October 20, 2006. Ghazal Omid, a Muslim scholar was a member of a panel that fielded questions about the war. When asked about the impossible insurgency situation, she suggested we put resolution to that element of the conflict in the hands of Iraq’s religious leaders.
Traditional or "mainstream" media outlets continue to wither away in the face of never ending charges of liberal bias and attempts to indoctrinate America with the agenda of the left.
As these strong and meaningful changes are taking place opinion writers and pundits search for answers that will explain away the audience abandonment across the entire spectrum of traditional news outlets. Huge audience losses are being logged for network television news. Major newspaper and news magazine publications show significant decline in circulation numbers. Talk radio formats for the counter position to conservative talk have failed.
The only bright light on the news horizon seems to be The Fox News Channel...and it is the latest entry into cable news. Today, while celebrating its tenth year on the air, Fox News rightfully boasts it is the Number One cable news network. According to Glenn Garvin, writing for McClatchy Newspapers it has held this ranking...”for the past 58 months with an audience almost as big as its two main competitors combined. It took Fox News just five years to surpass MSNBC, with its powerful corporate backers, and CNN with its 16 year head start.” Garvin goes on to say that Fox News reached the 90 million-subscriber mark faster than any cable channel in history.
For the past several days our 24 hour news channels and daily newspapers have been filled with stories related to the 10 year old murder case of a small girl, JonBonet
Ramsey. It is possible that her killer has finally been arrested.
Here in South Texas our television news has repeatedly run stories
about a 14 year old girl, who was kidnapped, raped and stabbed 17
times, then left for dead. The little girl survived and the two boys
who committed those vile acts are now in custody. Today we are
bombarded with so many of these unimaginable things. The War on
Terror, corporate corruption, Internet pornography, escalating child
abuses, are constantly in our faces. This is far from the world of
Several years ago I wrote about a time long ago, contrasting life
then and now. I think that now, when life is filled with so many
images of horror, it might be fitting to visit again about those
“good old days”.
The Rio Grande Valley, in deep South
Texas has a permanent population of less than 500,000 people. Within
those numbers is an abundance of active duty, retired and former
members of the armed forces. This Tip-of-Texas real estate is home
to many American heroes, including 20 young men who have given their
lives in the War against Terror. Sadly, it is also the home of some
who would steal the valor earned by these brave soldiers, sailors and
Marines with their blood and their lives.
In recent days an Associated Press story about a South Texas man
impersonating a Marine Sergeant Major has been in the news.
According the AP, “In appearances throughout the Rio Grande Valley,
J.C. Ortiz said his Marine career included four tours of duty in
Vietnam, seven Purple Hearts and ascendancy to the rank of Sergeant
Younger Americans may not be familiar with the term, “Yellow Journalism”, but it is part of our history and has been around for more than 100 years. It first was used in 1898 to describe the writings of such historic figures as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It was common practice during those years for journalists, led by Pulitzer and Hearst to print inaccurate information, opinion as news, distorted accounts of events and biased interpretations of anything with which the writer disagreed. Because there was no other source of information, newspapers gained huge political power and had few challenges to anything put into print. Those citizens who had a better understanding and grasp of events taking place in America labeled the practice of lying to the public in print...Yellow Journalism.
Headlines in the May 8 edition of the Los Angeles Times read “GOP Can Win by Limiting Losses.” The article claims that “Discontent with the nation’s direction and the federal government’s performance is virtually screaming from public opinion surveys, which show approval ratings for President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress falling to their lowest levels.”
The article then goes on to report how GOP office holders are attempting to localize their races in an effort to escape what they perceive to be a national image of “Republicans being a rubber stamp for Bush...”
But, is that really a true perception? From a very unofficial viewing of three diversified groups in the southern tip of Texas, by this writer would be the distinct impression that everyone views Washington and Congress as nothing more than bombast and blather.
You can’t miss it on television or radio. There are even some newspaper reports of the cry... “Too Soon...Too Soon!”
