Last year, the Washington Post let itself be so badly misled by a "study" on military recruiting from a far-left think tank that WaPo ombudsman Deborah Powell felt obliged to write a lengthy column about the matter, diplomatically taking her paper to task for failing to "tell the full story."
So when the same think tank came out with another recruiting study this year, surely WaPo would take it with a large grain of salt, right? Think again.
After the article "Shock Troops" in The New Republic had been challenged by critics , a documentary filmmaker/blogger by the name of JD Johannes narrowed down the search of the author to Alpha Company, 1-18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division on July21.
Three days after that on July 24, the military began a formal investigation, which included taking statements from soldiers in Alpha/1-18IN.
Scott Beauchamp gave his initial statement on July 26, published here for the first time.
Since the media have promised the anti-war left really do support the troops, wouldn't it be news that an anti-war, self-described "radical leftist" was in court on Friday for angrily keying the car of an Iraq vet because he didn't like the military plates and USMC stickers?
Jay Grodner keyed a $2400 side-to-side gash into Sgt. Mike McNulty's car. When confronted, Grodner berated McNulty, who was getting ready to redeploy to Iraq, with anti-military epithets, even telling the Marine he was too “small” to be a “soldier" (sic).
Milblogger Blackfive wrote about the lack of media coverage (bold mine throughout):
The blogosphere continues to boil with outrage over the Times's front-page story from Sunday on veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and committing murders, a story immediately discredited by cursory research as journalistically and statistically worthless. The paper's main finding, that 121 veterans either committed a killing in this country or are charged with one, was useless without context, which the Times either couldn't or didn't provide.
The story failed basic journalism, with the Times making no attempt to compare murder rates of veterans to that of the general population. Can one imagine the Times spouting out a raw number of murders committed by, say, illegal immigrants? Without context, the Times' big finding was useless, a single data point floating in space.
"The New York Times" uses fuzzy math to smear volunteer soldiers and "Fox and Friends" picked it up. MRC’s Clay Waters reported on the "Sunday Times" January 13 story, "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles," essentially smearing soldiers linking some committed murders to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict.
However, the numbers show that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are far less likely to commit murder. On the January 16 edition of "Fox and Friends," co-host Steve Doocy noted that veterans are "five times less likely to commit murder." Gretchen Carlson noted the danger of putting out these dubious stories adding "You don't have time to actually get to the bottom of all of these articles. People just assume that what they read, wrong or right, is truth."
The '80s are back -- Sylvester Stallone has prepped another "Rambo" movie, Chuck Norris is an Internet icon and Mr. T is doing commercials. Alex Williams tackled the "trend" for the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, "Tough Guys for Tough Times." Williams' story is a retread in its own way; the first sentence below in particular could have been been found 20 years ago in any college rag, pretentiously penned by an earnest liberal student straining for profundity:
"The leading action symbols of the Reagan era -- with all their excess, jingoism and good vs. evil bombast -- have returned, as outsize and obvious as they were in the decade of stonewash. Yet as stars of prime-time hits and feature films (not to mention Republican mascots), these actors are still as ripped and imposing as they were 20 years ago, and they continue to carry an undeniable authority with fans old and new."
Williams cracked on insecure conservative men, albeit in code ("likely not Hillary Clinton supporters"):
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to accuse the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, of trying to "fake" a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident with Iran over the recent U.S. Navy confrontation with Iranian navy speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Referring to reports that, out of five Iranian boats, only one unarmed boat approached the U.S. Navy ships, and that the threatening message received could have come from a "well-known marine heckler" of the area, Olbermann awarded the "Worst Person" dishonor to Mullen: "So you guys tried to fake another Gulf of Tonkin incident using some clown with a CB radio and the lethal threat posed by the S.S. Minnow? Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, on behalf of the Bush administration, today's 'Worst Person in the World'!"
While covering the murder of Marine Maria Lauterbach on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," Co-host Julie Chen used the opportunity to level broad charges against the military and its handling of sexual assault cases: "What did the Marines do to protect her, and when did they do it? It's a question we've heard asked for -- of the military for decades." This was followed by a report by CBS Correspondent David Martin, who agreed with Chen: "You're right, the military has long been accused of mishandling sexual assault reports, and there are now some protective measures in place."
Martin moved beyond Lauterbach, who reported being raped by the murder suspect, Cesar Laurean, last April, to other reports of sexual assault in the military:
MARTIN: Earlier in the Iraq war, revelations that there had been more than 100 sexual assault cases in Kuwait, Iraq , and the rest of the Persian Gulf, coupled with complaints from female service members that the male-dominated chain of command did not take their allegations seriously, brought this charge from Senator Susan Collins.
