Suek, on a comment at SotC — Disinformation Practical Exercise, shares with us The Big Picture(s) from Karl at Protein Wisdom. Good comments make a weak blog stronger. Thanks, Sue.
The Big Picture(s) is long and link rich. Book mark it and come back when you have some spare time and spare brain cells. I’m still trying to digest it myself, but when I do I’ll gin up something to say. But don’t wait on me.
I am generally loathe to attribute to malice that which may be explained by incompetence, but it is possibile that both influence the coverage of Iraq. — Karl
Malice, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Political Correctness/Cultural Marxism, white liberal guilt, a propensity to Blame America First, abyssmal ignorance of all things military, and compatible short-term objectives make the English-language Main Stream Media aiders, comforters, accomplices, and promulgators of the enemy’s Strategic Communications. I do not share Karl’s hesitation. A spade is a spade.
See also Protein Wisdom Hits The Bullseye from Subsunk at Blackfive.
Don’t miss More Big Picturing: those who engage in intentional misrepresenting of facts in the service of an agenda are engaging in behavior that can best be described as collusive. And taken together, these individual actors — having been stamped out of the same ideological molds by schools of journalism — form a kind of de facto conspiracy, one that I’m sure they are dimly aware of, though they would prefer we called what they were engaged in advocacy.
if the press doesn’t understand the dynamic on the ground, why are they so committed to pushing a particular version, one that happens to favor the propaganda efforts of al Qaeda?
All one has to do is read the transcript of bin Laden’s most recent ramblings to find that both Democrats and Osama are “singing from the same sheet of music.”
Perhaps we are entering new historical terrain, where the commanding general’s pivotal strategic gambit is a media event.
Petraeus’ pivotal moment is the rare opportunity to correct what media analysts call “the dominant narrative.”
Go over to Strategy Page and read the whole thing.
Read The Haditha Series by Robin Boyd at Chickenhawk Express. Read all three parts of this series, then channel your rage into constructive deconstruction of left/liberal/tranzie drive by media.
Opposing information is intentional or unintentional truth based on information coming from anyone that represents an opposing view based upon factual evidence.
The enemy is not required to tell the truth. They only use it when it serves their purpose. Bad things happen in war. Even some of the Good Guys do the wrong thing sometimes. Even the right thing can be described negatively. The truth cannot be refuted. It can only be explained. This is where context becomes critical. As irregulars, few of us will be in positions enabling us to explain the event presented as opposing information, but we will be able to question the agenda and ulterior motives of the source of the opposing information, keep records on the accuracy of that source in the past, and analyze who benefits from the dissemination of the opposing information. We can remain sceptical until the information proves to be true, then we can disseminate the explanation provided by the regulars. A few of us may be able to add context to the explanation that the rest of us can spread around our individual circles of influence.
In the war for the battle space between the ears of the American voter, opposing information must be met with even more information. The response to free speech with which you disagree is more free speech. The counter to pessimism is optimism. True bad news degrades optimism, as it should, but context in explaining the bad news can mitigate some of that pessimism. There are a whole lot of people working very hard to convince you that the war is lost. It is up to you whether to be convinced or not.
Homework: Read How Al Qaeda is Winning Even as it is Losing
I’m going to the house.
I will miss TQ. Hard to explain why. It can be an aggravating place. Beautiful sunrises, though. I am thinking seriously of moving out West. The desert agrees with me.
It was my honor to live and work alongside some fine Marines. I am a better man for it.
I haven’t blogged much about TQ. Maybe I will start. Others have done a better job of describing this place than I could. OPSEC means I haven’t identified people I work with, or where I work, or what I do. This blog was never meant to be all about me, or my travels.
For me, the war is not over. I am just redeploying from the Iraq Theater of Operations to the Zone of the Interior.
School of the Counterpropagandist will start back up when I get home.
I wrote the above last night in Kuwait. This is what I wrote yesterday:
I am sitting in the waiting shed at the TQ Joint Air Cargo Operations Terminal, typing this on Cannonette’s laptop that I brought back with me. I have been here many times before. They have some new blue seats in here, now. Big improvement over metal folding chairs. Last time I flew out of here I hung out with J.D. Johannes of Outside The Wire and Gene Blanton of The Fourth Rail. I was stuck here for hours with them and never said a word, because I didn’t know who they were. I finally recognized Gene on the C-130, but by then conversation had to be shouted over the engine noise. A picture of him at a feasting on goat clicked in my brain and I nudged his knee and hollered “Don’t you write for the Fourth Rail?” He smiled and nodded. We three conversed down at Ali Al Salem while we waited for our baggage pallet to show up. Good guys, both of them.
Lots of citizen journalist New Media embeds on the way out. That’s good. Send money. Money talks. Comments on blogs are cheap. Sending embeds out here isn’t.
