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Author Topic: No Heroes?
Daruma28
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I know so many people here have argued that their is no leftward/anti-war press bias, that they are just focusing on the negative for sensationalism.

I think this article makes a valid point here - a paper or news program could be equally sensationalistic covering positive, pro-US troop action and get just as much ratings as the negative coverage. But we won't see it because of the journalistic/editorial bias against the war to begin with.

Why is it the MSM can make us all familiar with the names of Lyndie England and Jessica Lynch - soldiers connected with scandals -- while we know nothing of soldiers doing things heroic or righteous? Surely in three years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq we have more heroism than just mentioning that Pat Tillman walked away from NFL Millions to serve.

quote:


No heroes?
By Thomas Sowell

December 2, 2004

You cannot fight a war without many brave men taking risks with their lives in order to try to accomplish their mission. Yet can you name a single American hero in either of the two wars going on today in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Chances are you can't -- not if you rely on the mainstream media. You may be able to name someone from the little band of people involved in the prison scandal in Iraq or perhaps Jessica Lynch who was rescued, but not those who rescued her.

There are apparently no heroes among the more than 100,000 men and women fighting for us overseas -- only victims. At least, that is how the news gets filtered and spun in most of the media.

Any reservist whose life is disrupted by being called to active duty has a good chance of making the front page of the New York Times with his laments. But 99 fellow reservists who are focused on their duty are far less likely to be featured.

Enemy casualties, no matter how large, seldom get as much publicity as even a handful of American casualties. A whole ghoul school of journalism was preparing for the thousandth death among American troops in Iraq, so that they could run big features on it.

The New York Times covered page after page with the names of those thousand dead. The television wing of the ghoul school did similar things in their broadcasts. The rationale for this is that they are "honoring" the dead troops and perhaps showing that the media, too, are patriotically "supporting our troops."

The fraudulence of this can be seen in the fact that Ted Koppel, who sneered at those journalists who wore little American flag lapel pins after 9/11 as people who were "flag waving," has made the display of American dead a feature of "Nightline."

Why is it that the New York Times, which has been against this war from day one, and against the military for decades before that, is spearheading this way of "honoring" our troops? What they are in fact doing is rubbing our noses in the casualties at every opportunity.

People have every right to be for or against this war or any other war. That is what editorial pages, newspaper columns, and radio and TV talk shows are all about. But pretending to be reporting news and "honoring" the troops is dirty business.

While our troops were willing to put their lives on the line to carry out their missions, they did not go overseas for the purpose of dying. Nor have they died without taking a lot more of the enemy with them. Every terrorist killed in Iraq is one that will never come over here to commit another 9/11.

Anyone who was serious about honoring the fallen troops would honor what they accomplished, not just the price they paid. More than 5,000 Marines died taking the one little island of Iwo Jima but they were honored for taking Iwo Jima -- a wretched little island in itself, but a crucial forward base for supporting the air attacks on Japan that ended World War II.

Those who are busy "honoring" the deaths of American troops in Iraq seldom have much to say about what those troops accomplished. The restoration of electricity, the re-opening of hospitals and schools, and all the other things being done to try to restore a war-devastated country get little attention, and everything that has gone wrong makes the front pages and TV news for weeks on end.

This is the approach that gave the media their biggest triumph and ego boost -- the discrediting of the war in Vietnam.

More than 50,000 Americans died trying to save that country from Communist attacks. Their achievements included victories on the battlefield that were negated politically by the way the American press reported the war.

In recent years, Vietnam's Communist leaders themselves have admitted that they lost that war on the ground but hung on because the American anti-war movement gave them hope that they could win it politically. It was a well-founded hope that the American media helped make come true when we withdrew both our troops and our financial and political backing for the Vietnamese under attack.

At that time, the media had not yet come up with the gimmick of "honoring" American war dead but they were nevertheless able to throw away the victory for which those men sacrificed their lives.

Will they repeat that heady achievement a second time in Iraq? They certainly seem to be trying. And it is no honor.


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Naldiin
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I agree with the author.
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WarrsawPact
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Ditto.
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musket
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Concerning the NYT, it appears that Mr. Sowell, with whose views I am well acquainted, has either never heard of, or conveniently forgotten, Judith Miller.

Sorry to be cranky, but I am getting a bit tired of these variations on "the German Army was stabbed in the back."

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typeorange
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What about the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC? While it doesn't mention much about what those soldiers accomplished, I think anyone would be hard pressed to argue that the Vietnam Memorial is a crass and cynical attempt by the left to twist the deaths of those soldiers for their own political gain.

At the same time, the Vietnam Memorial makes essentially the same statement that those lists that Mr. Sowell has such a problem with make.

It would appear that Mr. Sowell has a greater problem with the speakers than the speech, grafting his own cynical view of the so-called left media to spin the subtext of those lists to advance HIS political view.

While I agree that the media ought to cover more of the positive stories of soldiers in the war, I take issue with Mr. Sowell's conspiracy theories about the motivations of those who seek to honor the soldiers who've died.