In a long report published on Sunday the New York Times appears to be trying to promulgate the idea that our returning military vets cannot successfully reintegrate back into their communities and into "normal lives" after returning from the stress of active duty overseas. The Times seems to be saying that our veterans have become murderers and are so mentally wracked that coming home is difficult for them. Their entire report is written as if the rate of murders committed by returning veterans is shockingly high. But, a look at real statistics proves that vets are less likely to become murderers than the general population. The Times does a great job smearing our veterans as nutjobs, but does not do such a great job giving a balanced view of the real statistics.
Lifestyle magazine, a publication that serves Pennsylvania's Delaware Valley area, published a nice story this week reporting how a long awaited veteran's cemetery is finally underway in Buck's County, Penn. Oh, the story seems nice enough, but there is one problem. The photo accompanying the story shows a soldier, circa WWII, in near silhouette trotting across a wintry field, rifle in hand. That there is a photo of a soldier from WWII tacked onto a story about a new veteran's cemetery isn't the problem. The problem is that the photo is of a Nazi German soldier from WWII and NOT an American soldier! This is a shocking mistake that reveals many things about the folks at Lifestyle Magazine.
Why is a story about an American veteran's cemetery being illustrated by a photo of a Nazi solder? The answer can only be that the folks at Lifestyle magazine are so unfamiliar with anything military that the glaring mistake went completely unrecognized by its Editors and designers.
Well, this strays from the usual silliness and less than credible work over at the Huffington Post and gets closer to a style of treasonous support for our espoused enemies than it does the normal fare. In a posting by one Hooman Majd, an Iranian born writer who dabbles in the music business, we are treated to the absurd conspiracy theory that the U.S. Military manufactured the incident last Tuesday in the Straits of Hormuz involving a few Iranian patrol boats and the the U.S. Navy. Majd seems to imagine that the Pentagon somehow faked the whole thing, and I'm not exaggerating. Catch the title of his posting: It's a Fake. No attempt at subtlety there!
NationalJournal.com has news (HT Instapundit) about the reality of the October 2006 Lancet report on civilian deaths in Iraq -- a report that was breathlessly and gullibly cited at the time by Old Media outlets and reporters (including David Brown here at the Washington Post).
Here is background for those unfamiliar with the original story:
Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of "excess" Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.
This Christmas, while many folks are keeping the members of our nation's military in mind, the nutjobs over at the Daily Kos are doing their part to support the troops--by comparing them to Islamic suicide bombers. LGF has the details on the Kossacks' latest descent into moral equivalence madness.
The fact that someone needs to explain to these people that American soldiers who are looking to do some good in the world are not the same as cowardly suicide bombers is a sad commentary on left. When it comes to things military or religious, it simply doesn't understand.
It's Christmas, the surge is undeniably working, and December, 2007, could end up being the least violent month in Iraq since America invaded in March, 2003.
Despite all that, the Associated Press, in an article published Thursday dealing with the top news stories of the year, couldn't restrain its antiwar proclivities, and, instead, chose to put a lump of coal under everybody's tree.
Coming in third place in this unscientific poll of 271 AP members, the Iraq War, with a dash of pessimism only Ebenezer Scrooge could enjoy (emphasis added):
The improving situation in Iraq is driving certain congressmen and congresswomen to rhetorical depths I don't recall ever seeing.
Though there have almost surely been other instances of offensive excess on the House Floor over the Iraq War, we've recently been treated to at least the following:
Pete Stark (D-CA), October -- "You don't have money to fund the war or children,'' Stark said. "But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Stark, under intense pressure from Nancy Pelosi, later tearfully apologized.
David Obey (D-WI), November -- Insurgents “are running out of people to kill,” and “There are fewer targets of opportunity.” I do not believe that Obey has backed off of his remarks.
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), December -- "They (Republicans) like this war. They want this war to continue." Pelosi later "clarified," saying she meant to say "support" instead of "like."
The latest example, courtesy of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran on Wednesday, may, despite the strong competition noted, take the prize for greatest smear of our president, his administration, and/or our troops -- ever.
MRC Director of Research and NewsBusters Senior Editor Rich Noyes appeared Monday night on the "O'Reilly Factor" to discuss his findings in the December 4 Media Reality Check, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War."
As we previously noted, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly cited the MRC study in his December 6 "Talking Points Memo" segment. Video (2:35) from that "Factor":Real (1.91 MB) and Windows (1.60), plus MP3 audio (1.19 MB).