In a few hours there will be one less blogger in Al Anbar. I haven’t really blogged that much about my personal experiences out here. I haven’t discussed my job, or the people I work with, or the things I’ve seen. That was never the purpose of this blog. It wasn’t supposed to be all about me. My contribution to the war effort has been honorable, and I am proud to have been accepted by some fine Marines, but I just don’t have the war stories some people do. I haven’t suffered the hardships, seen the horrendous sights, watched buddies die. I’ve been rocketed and mortared. Indirect fire and ambushed convoys which reduce the variety of fodder in the DFAC are about the only things the bad guys have ever done to me. The bad guys have always been a minor irritant to me, safely ensconced behind the wire, surrounded by Hesco bastions and blast walls. The enemy rarely manages to annoy me nearly as much as the friendlies. Too many people standing in line waiting for too few of whatever it is we are patiently waiting our turn at. Met some truly outstanding young Americans standing in lines. So many Americans just have no concept of the high quality humans serving in the military. It has been my honor to be alongside them.I’m moving back in with Cannonette. I want to come home to her every night.
UPDATE: I’m back in the world. The lovely and talented Cannonette welcomed me in our traditional fashion and now she is asleep behind me. Should have another lesson of the School of the Counterpropagandist up by Tuesday.
Misinformation is inaccurate information. When the inaccuracy is pointed out to the source, the source usually runs a correction, which will never be seen by 90% of the people who saw the original incorrect piece. It is usually assumed that the inaccuracy is caused by ignorance and not willful disregard of known facts. Misinformation about military affairs is extremely common nowadays. Very few “journalists” and even fewer editors know jack about the military. Way too many of them carry around in their heads a negative narrative of the U.S. Armed Forces, the same template Beauchamp was appealing to with his hoax. Embedded journalists usually wise up pretty quick, but there just aren’t that many from the MSM. “Citizens of the world” who consider “objectivity” more important than getting the story right prefer to stay in the Palestine Hotel and re-write the emails they get from their “stringers,” who feed the ignorant want they want to hear. Now when the stringers are working for the bad guys, that’s disinformation. When the stringers aren’t working for the bad guys and the “journalist” re-writes the story and gets it wrong either out of ignorance or ideological prejudice, that’s misinformation.
Anybody remember when CNN claimed Special Forces used poison gas in Laos during the Vietnam War? Was that an intentional effort to muddy the waters over Saddam’s weapons of mass distruction? What that story did was create a big stink, monopolize a lot of good people’s time who should have been working on other things, and cost the tax payers for investigations. Was that all unintentional? Maybe. Maybe not. On purpose or by accident, the ability of elements of our government and our military to deal with more pressing issues was degraded.
Misinformation may be the propaganda most vulnerable to Irregular counterpropagandists. If enough of us are on the look out for it, chances improve of one of us picking up on it and throwing the BS flag, recognizing the inaccuracy, bringing attention to the inaccuracy, and aiding the Good Guys to acquire the target and debunk it with opposing facts. Dan Rather doesn’t do the SeeBS Nightly News any more. That kind of operation is what I’m talking about. Lots of smart people online. Every “journalist” should know by now that somebody in his readership knows more about what he writes about than he does. The Regulars often choose to ignore misinformation, because the work of debunking it may not be worth the effort. It is time-intensive, resource-intensive, and in the end the Regulars are betting their credibility against whoever is putting out inaccurate info. It can turn into a Death By A Thousand Cuts. But the blogosphere doesn’t suffer from the same limitations. There are a lot of us, so our time-restraints are different. We are volunteers, so the resources come out of our hides. Most of us won’t be able to pick up on the inaccuracy until it is pointed out to us, but once we become aware of it we can get smart on it and spread it around. Blog about it, link to it, ping it, email it, talk about it, comment on the vector’s website, and generally raise enough Hell to make them run a correction this time and fact check better next time.
Today was another one of my SCARY days. Cannoneer’s FOB was in the news. 5 people were killed when a helo went down. I know this sound so very crude and unrefined, But DAMN!!! I almost messed my panties today. I had just got home from helping my girlfriend at her store, came in dropped my purse on our bed and was changing into my Jammies, I hate to wear un-comfy clothes at home. As I was pulling my jeans off an Alert came across Fox News ( I leave it on all day so I can keep up with what’s going on) as I fell to the floor I tried very hard to keep my wits about me so I could hear what was being said. After hearing what was on I went to the computer to see if I could get anymore info… Nothing was there, No E mail from Cannoneer or any info about the FOB. So here I sit at the computer waiting to hear from him. I am pretty sure the phones and computers are cut off and he’ll call me when he can. I know in my heart he’s fine and I’m not freaking out as bad as I usually do? Does that mean I’m getting use to all this? I feel so scared most of the time for the safety of my Boys, The other Boys are safe in the rear for now but what can I do other than pray for everyones saftey. I have yet to hear from Cannoneer, I feel he’s alright, I would feel a disturbance in the Force if he wasn’t, but still there is a nasty little voice in my head telling me all the things that could go wrong over there.
I know there are other people out there going through this too. I pray for all of you and all our families who are doing what they feel is the right thing to do. And today 5 families lost someone they care about dearly so lets all say a prayer for them.
Update: I’ve heard from Cannoneer today and he’s fine and doing well!
Thanks your prayers and well wishes!