Prine vs. Burden for the Military Information Championship of the World

In this corner,

Matt Burden,

blogging as BlackFive .

In this corner, Carl Prine,

commenting as

Action Hero Sock Puppet.


Action Hero Sock Puppet has been a troll at Blackfive going on two and a half years, tolerated because he served and in my humble opinion is thus afforded courtesy he would not otherwise receive. 

one of the Trib’s investigative reporters, was embedded with the 1st Marine Division. Prine, 36, joined the Trib’s special-projects team in July 2000. His reporting on local heroin abuse has won state and local journalism awards. His 2002 special report on security lapses at chemical and nuclear-power plants was a finalist for the prestigious Oakes Awards and has been recognized by two journalism organizations — Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is a U.S. Marine veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and previously worked as a combat correspondent in Sierra Leone for the Christian Science Monitor.

An investigative journalist for a second-tier Main Stream Media outlet with significant military experience.  Embedded with  1st MAR DIV, went to Baghdad with them.  A cursory peek at what he reported five years ago looks fairly decent to me.  I first heard of him the other night when he came on PBS.  It was an old rerun, but it was new to me.  He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and went back to Iraq as a shooter.   Whatever douchebaggery he may or may not be guilty of, he has cred.  Cred which he is attempting to trade on in bolstering the reputation of the Main Stream Media as purveyors of Strategic Communications pertaining to the United States Armed Forces and running down the effectiveness of New Media as purveyors of same.

Milblogs exist because millions of serving and former American military personnel and their family members and friends and supporters lost confidence in the objectivity of the MSM.  The anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-military BIAS of the American MSM, the objectively pro-insurgent tone of most of the reporting, and an intolerable predisposition on the part of the press to believe the worst about those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan created a demand for

real experiences flying unfiltered to anyone with an Internet connection and an interest.*

The unfiltered part was the basis of milblog credibility. 

In a nation with decreasing numbers of citizens who have any personal connection to the military, blogs serve to educate those who are interested about the values, beliefs, and humanity of those in uniform. To augment the efforts of Army journalists, blogs offer readers a soldier’s-eye report that seems more credible – straight from the trenches, complete with interesting anecdotes and colorful descriptions – a perspective that is clearly unsanitized by Army leadership.17  According to one retired officer, “The best blogs offer a taste of reality of Iraq or Afghanistan that the news media rarely capture. And they’re often a grand, irreverent hoot.”18

MAJ Robbins understood the value of hundreds of unofficial  part-time PSYOPers contributing to the effort to engage the domestic target audience’s attention, interest and support for the mission and the people carrying it out.  But those days are gone.  PA, IA, and OPSEC triumphed over PO.  Active duty bloggers face ever more restrictions.  Blogs are being blocked from government computers.  Milbloggers, potential milbloggers, and commenters are being herded into pass-word protected, IA-approved Army Knowledge Online cyber ghettoes inaccessible to the unsponsored.

The people who thought milblogs were a good thing are on the way out.

Whoever gets in will be even less appreciative. 

Regime change in Washington is going to reverberate throughout the blogosphere for as long as it lasts, which may not be long. 

Interpreting milspeak to the general public, encouraging support for the troops and their missions, cheerleading, disseminating good news, bolstering the people’s will to endeavor to persevere, pushing back against those who would blow up recruiting stations, vandalize memorials, desecrate funerals, and spit on soldiers is a campaign in the War of Ideas that will continue after the election, but it will have to be fought by the only force left that is free to speak, while they still are free to speak.

MSM War Correspondent vs. Virtual Warlord.  Credibility is in the eye of the beholder. 


*Matthew Currier Burden, The Blog of War, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, 2006, p. 4


Filed under Electronic Counter Media, Old Media, PSYOP Auxiliaries, Virtual War Lords

31 responses to “Prine vs. Burden for the Military Information Championship of the World

  1. Grimmy

    The pos has also been playing at maintaining the meme of guilt by simple accusation for the Haditha Marines.

    He’s made statements that are not true and has gone to great length to confuse the issue with manufactured bullshit, supposition posted as fact and general reliance on a btdt shield against counter argument.

