Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Aiding, Abetting and Enabling

Here's a post from Tall Dave on an 'accidental' admission from the press.

The AP agrees with my (and others') assessment of their war coverage:
Daily reports of U.S. troops deaths - approaching 2,000 - have helped drive down public support in the U.S. for the war.

Exactly. They even manage to squeeze in another mention of casualties in the very sentence in which they note the daily reports of casualties are discouraging the war effort.

While I'm sure they didn't quite mean it that way, they also clearly can't claim to not understand the practical effect of how they're reporting the war. Does anyone really think the press wants us to win?

My mind went instantly to Time magazine writer Michael Ware, who recently penned an article, Chasing the Ghosts. As the title suggests, he characterizes the insurgency as nearly invincible. Enemies of the U.S. are "elusive and inexhaustible" while the mission is "beleagured" and a marked by a "series of failures"... among other things.

But if Ware's prose still allow for a plausible deniability of aiding the other side, this interview from July 2004 demolishes any lingering doubts:
TONY JONES: Michael, why are they letting you get behind this curtain? Is there a message they are wanting you to get out through Time magazine to the rest of the world?

MICHAEL WARE: Clearly, these men, just like the American military I deal with and the public affairs officers who stick to me like glue and only let me see what they want me to see when I'm with them, so it is with the Jihadis. They're showing me what they want me to see, which is, to be truthful, quite a lot, but they know anything I see or hear is public record. It's their responsibility to confine their information.

This is what I do. Yeah, they do want to get a message out.

They're so media savvy. If they weren't before, they've learnt it, they've polished it.

Even a year ago when I was meeting these nationalist guerrillas who then were ill formed, not yet in clear command and control organisations, even then they were saying to me, "This war is not going to be won on the battlefield. We can't hope to defeat the Americans. It's going to be won in the living rooms of Iraq and Middle America, it's going to be won on television."

They were saying, "We can maintain this, we can, we have, we can sustain this longer than your political will will last. Before your people call you home." Again, that's a part of it now, they're saying, "We're here and we're not going away," and they want to say that to the West. They can tell Arabic channels this until the cows come home, but to have it coming through an American iconic publication like Time magazine, people will listen.

And look, the fact is it's true.

The last sentence is revealing. It's true to the extent that people like Ware choose to make it so. He knows the insurgency cannot defeat the US militarily, he knows they can only do it with his help, yet he is perfectly willing to enable the self-fulfilling prophecy by broadcasting the insurgency's message via an 'iconic Western publication.' He is in search of a Vietnam redux, where the only hope for victory is that which is provided by the US anti-war movement.

It's casualties without context reporting template. It's as though American soldiers are aimlessly wandering through the desert waiting to be killed. Then again, if I relied solely on the MSM for my information, that is probably the impression I would get. Thankfully, we have people like Bill Roggio, Steve Schippert and Marvin Hutchens that put together this flash presentation highlighting the significant recent operations in Iraq, and Wretchard lends his always insightful analysis as well.

I challenge anybody to point to an MSM piece that comes close to the kind of reporting that Michael Yon is giving us - this piece in particular was downright astounding. Written descriptions of close quarters fighting, pictures of a firefight in an alley. An American soldier, with three bullets in his legs returning fire.... truly harrowing descriptions of what is happening on the ground and why.

It's a shame, a scandal really, that nothing close to the analysis of Wretchard or the reporting of Michael Yon is ever offered up by any of our 'iconic publications' or 'newspapers of record.'


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