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SHOOT THE MESSENGERS



Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
-George Orwell


What’s black and white and red all over?

The blood-soaked headlines, the negative news reports, and the pessimistic press coverage sprints ahead at full gallop. Live from Iraq: it’s the Meme of the Month. Didn’t you hear? The country is in the midst of a calamitous downward spiral into Civil War. (All things considered, it’s really not much of a war and it’s sure far from civil.) But Al Jazeera said so. Or was that CNN? Is there really even a difference anymore?

It's true that much is indeed still amiss in Mesopotamia. (Not at all like that flourishing human rights Babylon of yesteryear.) But the seemingly random violence persists -- local politicians quibble over minutiae and squabble over militias; public cynicism is steadily on the rise as foreigners stealthily infiltrate the porous borders with near impunity; and all while embattled authorities on the ground struggle day by day to maintain order amidst the chaos. Come to think of it, it sounds almost as bad as the Golden State.

Journalists in theater must come to acknowledge that they are participants in this conflict whether they choose to believe so or not. Far from omniscient observers, these regal noncombatants must necessarily interact with the Iraqi people if they wish to accurately relay facts home to the American public. Or in a perfect world, I should say. The messy Third World we're really living in is currently teeming with (O)J-school graduates whose investigative skills recall the Search For The Real Killers. If the narrative doesn’t fit, you mustn’t file it.

The lack of security is the story, they say. Frankly, I'd be feeling pretty insecure too if I were so lousy at my job. Do these Green Zone FOBgoblins ever emerge from their Baghdad belfries long or often enough to properly collate the Big Picture they lay such exclusive claim to? Or are they merely hunkering down and ordering in, passively relying on the local Iraqi stringers who are bylining around the block to feed them information and in the process dispensing freelancing blows to the other half of the truth that rarely bleeds but certainly never leads.

"Hello, room service? Yes, I’ll have the sectarian special, medium rare -- terrorist toast with insurgent jam -- a mosque bombing with a side of corruption, and a chilled can of diet hope. Oh, and hold the progress, please."

Am I being too hard on them? I’ll concede they volunteered for a dangerous line of work, just like their camouflaged compatriots. The rare few who dare ride along with us deal with the same dangers we face, and must learn to cope in roughly the same stoic manner we‘ve long since mastered. We just have differing yardsticks for what constitutes success, what amounts to failure, and especially what is newsworthy and what is just more of the same old story. Dog Bites Man has never before been so fit to print. But come now, let's face it. It's hard to blame someone for having no other real options in life than to join the press corps, travel all over the world, meet interesting people, and film them.

IED! Quick, who do you call first -- the wife and kids, or your editor? Okay, so perhaps not all of them are glory seeking war whores or care bearers of bad tidings who pretend to fret over the fate of average Iraqis while all but ensuring their quality of life will never improve. Take Mike Yon, for instance. Now there's a guy who tells all sides of the story -- and doesn't count Zarqawi as one of them. (Refresh my memory, which Big Media clique does he belong to again? Oh, right.)

Make no mistake -- Al Qaeda’s PR machine stands head and shoulders above our own precisely because they are so adept at using our own satellite feed bloodlust against us; our BOOM mikes recording every second of it in Dolby Surround. Terrorists target journalists because it is a sure-fire page one headline with a ripple effect guaranteed to reverberate throughout every newsroom in America. Telegraphed acts of violence beget televised recounts of violence in a vicious Circle of Death that feeds the impression that all is hopeless. Want more coverage of your handiwork on ABC? Blow up their messengers. (Drop anchor!) I’d like to see a poll taken on how many newsmen are familiar with Bob Woodruff’s ordeal, and then how many are familiar with Paul Ray Smith’s. (Paul Ray who?) The prosecution rests.

Back at the Gotham City Times, the race to the bottom to release the home team play book continues unimpeded by guilt and unburdened by conscience. Apparently, it wasn’t enough to merely undermine the war effort at every opportunity and underplay the elections at every turn. No, Al-Qaeda has now been given an above-the-fold heads up to switch their long distance call-a-friend-of-Osama plan to ATnT 10-10-2-20, which will bookend nicely with the nuclear launch codes I fully expect to find within the Arts & Leisure section any day now. Compounding their treachery, the Treason Times shamelessly highlighted the results of a "secret" Pentagon investigation identifying the vulnerable spots in individual body armor worn by every soldier and Marine currently under fire. [Note to the Gray Lady’s foreign correspondents: Your body armor likely exhibits the very same weak points]. What was it Darwin had to say about natural selection and the instinct for self-preservation? Species bound for extinction tend to lack it.

Anyone old enough to recall Mogadishu, Haiti, Bosnia, or Kosovo would be hard pressed to recall a similar level of vitriol in the press or the public for those prior haphazard military engagements that were far less relevant to the national interest than our current Middle Eastern campaigns. But at least they’re all now thriving examples of democra… oh, never mind!

Ah, the good old days. Back before Not In Our Name changed their organizational letterhead from Not On Our Radar. Can the higher cost in blood and treasure of the current conflict really explain away all of this disparity in tone? The casualty predictions made for the taking of Baghdad were breathlessly predicted by every last retired general and armchair admiral on record as being in the tens of thousands. Three years later, to still have endured less than were lost in the span of an hour in lower Manhattan is anything if not encouraging. Yet the news coverage countdown to catastrophe continues unabated, the ME-ME-MEdia quagmired in misery.