Looking to head off even more controversy, NBC announced Saturday that it has reversed its decision to not show ads supporting the troops during the holidays.
Yet, that didn't seem to please the Associated Press which in its article concerning this u-turn chose to depict Freedom's Watch as "a group backed by wealthy Republican fundraisers" that is "critical of liberals."
Was this the appropriate moment to so categorize this organization? If the situation was somewhat reversed, would the AP have characterized MoveOn.org or Media Matters for America as a group backed by wealthy Democrat fundraisers that is critical of conservatives?
Before we get there, AP reported Saturday (emphasis added throughout):
As NewsBusters reported Friday, television network NBC has decided not to run ads thanking and supporting America's troops stationed overseas during the holidays.
*****Update: Drudge is reporting that NBC has capitulated due to "pressure from outraged viewers." Stay tuned...
The sticking point according to NBC's head of standards and policies Alan Wurtzel was that Freedom's Watch "insisted that the spot contain the URL address of its Web site."
Yet, such didn't seem to be a problem a few years ago when MoveOn.org created an antiwar ad entitled "How Many More" that, according to the organization's website, ran during NBC's "Today" show (video available here, h/t NB reader Blair Lovern):
FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Thursday night centered his "Talking Points Memo" around the findings in the MRC's Media Reality Check study released earlier this week, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War: As Surge Succeeds and Casualty Rates Fall, ABC, CBS and NBC Lose Interest In Iraq War." O'Reilly pointed out how U.S. casualties and violence are way down from six months ago. Then, citing the MRC's numbers with a chart displaying them on screen, he observed how now "there is far less carnage in Iraq and far less reporting about the war. Since the surge began, Iraq war stories on the nightly news programs have dropped from 178 a month to 68 in November. Those stats were compiled by the conservative watchdog group Media Research Center and you can read the report online at mrc.org."
Not a single one of these outlets discusses the fact that Franklin Foer spent the better part of 13 pages alleging a military conspiracy spanning four bases in three countries involving dozens of soldiers, from privates to colonels.
I guess they didn't want to discuss how nutty that explanation sounds.
Nor did they mention that Foer and The New Republic refused to apologize to those soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait they accused of atrocities.
Not a single one them acknowledges that Foer was being deceptive when he claimed back in July "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published."
You would think this the perfect formula for a blockbuster movie: megastars Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep teaming up to flood theaters with an antiwar film just in time for the holidays.
Well, think again, for it appears that this much-anticipated film, featuring the much-anticipated return of Tom Cruise to the big screen, is a bigger bomb than anything the enemy has been able to lob at us in Iraq since the surge began.
As deliciously reported by Reuters Friday evening (h/t NBer botg, emphasis added):
Who's Hollywood's latest Big Bad Villain? Private military contractors--giving rise to a new version of Derangement Syndrome: Blackwater Derangement Syndrome or BwDS.
Echoing lefty rage at Blackwater, TV shows from “Boston Legal” to “Jericho” have turned contractors into the bad guys.
NBC's upcoming two-hour movie/backdoor pilot “Knight Rider” is no different, but this time Michael Knight and KITT the talking car are "counteracting and preventing the damage done by private, covert military contractors.”
According to the November 29 Hollywood Reporter, television's latest venture into contractor bashing is this sequel to the campy '80s David Hasselhoff show. In the new movie, Michael Knight's son Mike Tracer (what, was Mike Gunn or Mike Bullitt too obvious? Was Mike Stone not manly enough?) is now driving KITT and fighting the real threat to the world—private military contractors (bold mine):
The surveyor will see you now Journalist and Pollster (Either Or)
As an increasing number of Americans exhibit knowledge of and confidence in the success of the surge in Iraq, pollsters seeking a gloomier picture have turned to their single most reliable focus group for bad news. They have in fact skipped the middle men and women and gone to its very font: the media.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, a (Pew Research Center) poll released on Wednesday said.
One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples.
The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.
An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a “sham of due process.” The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.
The first month of fiscal 2008 was a success for all active and reserve military components.
In a meeting with Pentagon reporters today, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said all components met or exceeded their recruiting goals for October.
On the active-duty side, the Army made 101 percent of its goal of 4,500, with 4,564 recruits. The Navy made 100 percent of its goal of 2,788 recruits. The Marine Corps made 102 percent of its goal of 2,720, with 2,788 enlisting. The Air Force made 100 percent of its goal of 2,656.