Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wag the Pavlov's Dog

Josh White of The Washington Post reports today that Americans are losing confidence in military news.
The U.S. public's confidence that the military and the media keep them informed about national security issues has eroded significantly over the past six years, according to a new poll that shows 60 percent of Americans believe they do not get enough information about military matters to make educated decisions.

That's hardly news to anyone who remembers the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman fiascos, both of which were manufactured by the hapless Pentagon spin machine, or how "senior military officers" tell us we've "turned the corner" one minute and are "in danger of losing" the next. I genuinely lament the military's loss of credibility with the American population. That may be one of the most profound casualties in this War on Terror (or World Wide Enterprise Against Evil, or whatever we're calling it today). But even more lamentable is the pervasive atmosphere of denial in military circles as to why America is losing trust in just about anything the Pentagon tells them. From White:
Retired Maj. Gen. David L. Grange, executive vice president of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, said he believes the round-the-clock news cycle and perceived biases within media organizations have hurt public confidence in their information.

"The mass media gets negative points from the people because they think that the big media is taking a position and shaping stories to fit their agenda," said Grange, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation is a media group dedicated to supporting the free press. Among the issues it focuses on is the military/media relationship. I don't know how they're doing with that free press thing, but they need to get on the stick in the military/media area, because General Grange's remarks are pure bunker mentality bunk.

Any time the military senses a droop in its perceived image, it blames the news media. The way they'd like you to understand things, the media drafted the Iraq policy behind closed doors, and cooked the intelligence on Iraq's WMD and ties to al Qaeda. The media drafted the Justice Department memos that told the DOD it could disregard the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Convention on Torture. The media failed to plan for the "post hostilities" phase of the Iraq War, and let Afghanistan turn into the world's leading narco-state, and failed to find Osama bin Laden, and on and on and on.

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If anything, the mainstream media is guilty of aiding and abetting the five-sided echo chamber's information manipulation strategy. It's pretty clear now that Judith Miller and others were feeding us the administration's war propaganda and couching it as factual information, and it's evident that the "liberal" media are now scared snotless of stepping on too many uniformed toes lest they lose their inside sources and/or their audience share to Fox News and the rest of the Big Brother Broadcasting Conglomerate.

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The military's mistrust of the media took root in the Vietnam War, and despite efforts over the years to improve the relationship, military types almost universally regard the press as ignorant, inept, untrustworthy, and adversarial. In other words, the media are the enemy.

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Next on Wag the Pavlov's Dog: Vietnam, Tailhook, and Winning the Public Affairs War.

2 comments:

  1. Certainly some of the loss of confidence in the military lands squarely on Rumsfeld's shoulders. Were the Pentagon run by someone in the military instead of Citizen Rumsfailed -- an empty suit who doesn't know Dick Cheney about strategic military matters -- the Iraq endeavor would have played out differently.

    As for the media's culpability ... history will judge them, and it won't be kind.

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  2. I'll touch on Rummy later, but yeah, he's sort of put the bullet in the horse's head.

    Jeff

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