Is this what stands today as serious and sober analysis? Is it impossible to believe that incorrigible ideology is trumping age-old idealism in driving this drumbeat of BOOM and gloom? What will it take for the press to finally decide to become more enamored with the solution than with enabling the problem before their myopic defeatism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Oh, how they all must long for eight more halcyon years of Billary.

Changing of the Drapes in the Ovum Office, World Peace Declared!



Picture a man witnessed running into a burning home after arriving on the scene to find it quietly smoldering. A crowd of onlookers has gathered outside to view the spectacle and wait meekly for the fire dept. to arrive on the scene. Moments later the roof catches fire and the heat drives the crowd back even further. By now, flame is shooting out of every window, ash and soot choking the air. The man never makes it back out. A few bystanders begin to wonder aloud: Why did he do it?

He was a fool, says one. He dashed inside to retrieve his valuables before they were incinerated. He was nothing but a materialist and placed those concerns above even those of his own life. This is what our society has come to, he says.

His family could have been trapped in there, cries another woman. He ran in to save his wife and children before it was too late. This man was a hero. A murmur escapes the crowd.

That was not even his home, chimes in a neighbor. That man lived in the small, one-story over there on the corner. No one even lives in this house here.

See? says the first man. He must have been a looter. He went in there to make off with someone else’s things. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one who started the fire in the first place.

No, says the woman, he couldn’t have known all that. He might have gone inside to look for survivors and maybe keep the fire from spreading out of control. This whole block could go up in flames, and his house with it.

Others in the crowd aren’t convinced either way. It doesn’t matter why he went in, they finally agree. He should have left that job for others to deal with. What arrogance, claiming for yourself a mantle of duty that no one asked you to take up.

The intensity of the heated debate begins to compete with the blaze. The witnesses do not know the factual circumstances, and can only speculate at this point. Later, after everyone has left the scene and firefighters comb through the rubble, the remains of the unidentified male are the only ones recovered. The house is declared otherwise uninhabited in the final investigation.

Local Man Dies Trapped in Fiery Model Home, Cause Unclear

Was he a fool or a hero?

Veterans distrust the elite press and the Main Street media that laps at their coattails when they are so quick to assume the former view even in the face of readily available evidence to the latter. All too often their glass isn't just half empty, it’s a half-empty three-day-old coffee with half a dozen cigarette floatees. Comparing our own reality on the ground with the media’s version of reality, one would think it difficult to host a tribal family feud when none of the contestants actually desire such an outcome. The Kurds do not, the Shia do not, the minority Sunni certainly do not because they realize the final tally would amount to a Final Solution decidedly not in their favor.

Can we see... 'accommodation?'

X X X

So who is it that desperately seeks our surrender while simultaneously campaigning for a war of incivility to bear fruit? I’ll offer two guesses. The first one's a gimme. The second I’ll leave to speculation. (Hint: it’s MSM spelled backwards.)

Maybe the real security issue the hired media jackals for jihad should be fretting over is their own job security. Because an increasing number of us are mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore. The most profitable route between two viewpoints is the straight line, not the slanted one. Clearly you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you're not fooling those of us in uniform with that looped stock footage backdrop of chaos and carnage circa 2004 while your talking heads talk out of their rears about unremitting violence circa 2006. A good many of us are on our second and third tours -- we were there, okay? (Hey Smitty, isn't that you manning the .50 cal? Dude, you look so young).

General Patton was prone to spout (in between profanity-laced litanies), "Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way." But really, either option will do nicely. Now just pick one, camera jockeys. It's almost time for your close-up.

Perhaps the press should be kicked out of the Green Zone and be forced to live where ever they can find shelter and therefore fend for themselves.

They don't deserve your protection if all they are doing or intend to do is defame and demoralize all of you, thereby aiding the enemy.

I love the 'close up'...LOL!!!... makes option #3 look pretty damn good!

Hmm. Just a different thought. Given that the media likes conflict, and burnish their reputations by being in a war zone, don't you think that the media would have the interest of seeing this conflict continue? If the war was over tomorrow, people would care less about the news.

A century ago, publishers were *creating* wars.

To the commenter above, what journalists are defaming and demoralizing the troops? Every soldier I read on the blogs is steadfast in their belief in the righteousness of this effort (as am I), so how could they possibly be demoralized by something so insignificant as the media?

Hey Buck Sargent,
Thank you not just for your views and opinions, but for the service you are doing the world. It's easier to believe that someone who has volunteered repeatedly for three years might believe in what he is doing, than to hear some reporter talk about the demoralized soldiers.
Years ago people trusted the papers and radio and the media didn't abuse that trust. Do they wonder why the circulation and ratings are dropping?
Thank all of you military bloggers for getting the stories out that we aren't getting from our 'trusted' heroes.
I dream of the day when the New York Times is on the magazine racks at the supermarkets right next to the National Enquirer. (Maybe they should be on display in the toilet tissue aisle?)
Keep up the great job you are doing and keep yourselves safe.
We've got your back!

I have never read or heard anyone tell it better. What a sad commentary that our troops have to defend our country, fight for freedom and peace where ever needed and then have to chronicle their own nightmare because we have a gutless, spinless msm that is too cowardly to get off its lazy, pious a$$ and do their job.

I love you guys Sarge. When I look at all you menand women do it humbles me to think of all you risk and sacrifice. God Bless you all. Keep telling it like it is. It needs to be said.