    Personally, I give less than one half of one diseased rats arse what a man did yesterday. If he’s a dishonorable douchebag totally lacking in integrity today, he’s a douchebag.

  2. He makes his living afflicting the comfortable and stirring up shit. Muckrakers are heroes in some quarters. My perception has been managed to perceive him as one of very few MSM journos who can avoid being dismissed out of hand by most milblog readers.

    SECDEF Gates says the media is not the enemy.
    LTC Batemen and the SWJ crew parrot that line.

    Public Affairs has won. PSYOP lost.

    PA is Stockholm Syndromed by the MSM. Opposition to the MSM from within DOD now goes deep. Plausibly deniable surrogates carry on as best we can.

    I consider Blackfive a PIST countering MSM propaganda. Prine has taken up the task of counter-counterprop.

  3. Grimmy

    Prine has taken up the task of fronting for an enemy black propaganda op.

    Yeah, when it comes to that jerk off, I’m a one trick pony and that pos is just another filthy tard playing the “hang em ’cause the enemy says so” game against those Marines.

  4. I’m sure Prine doesn’t see his MSM as part of the enemy’s strategic communications effort.

  5. Grimmy

    I’m referring to a discussion over a few dozen comments when the Haditha issue was first coming to B5.

    POS Prine was constantly regurgitating the meme that the Marines were never under attack and the whole thing was just Marines doing death blossom crap for revenge.

    I presented him counters to his bullshit, point by point with the actual evidence collected at Defend Our Marines and other places but the f***wit just kept repeating the same crap over and over.

    Now, again, when the Haditha issue gets put back up at B5 a week or so ago, the scumbag plays the same crap, repeating himself nearly exactly, as if he’d memorized his bullshit.

    That’s the game he often plays at in comments. He’s a douche. Plain, simple, douche.

    I’d jam that POS’s head on a pike if the opportunity presented itself.

  6. Grimmy

    Huh. I posted a reply but it seems to have gone poof.

    Probably cussed too much or some such.

    Anyhoo, my issue with the prissy piece of Prine goes way back to when the Haditha issue first got put up at B5.

    A few dozen comments were spent in countering that “individual” and his blatant misinformation and devotion to the spin as created by the enemy propagandist that invented that story.

    He proved himself beyond clue immune and well into openly supporting the narrative of assumed guilt.

    He’s scum.

  7. Pingback: Chapomatic » Gets Popcorn, Sits To Watch The Sparks

  8. Grimmy

    Ok. your blog thing is acting weird (voice of that “Stop Sign” advert chick in my head when I said that)…

    Anyhoo, the replies didn’t show up, even after refreshing, so I assumed I’d screwed the pooch and resent.

    I’m really not all repeatatory. Well, not as bad as the above makes me look, anyway.

  9. You touch on something, C#4, that’s hard for me as a civilian when I come up against an anti-troop troop. I have never served. It’s hard for me to tell someone who HAS served that he’s full of crap — even when I KNOW he is. He’s done the hard stuff — I haven’t. I truly appreciate you and Grimmy and the others at B5 stepping up and doing what you’re doing — pointing out his idiocy.

  10. He’s not anti-troop. He’s a former Marine who became an “investigative journalist.” Probably considers himself a champion of the working class. He provokes caustic responses to add to his stories. He is accomplishing exactly what he set out to do over at Blackfive, which is make the commenters look like right-wing nutcases to the general public.

    Annoying as hell, but not idiotic. Too clever by half.

  11. Grimmy

    Cannon. You can dress that pig up in whatever sort of dress but it’s still just that pig.

    His games display him to be what he is. Also, his commentary string regarding Haditha demonstrates a willful disregard for actual fact and a demand for adherence to the narrative of guilt.

    He may play at not appearing anti-troop, but he uncovers himself. He’s nothing more than another msm glory whore.

    Murtha was a Marine too. So was Scott Ritter.

    And, for those reading… in the world of the intellectual inbreeds, “right-wing nutcase” is the slur applied to anyone who makes any effort to stand against the betrayers and their perfidious maliciousness.

