The media told the story the media wanted to tell

Great thinkers over at ThreatsWatch talking about GoI vs JAM.  Ralph Peters stole the show nuking the MSM’s execrable coverage of this historic event:

I watched much of this from Panama, and I immediately wondered about the port facilities myself—they’re just crucial—but was mystified when I heard no mention of them. All I heard (not least, from poor, old Nic Robertson of CNN, who resolutely refuses to understand military affairs after all these years as a “war correspondent”) was wailing about the problems the government forces encountered. Well, there are always problems in warfare—especially, when a newly formed military is learning its trade—problems complicated, of course, by the complexity of Iraqi society. As one would expect, the media obsessed on two things: the fact that a few Iraqi units did, indeed, fail badly, and the mortar rounds lobbed into the Green Zone up in Baghdad (fired by Iranian-backed Special Groups). But there was no mention of the numerous Iraqi units that fought fiercely, nor any explanation that mortars, while difficult to use with precision, are so easy to fire as irritants in a general area that even a journalist could do it (and journalists—headlines—were the real target of those mortar rounds). Basically, the media told the story the media wanted to tell—and the story our enemies wanted it to tell—but not the full story.

I don’t always agree with the good Colonel’s harsh assessments. I do this time. Bolding added by me. More:

An even deeper problem here, on both the left and right, is naivety about warfare. We’re all conditioned to believe that perfect results can be achieved by the end of the movie. Well, I can find no war in history—not one—that brought perfect results. There are always disappointments, failures, frustrations and unintended consequences. As I wrote in an article for an upcoming issue of Armed Forces Journal, unreasonable criteria for “success” pose a greater impediment to us than either al Qaeda in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan. We don’t know what we’re jabbering about. If you want perfection, join a Buddhist monastery, but don’t go to a war zone.

Roughly 270 out of 300 million Americans are so abysmally ignorant of war, military affairs, and national security that they can be told just about anything and they’ll believe it, having no personal frame of reference to make any valid judgements about the veracity of what they’re being told. The family hero has gone to his reward now, in what intact families are left, and most Americans don’t have a personal connection to the military anymore. We are more vulnerable now to misinformation, disinformation, propaganda and Morale Operations than we have ever been. And the far enemy partners with internal oppositional elements to exploit the hell out of our vulnerability. Milblogs, Muddy Boots IO, attempted to address some of these vulnerabilities. Now they’re being herded on to For Offical Use Only Army Knowledge Online forums inaccessible to the general population. The press is not the enemy, don’t ya know. Back to Peters:

Do we really want to lose? The first duty of those of us who assume the right to interpret events to the public is to make an honest attempt to know what we’re talking about. No form of human endeavor is more complex than making war…and wars are won not by the most-competent military, but by the least-incompetent (and, sometimes, just the luckiest). I wish, just once, a star correspondent would focus on the difficulty and complexity, instead of implying that, were he or she in charge, things would be straightened out promptly. Instead, we got the pro-Obama version of Iraq yet again.

Yes, some “Americans” really do want to lose.

. . . the aggressive negativity of the reporting from Iraq remains inexcusable—there’s no question but that the global media (including our own) is shamelessly partisan, anti-American and anti-Iraqi-government: For all of the al Maliki government’s failings—and, God knows, they’re beyond counting—it’s accomplished more under difficult wartime conditions than plenty of developing-world governments have accomplished in decades…yet, favored dictatorships get a pass from the press, while Iraq’s struggling democracy gets picked apart mercilessly. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the Iraqi legislators passed more significant laws last year than did our own Congress—and we, who inherited the Anglo-American tradition, have had eight hundred years of practice. The standards we apply in judging Iraqis are just plain unfair. Now, this doesn’t mean we should excuse corruption—that greatest bane of humankind—or electoral cheating or the like—but it does mean that, while criticizing that which deserves criticism, we should be willing to acknowledge the difficulties this government faces and to give praise when it’s earned. I go back to one of my initial points: A great many partisans, here and in the Middle East, want Iraqi democracy to fail.

For Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld to be proven right on anything is more than some people can bear.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Idea War, Morale Operations, Old Media

4 responses to “The media told the story the media wanted to tell

  1. Great site! You are spot on on the media being biased – happened in TET’68. Happening now. Where are the Ernie Pyle’s when we need them. Cheers…Sandy

  2. Our Ernie Pyles are embedded bloggers, Sandy.

  3. Roughly 270 out of 300 million Americans are so abysmally ignorant of war, military affairs, and national security that they can be told just about anything and they’ll believe it, having no personal frame of reference to make any valid judgements about the veracity of what they’re being told.

    I made that same point at Bookworm’s Room.

    This is also why I tend to publicize these little unknown war research materials.

    http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/excellent-military-history-videos-and-audio/