Semper Fi, Sir!

GOOD POST! Thanks for all you do. We appreciate you and are proud of you!

Well said. The press takes every opportunity possible, even creating opportunities, to take nasty swipes at our honorable military. It's a constant source of irritation with me and a large segment of the military community. I often wonder where we would be without milbloggers, who largely blog to blunt the damage done by the mainstream media.

Thank you for your service and your parallel fight to get the truth out. As devildog says, it's shameful that you have to fight on more than one front, but we're all grateful that you do.

Journalists like war as lawyers like accidents. They profit from them. But if that's the case, consider that journalists want to see the conflict extended. The longer we are in Iraq, the more war reporting there will be. I am trying to unddersand where people got the idea that journalists want to demoralize troops to effect a withdrawal. How could the greatest Army in the world be demoralized by the chattering class?

Here, here! :) Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a rational argument/righteous rant.

The skewing of the media agenda and the paradigm they have created for their stories about the news from Iraq is sickening.

I talk about military blogs ALL THE TIME, especially in my classes so that young people can start moving past the "MSM-only" idea and begin looking for a better picture of the truth.

Thanks for the great blog. I do have a question: Are there any journalists that are getting in right? I'm thinking specifically of Robert D. Kaplan.

Amen, Sir! The MSM is over the top and needs to be called out at every opportunity. I'm grateful for those such as yourself who do so.

(I linked to you today, just so you know)

So, what do you really feel about the MSM?

I'm now in PR, but started out in journalism (small papers in NW Ohio). Typically, "news" is out of the ordinary. And, out of the ordinary is typically negative or bad.

That said, there is responsibility in journalism to report all sides. The good, bad and the ugly.

One main purpose of journalism (at least, how I worked) is to give a thorough view of a meeting, person, event, etc. for those who are not there. And, that means covering the violence, the errors as well as the school openings and the other good the Coalition Forces and Iraqi people are doing.

It seems like that approach is not being practiced by the MSM.

This is my first time here, and will be checking back. (I found your site via
http://youbetchaimapam.blogspot.com/.)

Mike

P.S.
Your videos are awesome. Saw the one that Yankeemom had on her site, and brought tears to my eyes.
Mike

Jon,
"How could the greatest Army in the world be demoralized by the chattering class?"

It's not so much the actual chattering by the media -- it's who the media reach with their "chattering." In many cases, the media do a great job. In some cases, not so much. Typically, I think media members are in a no-win situation no matter how they report.

If it's too critical or too positive, someone will say they are biased. Since reporters are human, they do have biases, and a lot of the criticisms of the media are justified.
Mike

Michael: I don't doubt that. Certainly the media is in a no-win situation.

The biases I have read in the New Yorker, in the Atlantic Monthly, in the Weekly Standard are that the decisions made by politicians, generals, and planners in Washington is the cause of the prolonging of the war. I just haven't found many media pieces that blame the soldiers on the ground. I do understand when GIs fight a battle and then the military makes the claim that "the Iraqi Army fought the battle today with the light support of U.S. forces" and this gets in the media-- this appears annoy the soldiers as it should.

A masterpiece Buck Sargent. You are both inspired and inspiring. We will never give up thanks to receiving the truth from you and Michael Yon and other bloggers. The truth shall make you free!!

What a brilliant piece of writing Buck Sargent. And the videos are amazing. I've been following Milbloggers since "My War: Fear and Loathing in Iraq" and have never ceased to be amazed at the tremendous writing talent found on the sites of American Soldiers such as yourself at the pointy end of the stick. My respect for American Soldiers just continues to climb. Thank you for your service from a former Canadian Soldier who believes in your mission 100%. Godspeed

From one Buck Sgt to another, I salute you. No wait we work for a living, lol. Seriously, I do salute you. For your mission, your willingness to sacrifice, willingly, of yourselves. The posts that you have made along with the videos are straight forward and concise, no bloviating, just facts.

I do appreciate your uncanny way of "explaining" what the other side isn't.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Buck Sargent...BRILLIANT,ARTICULATE, HONEST! Semper Fi!

To the first "Anonymous" who asked if there are any journalists getting right other than Robert Kaplan, I have two words:

Michael Yon.

Google him! He isn't a journalist in the true sense of the word - he isn't beholding to any media at all.

He is an well informed independant writer and observer of the war, who is financially supported by his blog fans. And, he has chosen to go back to Iraq.

Jon:

RE: when GIs fight a battle and then the military makes the claim that "the Iraqi Army fought the battle today with the light support of U.S. forces" and this gets in the media-- this appears annoy the soldiers as it should.

I speak to 100's of deployed Marines and soldiers weekly and have since 2004...and I've never heard any one of them tell me they are "annoyed" when the Iraqi army is credited with taking the lead in a battle with the light support of US forces". Perhaps its because you are new to the world of Milbloggers, but there are many who write about how they train the Iraqi army to do just that 'Take the lead in battle with light support from the US forces.' This is one of the goals of our troops..to train the Iraqi forces to take the lead in battles and to provide security for their own country.
When they are able to do so, our troops can stand down and come home.

So I cannot imagine why any soldier would be upset by that truth.

