GMA's Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Segment Focuses on Sympathetic Story of One Gay Marine
ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva [ret], described as the first member of the US military seriously injured in the Iraq invasion, losing a leg and part of a hand. In conjunction with the debate on the bill, Sergeant Alva publicly announced, apparently for the first time today, that he is gay.
Tapper interviewed Sergeant Alva at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. Later in the segment, we heard from Dixon Osburn of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, another gay rights group that focuses specifically on gays in the military. It seems likely that one or both of these groups have identified Alva as a spokesman, then took his story to ABC, which ran with it.
View video here.Later in the segment, we did hear from a retired military officer, Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, expressing doubt that repealing don't-ask-don't tell would help promote combat effectiveness. But how is a dry statement on the merits supposed to compete in the court of public opinion with the touching story of one gay soldier's service and sacrifice? And while Sergeant Alva deserves our gratitude, how much does his story really tell us about the issue on the table?
One network news correspondent told me: “Every interest group does this sort of thing - witness the snowflake babies, crime victims, the 21-week old premature baby. The media loves a good new story, whatever the side.” ABC and the rest of the media would serve viewers better by presenting a substantive discussion/debate on issues such as this. And despite the correspondent's claim that the media goes for this kind of story "whatever the side," it seems to this observer that the anecdotes, like the MSM, tend to lean decidedly to the left.
Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org