  12. Grimmy

    Oh, sorry, forgot to add:

    NOT standing up to the scumbags who spread slanders against our troops is to capitulate to their agenda.

    There is no middle ground in this fight.

  13. There is no middle ground in this fight.

    You just scared off all the “moderates” in the domestic TA, Grimmy.

    Let’s not make it any easier for Carl.

  14. Grimmy

    The other side of that coin is the reality that equivocation is part of the process of capitulation.

    Moderates? Fence sitters? You mean the folk that can’t be bothered to stand up.

  15. Grimmy

    So, then what? Constant retreat? Pretend that siding with the agenda of the enemy is no big thing?

    Constant compromise? How far?

    And, someone needs to ask the hard question.

    Why the **** are so many so damn clueless? This isn’t about how much socialism is good or bad in a capitalist oriented economy, or how much tax is enough or too much…

    This is about either siding with your own during a time of war, or siding with the enemy. There is no middle in this fight. And pretending that there is only provides the growth medium that such idiocy feeds on.

    This is not about difference of opinion. This is about morons allowing themselves to be turned against their own by constant hammering of the oft told lies.

    Shame and ridicule and eventually pain. That is the traditional, customary and universal due to those who, for whatever reason, give themselves over to the will of the enemy or allow themselves to become confused about which side they’re supposed to be standing for.

    There are situations where kindness is nothing but weakness.

  16. The beatings will continue until the loyalty improves!

  17. The pos has also been playing at maintaining the meme of guilt by simple accusation for the Haditha Marines.

    I found it interesting that Carl didn’t rejoin the Marines. He joined the National Guard. Obviously, Carl has no love of the Marine Corps.

    That’s important because I knew one person that was a veteran of the Gulf War, he was also a Marine and he also got out soon afterwards. The thing with Steve, who commented at Neo-Neocon, is that Steve believed Marines and Soldiers should stay in their protected bases so as to avoid IED casualties. That kind of defensive mentality is not what you usually find in the Marine Corps, especially given the Corps’ mission focus on shock assault tactics on fortified beaches or fortresses.

    Carl might have picked the National Guard Penns because he knew they were going to be deployed. Whereas in the Marine Corps, the high combat risk assignments are grabbed up as soon as they are available. Although, that would suggest Carl joined not to serve others but to serve himself and his career based upon the specific knowledge that the Penns NG would go where Carl needed to go.

    It’s hard for me to tell someone who HAS served that he’s full of crap

    That’s not a problem for me. Although I prefer deception tactics over bigger hammer approach.

    He is accomplishing exactly what he set out to do over at Blackfive, which is make the commenters look like right-wing nutcases to the general public.

    How do you think he is doing that?

    An approach that alienates the Uncommitted Civilians and causes them to commit to the Other Side may not be the way to go.

    As we have seen in Iraq, the uncommited are uncommited precisely because someone didn’t make them commit. As the war continues, they’ll often flip sides according to who they think is winning.

  18. THE M.O.
    Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Prine gained access to reports from the Federal Railroad Administration, a little known federal agency that had identified hundreds of sites with security defects. Using FRA deficiency reports to map his way, Prine hit the road. But he felt he needed a symbol to communicate to his readers the urgency of what he was writing about. As he visited vulnerable trains, he left his business card, asking readers to imagine if it were a bomb. In the course of his six-month investigation, Prine provocatively left his business card on chemical rail cars in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and various places in New Jersey.

    Well. Now we know that all a terrorist has to do is to get some useful idiot to file a Freedom of Information Act and all kinds of target opportunities start appearing.

  19. Joining the Guard to be an 11B instead of killing himself to get back into the Corps as an 0311 is more likely an age and PT thing. Prior service Marines are not uncommon in the Reserve Components of the Army. Doesn’t necessarily mean they hated the Corps. My Brigade Commander in Korea loved to tell war stories about his enlisted time in the Corps. An Army Colonel, bragging about his time as a Lance Corporal.

    He may have picked the PAARNG because they’re his hometown unit. I haven’t found any of his stories from that deployment, so I’m not sure in what ways he served himself on that deployment. Perhaps just the moral authority of BTDTs to tell pogues to STFU.