The problem with the media is that they aid and abett our enemy with their pro jihadist, pro mass murderers, pro terrorist, pro dictators agenda, fueled by their incomprehensible hatred for Pres.Bush, and their overt distai for the Military. Oh Hell...distain is too nice..they despise our military..like most liberals....throwbacks to the Viet nam era. They may claim to be supportive of our deployed troops, but only a fool would believe that load of crap. The MSM as a collective unit considers our troops to be misguided fools and puppets.
And their biased reporting of this war, emboldens our enemies, and provides them with a pulpit to spread their message of hate deliberately and all this feeds into into left wing liberals mindset that OUR troops are baby killers, and the cause of the strife in Iraq, and now Afghanistan.
Apparently Saddam Hussein was never to blame for all the strife in Iraq..and the horrors he committed. Imagine liberals who support abortion calling OUR TROOPS baby killers...imagine them doing so after witnessing the terrorists deliberately target children and women!

You may not be able to understand how all the negative biased media reporting demoralizes our troops, but thats irrelevant and speaks to your naivite - suffice to say...it does! Milblogger after milblogger after milblogger, and the 100's of troops I speak to weekly are demoralized and fed up with the media. Now don't get me wrong, they don't spend hours dwelling in a state of demoralization...but they remain angry and frustrated.

Winning a war relies on more than just military might. Any one that has read Sun Tzu's Art of War understands that if you can't physically defeat the enemy - then you defeat his will!

When the will of the country is defeated...the battle between good and evil is lost to our enemy.

Our men and women are committed to the war on terror regardless of what the media vomits out, regardless of what lies liberals spew out, but it becomes a greater struggle to win this war on terror when you cannot win the hearts and minds of the Arab community, and the European Community.

If the only "truth" the media puts forth is negative in nature, if none of the accomplishments, the successes, the victories of our troops, are talked about, or when their importance is demeaned or denied, then our enemies WIN...and if you don't think that demoralizes our troops, think again!

I suggest you read my latest post " The Art Of War: Using The Media Elites".
Then head over to TF Boggs blog comment section where he has stated who he feels.about what I wrote....and you can bet he speaks for most of our troops

Buck,
Great post. I would like to see anyone from the media write a response to you and have it be half as well reasoned, articulated, and plain out good reading. I admire your writing and hope one day to be half the writer that you are when I am that old;)
I am starting to believe that the media is getting the story wrong for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that they have an agenda. Whether that agenda is specifically spelled out or not does not concern me. The main point is that they have a severe dislike for the current administration and want to see it fail at all costs. They made the Clinton years seem like a success, why can’t they make the Bush years look like a failure?
The second and less obvious reason is that they are ignorant of military matters and the bigger picture. I went to a college that was ranked in the top 5 in journalism programs. While there I met many of the kids in the journalism program and they could all read a teleprompter. A smaller fraction of them could write their own stories and still yet a smaller fraction of them could somewhat respond to my non-journalist columns about their obvious lack of any real experience and inadequacy in reporting the news. These same students are the new crop of journalists and mirror the journalists now in power. They are regular people who more often then not do not even know someone in the military let alone have any military experience themselves. They carry their ignorance into their professions and then seek to inform the world about military matters. I see a small problem there.
So our job as milbloggers is to fill in the gaps, or rather, craters that the media leaves. I’ll do my part and don’t stop doing yours because you are too good.
So when is the book coming?

Because I am able to understand Arab newspapers,and also have the privilege of friends and family who can understand the subtext of what is being put forth in their media, and what is, by fiat, filtering down to the average arab on the street, it serves to frustrate me that I can't always articulate that knowledge to a larger American audience.

Today, I would encourage everyone to read this insightful, well written, piece by Amir Tahari, in The Wall Street Journal, especially if one wants to gain a clear understanding of the mindset and gameplan of Arab political leaders. This piece also serves to authenticate the reason why millions of us are furious with the media's biased coverage of our efforts to help mitigate the very real Islamic threat against democracy and the West.

Not only is the MSM biased in its coverage, its also dead wrong when it comes to understanding the American mood.

"The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. as the world knows it today.

Those who have based their strategy on waiting Mr. Bush out may find to their cost that they have, once again, misread not only American politics but the realities of a world far more complex than it was even a decade ago. Mr. Bush may be a uniquely decisive, some might say reckless, leader. But a visitor to the U.S. soon finds out that he represents the American mood much more than the polls suggest."


You can find the piece entitled "The Last Helicopter" at http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008154
(you'll have to copy this addy into your browser)

Hey - just discovered your blog thanks to Hugh Hewitt. Awesome. You really hit the nail on the head about our crappy MSM. I still just don't understand how they want us to lose - I just don't get it. They just don't care about the people at the core of the story.

Thanks for what you do. God Bless

Well, Buck Sargent, I am a day late and a dollar short, so DITTO to all that's been said above, especially T.F.'s post.

As if the media hasn't already been exposed as pro-jihadist, they couldn't seem to air the loop of Jill Carroll saying how well she was treated by her kidnappers enough yesterday. Then this morning, I actually heard a news anchor declare, "Finally, some good news out of Iraq", at the end of an interview with someone from the Christian Science Monitor, referring to Carroll's release. "FINALLY"..."GOOD NEWS"...Are you kidding me?????

Funny, I don't remember the heroic story of Paul Ray Smith being looped at all. Matter of fact, if it weren't for the milblogs, I doubt I would have ever even heard his story. Stories like his are too numerous to count, yet never spoken of. The MSM never celebrates our military successes, they never celebrate the selflessness and heroism of the thousands like Paul. It is so pathetic, yet once again, proof beyond a reasonable doubt that our MSM has an anti-Bush, pro-terrorist, defeatist agenda.