All accounts are referring to the release of the new motion picture “United 93”, a graphic portrait of the events which unfolded on September 11, 2001. This motion picture is mainly from the perspective of those who were aboard the fourth aircraft on that fatal day and how they responded to the highjackers. The hijacking of United 93 and the unprovoked attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were more than the equivalent of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. They were the events, which triggered our War Against Islamic Terrorism.
During those first weeks following the attacks we were a united country. There was a seriousness of tone on radio and television. The newspapers lauded those responding to a call to arms. Flags appeared on buildings and were flown from car antennas. Patriotic songs were written.
It was only a small item carried on the headline banner of Fox News Channel March 25. The report told newsreaders that in Cheshire, Massachusetts, and unknown anti-war protesters had sprayed painted graffiti across a memorial honoring a soldier who died in the first days of the war in Iraq. This incident was not even worthy of a mention in any major media print publication or on other television outlets.
Any report showing the gross inappropriateness of the anti war movement is generally ignored by the mainstream press today. One would be required to search long and hard to find any coverage reflecting either a distortion of facts or distain for anti war actions. In reality, the traditional media outlets of this country are more than supportive, if not encouraging of the movement.
The Bush Administration keeps telling Americans that we are fighting a war against terror. But, is the country really buying into that vague description of what is going on in our world? With each passing day, the answer seems more likely to be...No!
A Washington Post article dated March 9, 2006 is headlined “Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing”. It states, “As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year, a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and the majority say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence.”
What the Administration wants to deny is there are growing numbers across the United States that do not buy into the politically correct montra that Islam is a peaceful religion. Their attitudes have become more and more negative concerning Muslims worldwide with the media reports about Islamic outrage and savagery.
Americans who read the New York
Times must have wrinkled their brows in puzzlement after reading the
February 26, 2006 article about a former government official and
spokesman for the Taliban walking the campus of Yale University as a
Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi has been granted special student status and
the state department has awarded him entry into the United States on
a student visa. This is an interesting turn of events for a person
who could just as easily have ended up as a guest of the United
States in a cell at Guantanamo Bay.
Prior to his arrival as a student, Rahmatullah had been imprisoned at
Bagram Air Base. He had been a member of the Taliban government,
serving both in Afghanistan and in the United States as Second
Foreign Secretary and Ambassador-at-Large.
If there is any area of news coverage where media bias exists, it is the seemingly universal ignoring of the human face of war by the mainstream press.
Those labeled as “traditional” broadcast outlets and print publications have consistently offered the public a laundry list of bombs, bodies and devastation, but have seldom reported little more than the numbers. It is rare indeed when a person or group are examined as living, breathing participants in what is perhaps the most horrifying and uncivilized of endeavors.... war.
To bring the reality of the conflict in Iraq into focus, one must turn to what is rapidly being referred to as “the new media”. In more precise language it is the combined efforts of talk radio and the electronic publications of the Internet that reach the heart and the hurt of what is happening to the men and women of our armed forces.
The Tom Toles political cartoon depicting a soldier as a quadruple amputee appeared in the Washington Post on January 29. Since that day, less than a week ago, there has been a continuing drumbeat by the media defending their right to place such hurtful and denigrating political commentary in print.
Strong objections have also been registered from readers, advertisers and the general public, but it has not altered the Washington Post position. There was even a strongly worded letter from General Peter Pace, Chairman Of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the members of that body.
I have always been a news junkie, but lately I am finding it more and more difficult to keep my eyes on the tube when it is tuned in to any cable news network. The reason for my ire is simple...These news outlets have turned my television screen into a garbage can.
By that I mean that nowadays the entire viewing surface seems to be filled with assorted junk. Most of what we are being subjected to is just self-promotion for the show being aired or the station being telecast. The other distracting additions have very little to do with the news being presented at that moment and could wait for a less invasive time to flash onto the screen.
If I am recalling correctly, this all started a few years back when cable was presenting lengthy time blocks of hearings, trials, or congressional actions. To keep viewers abreast of the news, they started running streamers at the bottom of the screen that contained news headlines. From that point on, they added more and more, from logos to stock reports. The end result are the most junkyard looking news presentations found anywhere.