    I think he comes on Blackfive to stir up emotional and vitriolic responses that he can later dredge up to discredit the value of milblogs by painting them as right-wing extremists.

    He has built up a nice niche as a national security/OIF “journalist.” Damaging the credibility of milblogs in the eyes of the general militarily ignorant population will make him quite popular in influential circles come Inauguration Day.

  20. Prior service Marines are not uncommon in the Reserve Components of the Army.

    That’s true — my one of the best guys in my brother’s Army Res. unit was a former GySgt. He was invaluable in a unit of mostly young guys.

    I think he comes on Blackfive to stir up emotional and vitriolic responses that he can later dredge up to discredit the value of milblogs by painting them as right-wing extremists.

    You’re probably right, but the responses I read seemed anything but emotional. I thought most folks handles him quite well.

    He may play at not appearing anti-troop, but he uncovers himself. He’s nothing more than another msm glory whore.

    I think you’re right Grimmy. What I read in his pretentious replies are the exact talking-down-to-everyone tone that I get when AlBore starts talking. He supports the troops like the MoveOn jerks that hand a calling card to our Troops with one hand and stab them in the back with the other. He’s a Murtha wannabe with a word processor.

  21. Also, anyone that calls himself “Action Hero Sock Puppet” after commenting as “Carl” on Blackfive for awhile, is simply not all that serious about his military service, whether Marine or Guard.

    That combined with his arguments with Grimmy over the Marine Corps, does tend to suggest a certain ambivalence or hatred of the Marine Corps, at least.

    Your example of the Colonel is interesting in that if a person wants a career, he can obviously pick whichever service he thinks is best for him. Carl didn’t go into the Guard because he wanted a military career, however. He would have went for commissioned rank then, especially since he already had prior enlisted experience.

  22. Mr. Prine emailed me and says:

    “I adopted “Action Hero Sock Puppet” as a means to lampoon so many blowhards who seem to have engaged the “enemy” only online. Armchair warriors calling me a “traitor” or “enemy lover” make me laugh, considering that unlike them I’ve actually engaged real contemporary enemies of our nation in real combat, and my sole reason for doing so was patriotism.”

  23. Grimmy

    Yeah. Of course. And his demonstration of his proclivity to swallow, without question, an obvious enemy black propaganda operation and carry the fight to protect the “guilty because they’re charged” goes all the distance in proving that “patriotism”.

    And, as per usual in the bullshit leftard meme, he breaks out the chicken hawk slur.

    Only those who btdt in this particular fight have a right to an opinion, and only if it fits within the deceiver/defeatist/US military is incompetent narrative.

  24. Grimmy

    By the way… this is a bright and shiny example of the modern “moderate”.

  25. Grimmy

    To further my opinion of agenda regarding the sock puppet under discussion in this thread, consider the following:

    He slurs milblogs as threats to OPSEC and claims that only msm has the true right to cover this or any war.

    He bases his claim, primarily, against BlackFive by bringing up a picture once posted there of an Abrams tank damaged in a fight. This pic was cleared as ok to publish by the military so it was posted. After the discussion in that thread and others in other blogs, it was reclassified as possible assistance to the enemy in the bomb damage assessment area. So, BlackFive pulled the pic.

    That is given as an example of the clear and present danger of milblogs in this war.

    What has been the msm track record in such matters?
    The graphic display of possible weak points in the body armor issued at that time and a detailed description of where to aim for maximum damage by snipers, comes to mind.

    Compare just those two issues. Now add in the msm and its well established pattern of sowing dissatisfaction, defeatism, despair, confusion, misinformation, ignorance, idiocy, etc etc in a near endless list.

    The use of known insurgents as stringers to provide “news” stories. Fake but true stories. The turning of a breakdown of discipline in one small unit at Abu Graihb into a massive and ongoing propaganda coup for our enemy, etc etc etc.

    This is who this sock puppet claims should have the only allowed voice in providing the citizenry of the US any information related to this war.

    Yeah, he’s a patriot alright… but for whom and for what?

    A true moderate.