Congratulations, too, Buck, to you and all the milboggers who, once and for all, have dispelled the long-running myth that our men and women in uniform are too stupid to think for themselves and put two words together. You have proven quite the contrary--you are actually more intellignet, well read, well spoken, and have more passion than most who are "Professional Journalists". Roger that!

Keep up the great job...

No worse than LA?

30,000 have been displaced since the mosque bombing, according to the Iraqi government. 1,700 Sunni killed since the bombing, according to said government. Iraq is in a civil war, according to Allawi.

If this is success, I'ld hate to see failure.

Over 500,000 people were killed during the civil war in America....So by your moronic standard of measuring success and failure America was and perhaps still is a massive failure.

All countries have experienced civil war.

Over 1,ooo,ooo people were murdered under Saddam.

Moving from a dictatorship to a full fledged democracy takes time..and there will be many challenges.. it took decades before blacks were free, and women weren't allowed to vote until 1920..and can you remember what year in recent history blacks were given the right to vote?

I'd say Iraq, which gave women the right to to vote within one year of becoming a democracy, is doing far better than America during its fledging years of democracy.

The death tolls due to gang violence,senseless murders, and drunk driving accidents is exceedingly high in America....so by your standards of measure, America is a failure!

As the partnership between the Iraqi army and coalition forces grows each day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has invested more than $3.5 million into the local Iraqi community to open a renovated Iraqi army theater Jan. 28 and is getting ready to open two renovated health clinics within the next couple of weeks.

About 250 reconstruction contracts worth more than $250 million have been awarded to women-owned businesses in Iraq over the past eight months.

The entire northern part of Iraq, home to the Kurdish, has little violence, a strong successful infrastructure, and a good workforce; the South of Iraq remains relatively calm and stable.

And thats just the tip of the iceberg..so yeah..I'd say Iraq is far more of a success story than a failure.

Amen, Huntress! As for Mark hating to see failure, I can't help but find that to be a bit of a non-truth. If Mark is anything like the rest of his lefty cohorts with their abject hatred of Pres. Bush and the U.S. as a whole, I'd say that he'd love nothing more than to see failure. Pretty sick if you ask me.

~Em Green~

New York Times stories on Paul Ray Smith:

THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: CASUALTIES; Medals for His Valor, Ashes for His Wife September 23, 2003 (2,895 words), page A1.

Medal of Honor to Be Awarded to Soldier Killed in Iraq, a First : March 30, 2005 (1159 words), page A13.


Should these stories have higher prominence on the Times Iraq war page? absolutely-- assuming it had one. That would be a valid complaint.

Most of these questions I recently answered in an interview with The Real Ugly American website. Look for it soon at:

http://therealuglyamerican.com

Thanks to T.F. Boggs for setting that up. Nice work, son.

(Sorry, but I've always wanted to call someone that. Now that I'm thirty, I think I can finally get away with it.)

jon garfunkle (any relation to art?),

Paul Ray Smith was a just one of many acts of bravery and valor displayed throughout the war so far. The man earned the Medal of Honor and even he is essentially ignored. True, it ran a couple times, but contrast that to the sharkfest feeding frenzy of Abu Ghraib or any of the other "kick the military while it's down" stories that have played and replayed ad nauseum over the last three years.

If someone ever takes the time on Lexus Nexus to compile a totality of positive to negative stories, believe me the ratio will be so one-sided it'll be sickening. I recall someone doing that for one random day last year and the results were unbelievable. If that is not a concerted effort to browbeat the public into submission, I don't know what is.

And I'm certainly not going to hold my breath for any heroic Iraq War movies from Hollywood anytime soon. I'm only shocked they haven't already rushed Oliver Stone's ABU GHRAIB into production yet. Maybe it was a TNT movie of the week and I already missed it.

Where is John Wayne when you need him? According to our cultural gatekeepers, there are no heroes in American life anymore. Only victims and villains. And soldiers are painted as both at the same time.

Here's the deal: I agree with you that the coverage is incomplete. I want a map of Iraq and what's the latest news in each region. I want to know the heroes and the victims. I want to know the good and the bad. I want to know how many Iraqi army and police forces have been trained in each region. I want to know whether the citizens have water or electricity. If I'm Zalmay Khalizad, I better damn well have this map on my computer-- so where is it?

This is missing from the websites of the NYT, USAT, WaPo, MSNBC. But it's also missing from Fox News, the National Review Online, Mudville Gazette. Bill Roggio has great maps, but no big picture. I've even been reading Stars and Stripes, which is very good, mixing the good news and the bad. But even it doesn't draw the big picture. So it's not *just* the "liberal media" that is failing to tell the whole story.

If Hugh Hewitt wants to lead the charge against the media, he's certainly on the front lines of that-- he's in New York City. But the milbloggers are the best experts about what's going on on the ground.

I've been reading milblogs for the last week-- from the perspective of a political moderate in Boston, Mass. I have no prejudice against the military or against the war. and I'm trying to understand what a typical Northeast reporter would see when he or she reads the milblogs. And I'd just guess when they come across these tirades against the media, they'd stop reading. They do want to cut right to the action, which is why I think Danjel Bout, Neil Prakash, and Colby Buzzell were pretty popular. I am starting to read some of the back entries from you and T.F.-- and I will watch some of your videos. But most of the milblogs are written for an insider club rather than trying to explain it to outsiders.