Cracks in the positive media spin of Democrat Anti-War spokesman Representative John Murtha have
started to appear in a number of places, including mainstream and
online news outlets.
There are sources, however, such as the Independent Media Center that
maintain the anti-war stance of most reporting entities. In its “The
Corner” editorial column on January 14, IMC praised the meeting
between the leadership of anti American “Code Pink” activists,
Representatives Jim Moran (D-VA) and John Murtha (D-PA)
Code Pink, which has given financial support to terrorists and called
upon American soldiers to kill their leaders, is also known for
displaying protest signs at the funerals of fallen American heroes.
At this meeting they gave Murtha a “pink badge of courage” and
thanked him for his courageous stand on Iraq. The leadership also
said, “They will be working with Representative Murtha to deliver
kindness and support to the wounded soldiers.”
In the latest issue of The Weekly Standard there is an interesting article by Stephen F. Hayes titled “Saddam’s Terror Training Camps”. In it the author reports the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein... “Trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq.”
Now this can’t possibly be correct. The mainstream media and the liberal left have repeatedly told us there were no terrorists in Iraq and it was only the United States involvement in mid-east that brought terrorists into the country. This is the stock statement when anything on the matter is broadcast or placed in print. It would be difficult indeed, to find an article in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times that makes those contrary statements penned by Stephen Hayes.
We have frequently noted that the political leanings of mainstream media publications can often be seen by what fails to make it into print. In the case of Jack Abramoff, political bias of the Washington Post is obvious in its articles of January 3 and 4. The first article written by William Branigin, Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi and the article dated January 4 penned by only Schmidt and Grimaldi are littered with the names of Republican officials, aides and family members. The articles indicate all of these individuals are being investigated. However, no mention of a Democrat appears in the text.
Today’s copy mentions former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Representative Robert W. Ney of Ohio, former Delay aides Tony Rudy, Michael Scanlon and Edwin Buckham, Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, Representative John T. Doolittle of California, Rudy’s wife Lisa and even DeLay’s wife Christine in connection with an investigation into Abramoff’s admitted guilt on fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public official plea bargain in the Washington U. S. District Court. Their names appear repeatedly in both articles and total of 33 times in the January 4 copy. This was done despite the Post indicating “In court papers, prosecutors refer to only one congressman: Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).” The article continues saying “Abramoff, who built a political alliance with House Republicans, including former majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, has agreed to provide information and testimony about a half a dozen House and Senate members...”
The December 15 disclosure by The New York Times that President Bush had authorized eavesdropping on suspected terrorist connected telephone conversations inside the United States has developed into a national debate about the legality of such an intelligence operation.
There have been allegations of overstepping presidential authority and even criminal action being taken by the administration. Seldom is it mentioned that Congress was given a detailed briefing on the special program.
Even the New York Times hid that element of the story, placing one it in the 22nd paragraph of its very lengthy article, writing, “After the special program started, Congressional leaders from both political parties were brought to Vice President Dick Cheney’s office in the White House. The leaders, who included the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, learned of the N.S.A. operation from Mr. Cheney, General Michael V. Hayden of the Air Force, who was then the agency’s director and is now the principal deputy director of national intelligence, and George J. Tenet, then director of the C.I.A., officials said.”
The headline in the Saturday, December 10 edition of Salon.com (ad watching required for non-sunscribers) was a strong statement of the publication’s belief. “The Pentagon is underreporting the number of American soldier casualties in Iraq”. This article, written by Salon "national correspondent" Mark Benjamin, then proceeds to report on a letter written to President George W. Bush by seven House Democrats.
In that letter the Democrats express their concern “that the figures that were released to the public by your administration do not accurately represent the true toll that this war has taken on the American people.”
The article then examines the various statements made in the letter. It asserts this is a “shocking charge” and “The letter writers argue that Pentagon casualty reports only show a sliver of the injuries, mostly physical ones from bombs or bullets.”
