The AP Version of Successful Military Recruiting Numbers

The Pentagon announced that all four major branches of the military met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the month on November. Normally the media glosses over these stories and relegates them to the rarely read deep recesses of the B section. That is unless the news can be used to embed a story within a story – the sort that poisons the main message with a carefully crafted sub-context that is related to any one of a number of liberal agenda items that are being tossed about in the latest news cycle. This is the case with the AP’s coverage of the pentagon announcement. One can’t help but note how the AP reporter spins the good news story of recruitment success into a negative screed about American pessimism over the war in Iraq and dissatisfaction with the way President Bush is handling the effort. So I decided that it would be enlightening to liberate the embedded message and release it from its status as the lowly story within the story. The newly liberated story handily exposes the report for the biased screed that it is. The following passage is the unaltered text from a section of the AP news report with the exception that I removed any text that distracted from the reporter's main message.
WASHINGTON - Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq. The Army is bearing the brunt of the work in Iraq as U.S. pessimism over the Iraq campaign mounts, according to a recent AP-Ipsos poll. Some 63 percent of Americans said they don’t expect a stable, democratic government to be established in Iraq, up from 54 percent who felt that way in June. Dissatisfaction with President Bush’s handling of Iraq has climbed to an all-time high of 71 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos survey this month. A bipartisan commission last week released its recommendations for a new course.
The following is the text that I removed.
Washington - The Pentagon said Tuesday it is having success enlisting new troops. The Navy and Air Force met their recruiting goals last month while the Army and Marine Corps exceeded theirs, the Defense Department announced. The Army did the best. It signed up 6,485 new recruits in November compared with its target of 6,150 — meaning 105 percent of its goal. All the services turned in similar performances in October as well, meaning they so far are meeting their goals for the 2007 budget year that began Oct. 1. “The services are starting off well,” said Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman. The president held a series of meetings this week to hear from his advisers.
Isn't that enlightening? Put the two back together and you get the passage as it was originally released by the AP.
WASHINGTON - Though Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday it is having success enlisting new troops. The Navy and Air Force met their recruiting goals last month while the Army and Marine Corps exceeded theirs, the Defense Department announced. The Army, which is bearing the brunt of the work in Iraq, did the best. It signed up 6,485 new recruits in November compared with its target of 6,150 — meaning 105 percent of its goal. All the services turned in similar performances in October as well, meaning they so far are meeting their goals for the 2007 budget year that began Oct. 1. "The services are starting off well," said Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman. The progress in recruiting comes as U.S. pessimism over the Iraq campaign mounts, according to a recent AP-Ipsos poll. Some 63 percent of Americans said they don't expect a stable, democratic government to be established in Iraq, up from 54 percent who felt that way in June. Dissatisfaction with President Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an all-time high of 71 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos survey this month. A bipartisan commission last week released its recommendations for a new course and the president held a series of meetings this week to hear from his advisers.

There you have it - the hidden secret behind journalism 101, AP style. Learn these tricks and you too might find yourself the toast of the newsroom while patting each other on the back for a story well spun.

Terry Trippany is the editor and contributor at Webloggin.