The secret to the "mass media" is that they figure out how to write news for someone who's picked up a newspaper for the first time. And with the web, it should be a place to go deeper. But if the MSM is failing here, so are many sites.

I'm still analyzing this, and will do so through the weekend. I am still looking to learn more in case I have missed things. Certainly reading milblogs on a regular basis has helped me understand the wide gap between the military culture and the rest of the culture-- which is fixated more on "American Idol" and "Survivor" and "24" more than actual news.

I don't write for the benefit of the media. I could give a damn whether they're reading me or not, because I know it wouldn't get past their "conservative filters" anyway. ERROR: PAGE 404 NOT FOUND

My intended audience are the everyday people they're poisoning with their daily bull****. Almost everything originates from the NYT and the AP wire and then it just circulates around the horn like a big echo chamber circle jerk.

You can criticize me for not doing more "on the ground" reporting, but guess what? THAT'S NOT MY JOB. My job is not to hold a camera and a microphone and walk around interviewing people. I do what I can in my spare time because I think it's important, and I espouse a strong opinion that likely no one would take seriously if I wasn't actually over here. How many of you have been flamed as "chickenhawks" by shrill lefties on other comment sections or message boards? I see it on almost every site I read. If the soldiers are the only ones who can support the war, then it would follow that we're the only ones that can badmouth the war, right? Oh no! I've wandered into the Logic Zone! Help, I can't get out...

Quick plug of a friend before I forget:

This is the future of movie reviews. It's a blog by one of my old paratrooper buddies from Afghanistan who'd still in Alaska and getting ready to come over here to Iraq soon with our old unit.

He wrote a screenplay sequel to the Trolls movies called Burn Nilbog Burn while we were deployed. I read it. It was awesome.

His reviews are killer, but don't read them unless you want him to spoil every single plot point in them. Cause he tends to do that sometimes.

http://wayoftheshirey.blogspot.com/

If you visit Paul, tell him I said hi and that he really needs to get over his Keira Knightley obsession. It's sooo 2005.

Hold on. If people are recommending to read you, that means they expect you to have more of an audience, and that audience would include, influential media people. And if you (or any milblog) doesn't want to write for a bigger audience, then you have the echo chamber problem.

I finally wandered over to the Pentagon's
War On Terror site, and it has everything I'm looking for: ground reports from soldiers; press conference; big picture reports about the progress. That's what I've been looking for.

And these have the benefit of being distilled for the media. So my point is, I can understand the media not caring to read the milblogs if the milblogs aren't being written with the media in mind. But if the Pentagon *is* producing stories for the media, and these aren't being picked up, that's what I'll look out for.

Buck Sargent, I recently found your site and love it! I will do my best to get it to as many folks as I can, I'm long passed tired of the MSM!
Thank You for your service and please pass that along to all you serve with! You guys are AWESOME!

PS The close up photo is great!

ditto on the photo at the end!

I absolutely love your writing. Please keep 'em coming.

Been reading all your past blogs. You are really good. Wish you and your screenwriter friend, Paul, and people like Mike Yon would get together and start producing some real films for the country and the world to see. Do you think I am a dreamer? Nahh, I just got inspired reading all the stuff you write. Thanks Buck Sargent.

"Anyone old enough to recall Mogadishu, Haiti, Bosnia, or Kosovo would be hard pressed to recall a similar level of vitriol in the press or the public for those prior haphazard military engagements that were far less relevant to the national interest than our current Middle Eastern campaigns."

I'm even older than that and I have never seen such a level of vitriol in the press. I should add though that the quality of the journalists themselves has been declining for many years. Partisanship and ideology drive their stories (and the ones they don't do) more than facts do.

BTW, an excellent post. And thank you very much for your service.

Buck I had no idea you knew the Paul - I stumbled across his blog a while back.

His recent review My Vendetta Against V is hilariously brilliant.

"Can you spell
L I B E R A L F A N T A S Y! "

*ROFLMSFAO* ( Rolling on floor laughing my sweet f***king ass off).

Paul and I share a common love for Superman and by fiat "Smallville", and since I know key people involved with the "Smallville" ...well lets just say his blog is now on Hollywood's radar.
The guy is very funny!

Jon:

Dan Bout is a dear friend of mine, and I can assure you that Nothing prevented the MSM from picking up excerpts from his blog that as you say "Cut to the action".

And your theory that the MSM reads mibloggers tirades against them and then stops reading them so thats why they never use them as sources for good action stories is BOGUS.

Dan was featured in Wired Magazine along with many other milbloggers, and he was mentioned in some other small media stories. But the liberal MSM never gain him or Neal the same attention they gave Colby.
Colby Buzzell's blog was talked about all over LIBERAL MSM because he was a rebellious anti hero who hated the military and didn't want to be fighting in Iraq! The MSM was ALL OVER THAT.
And once his blog was ordered shut down..he ran to NPR to offer up his story so that he could remain in the spotlite!

Hell he got a book deal out of it!

Since I know you to be new to this world you do not know the history of whats happened, so you put forth this erroneous idea that the MSM ingores milbloggers that as you put it "bash" the media, because the media is interested in 'Cut to the action" stories! BULLSHIT!