As the Christmas season arrives and weather gets colder across the United States, Christian temperatures always heat up to the boiling point. Across the country those who practice their Faith find themselves making written and verbal cries about the multitude of attacks on this treasured holiday. This year, though the attacks on Christmas seem to have escalated, the pleadings of hurt voices have turned to roars of anger.
Television has been filled with pundits proclaiming, as in the case of Fox news Channel’s John Gibson, the “War on Christmas”. The same channel’s Bill O’Reilly continues a nightly dialog on his observation of anti-Christian attacks. There was event a media commentator who equated the push toward removing religion from the season to geography.
He made two very interesting observations. The first was that those who live in “Jesusland” or the “flyover” red states of America are course, crass, and really not very bright. They need religious symbols to give them a sense of direction. His second observation was those in the blue states have more heart and have a greater caring nature. He said this could be proven by the simple fact that those who live in the blue states have more “safety net programs” and pay far more taxes than those bumpkins in the red states who are tight with their dollars.
The military community is made up of active duty personnel, veterans, retire military and their families. While it is a constitutional truth that every American has the right of free speech, including members of the MSM, there is no segment of our population that is more deserving of that right than the men, women and family members who sacrificed themselves through separation, immense hardship, pain, blood and loss of lives on our behalf. These are some of their words about the War on Terror and the conduct of those at home.
Lieutenant General E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr. commanded the Strategic Air Command’s Eighth Air Force for three years and two months. He participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama, plus Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. His 32-year military career included 23 years in SAC. The general is now retired and lives in Lake Martin, Alabama.
An Associated Press article dated Saturday, November 19, 2005, quotes Representative John P. Murtha (D-PA) as saying “Our troops have become the enemy. We need a change of direction in Iraq.” The article went on to report that his “call a day earlier for pulling out troops sparked a nasty, personal debate over the war.”
Washington Post writer Charles Babington wrote on Saturday, “Democrats physically restrained one colleague, who appeared as if he might lose control of himself as he rushed across the aisle to confront Republicans with a jabbing finger. They accused Republicans of playing political games with the war.”
Commander Adam G. Alexander, USN (ret), or Whitefish, MT sees more villainy than child play in the political arena. He explains that he had a combat role in two wars, which were lost, naming Korea and Vietnam. He says they were lost, “…not by the military, but by the politicians. The politicians allowed themselves to be controlled by the actions of protesters. It is well understood that the large number of them were using the war for their own good, pushed by a very few people and the Communists. What we have now are the same type of people who are using this war only (in an) attempt to take over Congress and the White House.”
The Bush administration created a journalistic shield to stall investigation into the CIA leak case until after the 2004 election. So proclaims the Washington Post in a column by E. J. Dionne Jr. on Tuesday, November 1, 2005.
The writer claims that “As long as Bush faced the voters, the White House wanted Americans to think officials such as Libby, Karl Rove and vice president Chaney had nothing to do with the leak campaign to discredit its arch-critic on Iraq, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson.”
The writer claims that to assure a delay in the inquiry the administration had Libby state his information concerning Wilson’s wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame was provided by a number of reporters.
Harlingen, Texas, October 28,2005: The New York Times appears to be unhappy that Karl Rove was not indicted, when the charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction where made against I. Lewis Libby. The newspaper’s headline grudgingly stated “Rove Apparently Is Not Indicted Today…”
Today’s Times lead story also strongly reflects the newspaper’s displeasure that charges were not brought against Rove.
Though the news was all about the Libby indictment, Rove’s name is mentioned repeatedly throughout the lengthy article. Such as, “Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff was not charged today, but will remain under investigation.” Or, Mr. Rove, as the president’s alter ego…” and “...the investigation of Mr. Rove offer(s) abundant grist, at least for now, to critics who question the administration’s commitment to truth and candor.”
The excitement and anticipation radiating from the mainstream media, as American deaths in Iraq inched toward the 2,000 mark, has been more than evident. It has also been a time of struggle for those of us who deeply mourn the loss of these heroic young men and women. Now, in addition to the pain and suffering we truly understand, the American public must also endure the pre-planned platitudes of a press strongly opposed to this combat action.
