Army Recruiting Goals: Another Example of the Media's Management of the News
Of late, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that the mainstream media persistently exercise the "management" of the news. That is to say, aside from slanted and biased reporting on the news of the day, they frame news developments in a way that manage events to fit a preconceived meme or storyline.
The media's coverage of Army recruiting numbers is no exception.
Bear in mind these facts included in some of the stories I cite below but usually well after the lede:
- The Army is nonetheless ahead of its year-to-date recruiting goal
- July, August, and September are traditionally the best months for recruiting
- Many potential enlistees are turned away from being overweight or lacking a high school diploma
- Some experts, such as former Defense undersecretary Edwin Dorn, marvel that "the big surprise is that Army recruiting has remained as healthy as it has been" given the Iraq war's falling support in the polls.
Nope, instead the lede is two straight months of numbers that aren't up to par and immediately Iraq is blamed.Voila! A "trend" story waiting to happen for a media bent on managing the news.
Let's take a look at some major news outlets.
Chicago Tribune (at least they admit the economy's strong)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Army missed its recruiting goals in June for the second straight month, as rising casualties in Iraq and a strong economy at home kept the service from enlisting enough new soldiers, Pentagon officials said.
The New York Times (another economy is strong admission, is Paul Krugman looking?)
WASHINGTON, July 9 — The Army missed its recruiting goals in June for the second straight month, as rising casualties in Iraq and a strong economy at home kept the service from enlisting enough new soldiers, Pentagon officials said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army, strained by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, missed its recruiting goal for the second straight month in June, indicating a trend that some defense officials on Monday called worrying.
And last but not least, The Washington Post:
The U.S. Army fell short of its active-duty recruiting goal for June by about 15 percent, defense officials said yesterday. It is the second consecutive month the service's enlistment effort has faltered amid the American public's growing discontent over the war in Iraq.