99% of Dan Bout's blog entries were the types of "cut to the action" stories you seem to want so desperately to believe the MSM is interested in, and yet they never mentioned them!


However what the MSM media fixated on with regards to Dan Bout and The Nightstalkers for two months was a story surrounding 10 soldiers in the Nightstalkers who were under investigation for acts of wrongdoing!
The LA TIMES was ALL over that story!

The media painted a bleak picture of an alleged untrained, miserable, National Guard unit without so much as talking to any of the actual members of the Unit...they vilified this ENTIRE UNIT without so much as being in Iraq or taking any time to find out the truth, nor do find out about this unit, and their many accomplishments and successes. In the end only a few people were jailed for what had occured and the unit is now nominated with the rest of the brigade for a Valorous Unit Award.

Yet the MSM never mentions that story!

You may want to believe that the MSM is interested in the action stories written by Dan and Neil and many other milbloggers...but they aren't.

Why are you resistant to the truth - that the MSM coverage of the war is BIASED and based on fulfilling their agenda which opposes the war on terror, hates Pres Bush, dispises the Military in general. Because the MSM and most liberals/democrats want to see this President fail, the MSM are determined to undermine the war on terror by being mouthpieces for the terrorists and providing one sided coverage that includes body counts, terrorist successes and little or no mention of the thousands of successful missions our soldiers engage in, the 1000s of terrorists they capture and gain crucial information from, the many attacks they prevent, and the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, bridges, oil pipelines that the terrorists relentlessly destroy or try to destroy. You don't hear about the allocation of reconstruction dollars to women owned businesses, the relative calm in northern and Southern Iraq, nor do they highlight the humanitarian efforts that our soldiers undertake voluntarily above any mission dictates...such as collecting and distributing shoes, clothes, toys, medicine, wheelchairs, educational supplies, to Iraqi kids and their families.

Wait until you see a documentary produced by the soldiers themselves who were stationed in Iraq for year-it includes footage and conversations with Iraqi's including children, and it highlights the humanitarian efforts of our troops.

I'll be highlighting this documentary and the men behind it in my next post on my blog. You can BET the MSM will ignore this..like they ignore any story that has to do with success in Iraq and that places our the men and women of our military in any kind of positive light.

And you just NOW stumbled on the Pentagon Site!?? Its been there for years - yet few if any of those stories are ever carried by the MSM.

Why not?

Repeat after me: Because it dosent fit in with their "anti military, pro-insurgency, pro- terrorist, we wanna see Pres.Bush fail" agenda.

And let me assure you that each media outlet has people scouring milblogs to read what's being said not just by the milbloggers but by the milblog audience....yet few of these outlets will print any of their positive stories...in fact ..they will often print disparaging stories because these outlets are losing audiences to milbloggers, and bloggers, in general.

You might want to read the ludicrous piece written by James Rainey about Michael Yon. Google it! He was condescending and clearly jealous of Mike, his success, and the honesty of his dispatches. James has never set foot in Iraq, yet that didn't stop him from being condescending about Mike Yon - who risked his life going on daily missions with the troops, and travelling across Iraq with a CSM in an open vehicle, and who travelled across Iraq at great risk to himself and talked to average Iraqi citizens, all while being funded soley by donations from his blog fan base.

When given the opportunity to do a deep intelligent story on Mike, to engage him in honest conversation about the situation in Iraq, James Rainey and The LA Times, chose to write a piece steeped in jealous condescending mistruths.

This is an example of HOW the MSM reacts to a successful blogger who provide the kinds of stories and war coverage from Iraq that attracts huge audiences, but, instead, motivated by jealousy and by a liberal military hating Bush bashing terrorist supporting agenda- the LA Times chose to simply ignore the veracity of stories, or worse,in an act of pure jealousy, tried to invalidate the stories by discrediting Mike Yon.

It didn't work-in fact it backfired big time and served to once again lay bare the true agenda and ugliness of the LA Times and by fiat, most of liberal MSM!

ut if the Pentagon *is* producing stories for the media, and these aren't being picked up, that's what I'll look out for.

DUHHH...they aren't being picked up!
Have you seen any of these stories appear anywhere with any consistency?
If they were being picked up...do you think we'd all be engaged in debates over the biased war coverage by the MSM?

Do you think Hugh Hewitt would be so pissed off if these stories were being told along side the usual body counts.

No one is asking that only the positive upbeat stories get told. What we want is fair and balanced coverage.
The American Media is getting Americans killed! FULL STOP!

As Hugh said: We don't care to hear the "insurgents" point of view. THEY ARE TERRORISTS. We don't care to understand what the Baathist or rejectionists believe. They are people who kill civilians and the innocent. We don't give a damn what Zarqawi thinks because he is a cold blooded killer.

This is what you don't see to get Jon..but more importantly this is the message that the media does not get!fzb

Jon,

Really...
"But most of the milblogs are written for an insider club rather than trying to explain it to outsiders".

Buck Sargent told you how he feels, now I'd like to add my two cents.

It is true that you will mostly find like-minded people reading these milgblogs. However, as Buck said he himself does, the milbloggers are mainly writing these blogs to argue their side to the masses who are not exposed to it through the MSM. The problem here is that many anti-war crusaders (which includes many members of the MSM) are too close-minded, and, maybe too lazy, to take the time to actually use their brains and read what these brave men and women have to say. It is so easy to base one's opinions on the "news" one gets from listening to 30 second sound bites over and over and over. However, it requires some modicum of brain power to read through the thousands of words written by said milbloggers to form a well-rounded opinion. That's just too difficult for many who are on the opposing side.