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Daruma28
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I don't know, I think he makes a compelling point...

quote:
The fraudulence of this can be seen in the fact that Ted Koppel, who sneered at those journalists who wore little American flag lapel pins after 9/11 as people who were "flag waving," has made the display of American dead a feature of "Nightline."
The fact remains, why have we not seen or heard any reports at all in the MSM about heroics in the past three years of war? It's not so much a conspiracy, but a pervasive groupthink mentality of liberal anti-war bias that has become a part of the complete makeup of the mainstream print and tv media editors and journalists.
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Zyne
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Texas is a big military state. Here we see pieces on heroic acts and soldiers fairly frequently on local news; I suspect this is not the norm throughout the country.

Sadly, bad news sells. Even without the war, our daily news could be filled with positive stories on individuals who would inspire us all. But that won't ever happen, we'd get bored or annoyed, and change the channel.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Zyne -

I know I wouldn't change the channel. Nor, I'm guessing, would many others. Despite the bad news coming out of Iraq, and the feeling of many that we shouldn't be there, the US is still full of patriotic people, willing to hear about our troops.

What I've always been suprised at is that even Fox news (is pro-American, pro-Bush) does not show stories like the above. For that reason, I believe that it is less a media conspiracy against the troops, and more a reflection of modern journalistic style. 'Human Interest' stories are normally relegated to a small portion of the news. Broad sweeping changes, or scandals are always the 'big news', and worth covering.

I believe it is more for that reason than any other that embedded journalists and new corps. do not feature more stories on the heroics of our troops.

I think the moment news stories realize that 'local' or 'human interest' stories on our troops sell, we'll see more of them.

--Firedrake

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typeorange
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First, I just saw Fox News promoting a new piece called "Heroes of Fallujah" which, presummably, is about soldiers on the ground and their accomplishment. That piece notwithstanding, I'd agree that their is a lack of stories like that in the mainstream media. I take issue with the principle article's thesis that the reason behind this lack of pro-soldier type stories is because of some liberal consipracy to make the military look bad. Zyne's point is well taken, and I think there may be a beleif in the media that those stories don't attract and retain viewers/readers as much as negative stories do.

I think another thing that may be operation here as well is the idea that the military isn't the type of organization that glorifies the contributions of individuals. The psychology of the military is focused on cooperation and teamwork, and they do this for a reason. A hundred soldiers acting as one are far more effective than a hundred soldiers each seeking his own slice of glory and heroism.

In the end, though, I think that the lack of hero-type stories in the mainstream media, while a significant thing to notice, is not a reasonable ground to hypothesize about an elite, liberal cabal who feindishly controls the media and seeks to exploit american casualties for their own political gain.

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Haggis
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Welcome, typeorange
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Why is it the MSM can make us all familiar with the names of Lyndie England and Jessica Lynch - soldiers connected with scandals -- while we know nothing of soldiers doing things heroic or righteous?
Well, England was covered because our troops aren't supposed to do what she did. Private Lynch got coverage because the military itself "sold" her story to the "MSM" as a feel-good special event. She got far more coverage before the "scandal" than after.

Daruma, I don't argue that the "MSM" are good at their job -- I don't think they are. I argue that their ineptitude isn't "liberal bias".

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Sadly, bad news sells. Even without the war, our daily news could be filled with positive stories on individuals who would inspire us all. But that won't ever happen, we'd get bored or annoyed, and change the channel.

I also think that there is a lot of groupthink and cynicism amongst our "elite" media. They don't like to deviate from their scripts, and they can't imagine heroism. Many of the folks in the media back stateside, whatever their personal politics, have never and will never be even a little bit close to the situations our soldiers face every day in Iraq -- it just doesn't resonate with them.
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Everard
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I perused the "msm" and didn't find any stories of "Boy saves cat in tree,"
"Local woman pulls baby out of fire"
"Passerby prevents mugging."

So, no, I don't think there's an anti-war bias behind the lack of hero stories (which is a thesis I reject anyways, there have been a fair number of stories of "look what this soldier is doing thats good." The names just don't stick, because stories like that always run once and then they are over, compared to major scandals like the prison abuse, which rightfully last for months).

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typeorange
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Thanks for the welcome, Haggis. This is a really great forum.
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Haggis
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Agreed [Smile] .
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DonaldD
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quote:
People have every right to be for or against this war or any other war. That is what editorial pages, newspaper columns, and radio and TV talk shows are all about. But pretending to be reporting news and "honoring" the troops is dirty business.
.
.
Anyone who was serious about honoring the fallen troops would honor what they accomplished, not just the price they paid.

I suppose the author doesn’t even notice the irony of these two statements, taken together. To honour what the soldiers have accomplished as opposed to their sacrifice presupposes that you agree with what the military (not individual soldiers) is trying to accomplish on a broad scale.

As an example, think back to Afghanistan: there were many more “positive” stories that came out of that conflict. For better or worse, many people (including many of those working in the MSM) do not believe the US is wearing the white hat in Iraq. The “best” they could do is showcase specific cases of personal valour (a la Jessica Lynch [Roll Eyes] ) or those who have sacrificed the most.

I leave “best” in quotation marks because I don’t believe the media should be cheerleaders for government/military action. Meaning they should report hard news if they are pretending to be serious. “Soldiers die in war” is not news. “Man saves childhood buddy in shootout with insurgents” is not news either. Jessica Lynch is photogenic, gets shot, captured, put up in a hospital, and sent back to the US is a movie of the week; but it’s definitely not news.

Of course, as long as the media have to sell sell sell, they will always include this pap.

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