  26. Action Hero Sock Puppet

    Of nearly 550 blogs monitored by the Army in a year’s time, 30 displayed images or contained information useful to the enemy. That’s according to the Army.

    In a presentation created by the Army, Blackfive was one of the blogs singled out for displaying what the Army considered to be an opsec violation.

    It has been explained that a commander sent the photographs to Blackfive, and that an image soliciting help in assessing BDA was included online. When the Army noticed what happened, the command asked B5 to take down the photograph, and it was.

    Grimmy, ever hapless, in this particular case is really, really hapless. Why? Because I read the MNF-I report while in Anbar about the NYT report on body armor shortfalls. Although details from the report remain classified, the conclusion is not: There was NO information given to the insurgencies that would have been tantamount to an OPSEC violation, and the graphic was deemed to not have contributed one bit to the enemy’s intelligence gathering.

    Perhaps because — and this would shock armchair warriors — the enemy actually had recovered from our dead the full battle rattle, and knew exactly what it was like. They even shipped their own underground assessments of vulnerability points from these real artifacts of war and the PUBLIC report confected by the military on potential dangers, and not crude newspaper graphics meant to inform debate in a democracy.

    In other words, it’s neither the Army nor the so-called “MSM” that are spreading disinformation here, but really “Grimmy.”

    Go figure.

    Apparently, the story was conjectured to have been an OPSEC violation by and Blackfive and other milblogs without anyone, you know, actually bothering to check if there were investigations to see if that actually happened.

    Good to see the “new media” blundering toward understanding basic fact checking, and failing even at that. That’s what got me embroiled with B5 in the first place — he posted a lede that was completely untrue.

    It wouldn’t have even been printed had he actually fact checked his thesis. For someone to arrogate onto himself the role of media taskmaster and yet do something that would get the most junior cub reporter fired is interesting, but not surprising.

    And so we go with the Grimster, who provides us fake but fake stories about the NYT body armor graphics that already have been discredited by the military, itself.

    Also hilarious is the uninformed chirping by Ymar-whatever about my career in the USMC and my continuing relationship with the branch. Considering that I doubt you ever earned the right to wear the EG&A, I discount completely any perspective you have on the subject.

    While I don’t like the “chickenhawk” argument when it comes to limiting debate on OIF, I certainly believe it when it comes to people talking sh*t about the USMC. If you weren’t a Marine, then STFU. You don’t rate to judge my SRB.

    I was a damned good Marine, a damned good Soldier and remain a damned good citizen. If you can’t handle the substance of an argument and instead feel the need to try to assassinate someone’s character, you might need to know something about him and probably might want to understand something about the Marines before deciding that you rate passing judgment.

    You don’t.

  27. Grimmy

    Action Hero:

    My questions about your agenda come exclusively from dealing with your methods in threads concerning Haditha Marines and your newest version of reality in the contest between msm and milblogs.

    I’ve also earned and worn the Eagle Globe and Anchor. I do understand what is required for that. I also understand that there are those who have worn that same emblem that have gone over to the enemy in conflicts past and now again in present.

    So, simply having earned it at one time is not a carte blanch.

    That being said, you demonstrated a fine degree of narrative adherence in the thread where you and I first went at it.

    No amount of actual evidence counter or contrary to the narrative of guilt, as linked to in the Defend Our Marines site:

    would sway you off point in your constant repetition of it all being about criminality and/or blatant incompetence.

    I am not, nor will I ever, be required to give a pass to those who play at hanging our Marines of what is so obviously nothing but an enemy black propaganda op. Every part of the issues aims directly at it being exactly that.

    And, I will maintain, that it is because of those, like you have demonstrated yourself to be, who are willing to assume guilt on mere accusation, regardless of any other counter evidence presented, that such operations are viewed as effective by our enemy.

    Your version of the BlackFive tank pic issue is also highly edited to fit your narrative. The msm you so stridently defend has been, with few exceptions, an utter failure in providing accurate, timely, honest or competent information regarding this war. And, this pattern has been so well established during past issues since the mid 70s that it is not even up for questioning except by those who adhere to the agenda of anti-military and broad spectrum anti-Americanism.