"So my point is, I can understand the media not caring to read the milblogs if the milblogs aren't being written with the media in mind".

Maybe I am slow, but I just don't get that. It's the media's JOB to read everything. It's their JOB to get information from ALL ANGLES. It's their JOB to be OBJECTIVE, despite having their personal opinions, which they are very entitled to. It's not Buck Sargent's JOB to cow-tow to them. It's not any milbloggers JOB to make the press feel loved and welcomed. If any journalists are truncating their perusal of said milblogs because they are offended by the tirades against them, boo-hoo for them. Now they know what it feels like to have people jump on a bandwagon of negativity aimed towards them. Maybe they should consider this the next time they want to run "new" pictures of Abu Ghraib, or disclose more of our military's "mistreatment" of the Koran. For far too long, the media has been given a blind trust by the citizens in this country, with no one ever suspecting that the press would ever actually LIE, or only report facts that support their left-leaning bias. Hell, my 92-year-old grandmother STILL takes every "fact" reported on TV as truth, despite being presented with other information AND having a grandson in Iraq. She still regards the press as the all-knowing, truth-telling medium she grew up with. Bullpuckey!



Keeping all our troops in my thoughts and prayers today and every day...

Buck Sargeant,
I honor your service...I won't call you sir, you work for a living! Be safe and God Bless, Sargeant, we're not all lefty peacenicks! I might hate war, but sometimes it's necessary and I will always honor those who "Stand the Watch"!

Outstanding content and phrasing: "a half-empty three-day-old coffee with half a dozen cigarette floatees" priceless! I read this after my daily ration of the "Gotham City Times" and immediately though of the chapter from Hugh Hewitt's newest book -- the chapter titled "The Democratic Left and the MSM Have Declared War on the Military. Again."

I fully concur that the MSM is playing this war to win at home by losing in Iraq. However, the same set were playing to lose the Cold War and were confounded by the Great Communicator. I remember punk rockers demonizing "Ronnie Ray-Gun" and the howls of imminent nuclear destruction precipitated by the cowboy in the White House, who somehow managed to be both a dunce and a fiendishly clever manipulator, all according to the MSM and the cultural elite. And the image of the American military? Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Casualties Of War, Full Metal Jacket.

The difference between then and now is the ability and will of the Communicator in Chief, the individual who has had personal responsibility since Teddy Roosevelt to stand his post in the lead of the information campaign. Very few have the presence and verbal skills of President Reagan, or FDR, or Churchill, and I understand the desire to be the anti-Clinton, but as a wise major told me in Iraq 2003, "if you don't blow your own horn, someone else will use it for a funnel."

Good on you and other "imperial grunts" for standing your own post and also taking watches in the strategic information campaign. Continued mission success and a safe redeployment for you and your soldiers!

Listen, this has all been a big help; I've been researching the milblogs for ten days now. I'm now reading Nathaniel Fick's One Bullet Away, which Blackfive recommended. Not a blogger, but the depth of the book makes up for the immediacy of the blog.

re:
"However, as Buck said he himself does, the milbloggers are mainly writing these blogs to argue their side to the masses who are not exposed to it through the MSM."

Ok, so you have three options.

1. Pitch to sympathetic media organizations (e.g., the the News Corporation's Weekly Standard, New York Post), as well as unsympathetic ones.
2. Increase the number of blogs writing about milblogs.
3. Upgrade the presentation/aggregation of blog/clipped content to best show what readers "need to know."

Now, you may have your skepticisms about #1, but that's what IAVA does, or any other organization with good PR.

And #2 is the strategy favored by the blogging evangelists, who tend to help out their friends running blog software companies. But derivative blogging is a zero-sum game. It only works when there is an issue of such prime importance that cascades amongst all the voices.

I sent some specific suggestions along #3 to Greyhawk; haven't heard back. To me that's your best solution.

But, in the meantime, the DoD's DefenseLink website fulfills my needs as a reader looking to go behind the headlines for what is happening. I can't imagine anyone can really compete with the public-information gathering resources of the Pentagon.

The interview I did with The Real Ugly American is up now on his site:

http://therealuglyamerican.com/2006/04/03/blog-of-the-month-american-citizen-soldier/

Excellent interview at The Real Ugly American!

I appreciated the way that concern for/ awareness of information operations permeated your thoughts, from the street-level public diplomacy of your interaction with Iraqis to the recognition of the shortfalls at the strategic level that you and other milbloggers are volunteering to partially cover. You comment on how internet and media savvy the enemy is, in contrast to their military tactical incompetence. We are fortunate that you and other American servicemembers are exceptionally competent on both the military tactical level and on the information tactical to strategic levels, which blur in every visual-media-feeding event.

I failed to master the comment system last time and ended up "anonymous" on 3 April.

man nuff said i could not agree more about your comments vis a vi the press. i wonder how they would fare if they did get out with you all rather than hang in the Green Zone hotel of the hour.

How many lives have been lost because of the divisions in our country that the lamestream media actively supports?

Our troops have died, and more Americans are at risk because the lamestream does everything it can to undermine VICTORY!

Chickenhawk Heaven.

Everyone I know should read this! Keep writing Paul. We don't get to see this kind of intelligence enough.

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln