For the second day in a row, the Washington Post celebrated the end of the 18-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, this time with a front-page center-column story that opened with the tale of a soldier who videotaped and posted to YouTube the phone call in which he announced to his father that he was gay:
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post couldn't contain his glee over Joint Chief of Staffs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen's Feb. 2 testimony in favor of overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"Mike Mullen's 42 years in the military earned him a chest full of ribbons, but never did he do something braver that what he did on Capitol Hill on Tuesday," began Milbank's Feb. 3 ode to the admiral. "In a packed committee room, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff looked hostile Republican senators in the eye and told them unwelcome news: He thinks gays should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces he commands."
"If they awarded decorations for congressional testimony, Mullen would have himself a Medal of Honor," concluded the columnist.
Mullen explained his "personal belief" to the Senate Armed Services "that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do."
"No matter how I look at the issues, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," he elaborated. "For me personally, it comes down to integrity - theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."
Milbank's praise of Mullen's testimony is a complete 180 from how he characterized the testimony of Elaine Donnelly at a House Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing about the same topic in 2008.
NBC outdid itself in promoting the pro-gay view in its Nightly News coverage Wednesday of a hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on personnel. NBC served up a litany of gay "victims" of the military's ban on open homosexuality, plus pro-gay congressmen, and played up a recent poll showing most Americans wanting to overturn the ban.
NBC cited only one pro-ban witness, a retired Army Ranger sergeant who got 3 seconds of airtime in the 2:39 segment. Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, who gave a detailed testimony supporting the ban, was not featured at all. The sergeant's statement, by the way, was immediately and angrily refuted by a veteran Army officer now in Congress.
Narrated by Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, the piece begins with lesbian retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah walking along a country path with her partner and a Frisbee-catching dog. She gives heartfelt testimony. Next comes retired Marine Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost a leg in Iraq and has been featured on other newscasts as the face of gay soldiering. Alva is shown with his prosthetic leg, in full uniform, and then testifying. Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), proclaims the gay ban "unpatriotic" and "cruel."