    You are wrong in fact and suspect in intention. And, when it comes to general statements of “patriotism” as motivation, the domestic members of International ANSWER also consider themselves as true patriots.

    And now, right on schedule, we have the beginnings of the next wave of “Winter Soldiers” who will also be playing off of the agenda of US military criminality in a blatant bid to further aid the enemy’s agenda in this war.

    Patterns Sock Puppet. Patterns. Where do you fit in the pattern? That’s the real question.

  28. Grimmy

    Oh, nearly forgot… fact checking? A defender of the msm bitching about someone else dropping the ball on fact checking?


  29. Sock – first, thank you for your service. Second, just because you served it does not mean that you know everything. The enemedia loves guys like you who fit THEIR agenda.

  30. unlike them I’ve actually engaged real contemporary enemies of our nation in real combat

    The fighter that crafts his honor and prestige based upon the enemies he has fought, instead of the friends he has defended, is no ally of mine or of human progress.

    We have no interest in warmongers or those that love fighting to advance their own career.

    That’s according to the Army.

    It was according to the Army that active service blogs were okay but now according to the Army they need to self-censor themselves. The Army isn’t your personal sock puppet, socks. It is no Talisman of Law that you can use to beat people you target over the head with. Besides, lawyers are versed in the art of the backstab, not the head punt.

    There was NO information given to the insurgencies that would have been tantamount to an OPSEC violation,

    What violates operational security is what violates operational security. Not what socks and his puppets say violates operational security. Not what the Army says, cause the Army is wrong more times than not at first. And not what Socks says the Army says, who is even more wrong than the Army at times.

    That is the difference between those searching for the truth and people like socks,here, who value self-aggrandizing themselves.

    I discount completely any perspective you have on the subject.

    That’s fortunate given that any support from you would be the same as Esquire and Pelosi praising Admiral Fallon. Regardless of the virtue of Fallon, he doesn’t need people like the Democrats proping him up as one of their puppets.

    Since you are nothing but a slave to your own need for attention and ambition, what makes you process the idea that an inanimate object’s thoughts about my quality reviews is of any great importance.

    you might need to know something about him and probably might want to understand something about the Marines before deciding that you rate passing judgment.

    A black man has no more virtue in condemning or excusing the actions of black rapists than a white man or a red man or a yellow man would. You are no special god and no special person in your condemnation of Marines. You, as with all other tools of mankind, will condemn who you are told to condemn and praise those that you were told to praise. There is nothing difficult about this. Nothing at all.

    But just in case I am missing something, do tell, what exactly is there more to know about an Action Hero Sock Puppet masquerading himself as a joke inside a Marine attacking other Marines, that you somehow feel that I need to know more of.

    I adopted “Action Hero Sock Puppet” as a means to lampoon so many blowhards…Armchair warriors calling me a “traitor” or “enemy lover” make me laugh

    You are a sock puppet masquerading as an action hero, who is again masquerading as an action hero sock puppet, aka chicken keyboard warrior per your language settings. While at the same time you complain about OPSEC violations, you are feeding the enemy information about how to circumvent national security and United States defenses. While in the action of conducting cyberwarfare, you use a chosen cognomen designed to make fun of those that conduct cyberwarfare. A blowhard attempting to lampoon “proclaimed” blowhards by calling himself what he thinks other people are. An interesting case of double projection. Of course, the reality is that you truly believe yourself superior, so any name on the net would not be capable of illustrating your greatness, thus you do not particularly care what name you go by, since it is your status and personal benefits you value rather than the effect such things have on others.

    It is a laugh about a laugh, inside another laugh, so to speak. And I do not claim you have betrayed values which you took an oath to defend nor do I particularly think you love the JIhadists more than you love yourself.

    “Traitor” presumes that such a one is willing to take a gamble on an endeavour with high rewards and high risks. Taking shots at people you deem inferior compared to your brilliance at reporting and your tactical acumen, is not the action of a particularly sterling example of the human race.

    If you can’t handle the substance of an argument and instead feel the need to try to assassinate someone’s character

    I already covered the propaganda value of your arguments at Blackfive. Take another look at those comments you were so proud of, if you wish.