Headlines and editorials condemning the war or calling for withdrawal of our troops have been everywhere. News and editorial leads have all sounded the theme of Washington’s wrong doing. For example, Bob Herbert’s column in the October 27 New York Times reads, “Thousands upon thousands are suffering and dying in Iraq while, in Washington, incompetence continues its macabre marathon dance with incoherence.”
Search as you may, it will still be difficult for you to find much good news about anything taking place in either Afghanistan or Iraq. It isn’t that positive news is in short supply. It is the “If it bleeds It leads” mentality of the mainstream media that keeps death and bombings in the headlines and relatively uplifting accomplishments banished to the inside pages of publications and almost always omitted from radio and television newscasts.
According to American military personnel communicating with friends and family, there is important progress being made all across Iraq. The problem is few correspondents will leave the security of Baghdad’s Green Zone to cover the events. Those who do write on significant accomplishments claim their stories get little attention by editors in the networks and newsrooms. The selective editing by those who control the content of news reports reflects a strong tendency by the media to tilt in favor of left-leaning ideas on the war.
Harlingen, Texas, September 30, 2005: By now it must be clear to those who follow political events that all factions liberal are chanting a new mantra. You can hear the words over and over again by any champion of the Left who has entry to print media, appears on television or moves in front of a radio microphone…”The Republicans are corrupt.” “The Republicans are criminal.” “The Republicans are in decline.” “The Republicans have failed the American public.”
There are other verses to the same song. Some of them speak to the dropping poll numbers of the President. Some address the poor choice of governmental appointments. Others point out the legal entanglements of conservative congressional leaders. In point of fact, the words don’t really matter as long as liberal elements in our society can continue painting their opposition as failing and falling into steep decline. To achieve this objective, a biased media appears to be a willing accomplice and ready to use any opportunity, no matter how distant, to continue the drum beat of doom.
The drumbeat has been steady since Hurricane Katrina ripped its path of destruction throughout the Gulf Coast and flooded New Orleans. As bannered by the media, nature’s wrath is secondary. What really caused the devastation was America’s racism.
Reporters and broadcasters have sought out personalities such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond and other left-leaning black activists who have been more than willing to advance the charge of racism.
Even more disconcerting is a positive story of kindness that is wrapped in the hate actions of past years.
It his attempt to portray continuing racism in the United States, Todd Lewan of the Associated Press filed a story September 26, 2005 headlined “Town once plagued by racism gets 2nd chance”.
Harlingen, Texas, September 10, 2005: You need to look long and hard if you are attempting to find any information about the use of tugboats, towboats or barges in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. In fact, the only reference to these watercraft noted was in a September 1, 2005 Reuters pool release. It stated “A tugboat pushes barges past an oil refinery in southern Louisiana. Rotting bodies littered New Orleans’ streets on Thursday and troops headed in to control looting and violence, as thousands of desperate survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated from the flooded city, or even just fed.”
All too often the media is charged with slanting its coverage or placing emphasis on the wrong elements of a story. The media is even guiltier of failing to follow up on news elements, or examining them in any depth. One could say those who report for both the print and electronic media are often guilty of the sin of omission.
Harlingen, Texas, August 30, 2005: The Miami Herald had another Abu Ghraib story this past Saturday. In an Associated Press article by Charles J. Hanley, the headline announced, “Abu Ghraib general describes her Iraq tour”
The article’s opening paragraph reads, “Iraqi prisoners could lift their doors right off their hinges. One senior sergeant whiled away his evenings blasting grazing sheep with a guard tower machine gun. U. S. commanders didn’t bother telling their troops they’d be stuck in Iraq for months more than advertised.”
It next goes on to explain that the only woman commanding general in the war zone, prison chief Janis Karpinski, has written a candid portrait of an often dysfunctional Army.
This was printed in one of those major daily newspapers that so proudly proclaim they support the men and women in uniform. If they are so supportive, why are stories on the degradation of prisoners in Abu Ghraib featured in print over and over again, and the heroic exploits of those in uniform seldom reported?